$3.4M land deal enables Maple Ridge park expansion

One acre in the Silver Valley neighbourhood will soon be turned into a ‘gathering place’

A $3.4-million investment in land in the fastest growing area of Maple Ridge means expansion of a neighbourhood park in Silver Valley is getting closer to fruition.

An acre of land next to the Blaney Hamlet Park will soon become the Silver Valley Gathering Place, announced Maple Ridge Mayor Michael Morden, who acknowledged the project has been several years in the works.

“I want to acknowledge the patience of the community as we negotiated the purchase of this critical piece of land,” said Morden. “Ensuring we have community amenities in our fast-growing neighbourhoods is an important part of council’s strategic priority around growth.”

The Silver Valley Gathering Place was one of the recreation infrastructure projects identified and approved by the previous council.

This final agreement represents almost two years of work to secure the site and triggers the next steps to move this project from concept to reality, Morden added.

Now, the municipality’s parks, recreation, and culture department will engage the neighbourhood in a consultation process on how best to integrate this gathering space with Blaney Hamlet Park – which was completed in 2019.

“As with all its property-related acquisitions, the City works with professional, independent appraisers to determine the current value of a target property based on the notion of ‘highest and best use’ formula prescribed in the Community Charter,” the mayor said.

Admittedly, Morden acknowledged the final sales price might have been higher than the city wanted to pay. But when announcing the purchase, he said the fact that it is in one of the “most desirable” neighbourhoods of town and in a single-family residential area of Silver Valley invariably impacted on that cost.

“This is an investment in our community. Right now, with the advent of physical distancing, the value of creating outdoor community spaces has never been more important. Council looks forward to opening the Silver Valley Gathering Place, along with the neighbourhood, once it is complete and safe to gather again,” he concluded.

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