City, YMCA talking pool partnership

No location for a second pool has been identified in Maple Ridge.

Maple Ridge Leisure Centre pool is due for a $5.5-million renovation soon.

Maple Ridge council is listening to the YMCA about a partnership that could see a second indoor pool built in the city.

Steve Butz, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, told council Monday about partnerships in which municipalities and the organization work out financial arrangements to build aquatic, recreation or community centres.

But it’s important the YMCA be involved from the beginning.

Maple Ridge council wanted to hear about the possibility of partnering with the YMCA of Greater Vancouver as it tries to implement the recreation master plan created in 2010. The plan calls for a second pool for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows area once the combined population hits 100,000.

The totals of both cities are not that far away, with about 78,000 people in Maple Ridge and about 18,000 in Pitt Meadows.

The YMCA is already discussing a new facility in Coquitlam, as well as building a second complex in Surrey after the opening the Tong Louie Family YMCA facility in 2002. It’s also discussing a second facility in Vancouver.

“We’re working on a lot of projects right now,” Butz said.

No location for a second pool has been identified in Maple Ridge, but Mayor Nicole Read said most of the growth is happening in the eastern part of the city.

Council passed a resolution telling staff to meet with YMCA managers and report back to council.

Council also told staff to work out a financial framework to show how such facilities would be paid for, over time.

The discussions with the YMCA will take place following council’s recent approval of $5.5 million in renovations to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre. Those are proceeding regardless.

“We need another one,” Read said.

But it’s going to take time, to save for the facility and to examine the finances to see if there are various ways to pay for it.

A new pool could be located in the Albion flats as part of a complex that would include an Albion community centre, to replace the Albion hall that was torn down a few years ago. But no decisions have been made.

Read said it wasn’t a “great” decision not to fund the recreation master plan when it was written five years ago.

What council has to do is find the right balance of financial sources to fund more projects in Maple Ridge. Density bonusing (more developer dollars in return for higher density housing) and development cost charge are two sources of funds that could be increased.

“There’s definitely a role for our developers to play in building up the community,” Read said.

But there has to be a clear plan in place,” to make sure we build complete communities.”

“So we need to be setting money aside for building this infrastructure because this community needs it.”

Sports fields though continue to be her top priority for improving recreation in Maple Ridge.

Council recently approved seeking grant funding to create artificial surfaces in Albion Sports Fields. “I think this council is very clear, we need fields.”

Coun. Craig Speirs though wasn’t as enthusiastic as some on council. “There’s a lot of stuff that we’re seeing and a pool is at the bottom of my list.”

Speirs wants a new museum and archives to be a priority.

Read, a historian, shares that interest as well.

“The biggest challenge for us is the recreation master plan was never funded,” Read said.

“Making our community space enjoyable for our residents is really important. So I think it’s really important we create community space that people can build some social cohesion in.”

 

 

 

 

 

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