There are still gaps in Maple Ridge’s recreation infrastructure, city council heard at its Nov. 10 workshop meeting.
It’s a topic that will come up again during the coming budget planning.
Council considered a recreation facilities gap analysis done by staff. They reported the last council under former Mayor Nicole Read had identified eight infrastructure projects needed, but city hall has since heard complaints from user groups that they were left out.
Staff conducted a survey that went to more than 40 sports organizations. Clubs were evenly split between satisfied and dissatisfied with their allocation levels for facilities, and 52 per cent said there are not enough rec facilities to meet the current needs of their sport. Further, when asked if there will be enough facilities to meet the needs of their sport for the next 10 years, 66 per cent said no.
Ice allocation during prime time, competition pool facilities, covered or indoor boxes for lacrosse, ball diamonds and sports courts for squash and volleyball were identified as lacking. Staff noted a new indoor pool was not approved by council in 2017, but the supply of pools is below the city’s master plan standards, while the population grows.
Coun. Ryan Svendsen agreed the city is “drastically under served” in pool facilities, ice sheets, and fields for baseball, softball and lacrosse. He said more facilities could benefit tens of thousands of people.
He said council needs to use its reserves for these facilities, which are accumulating from charges to developers.
“How much money do we have in accounts around CACS and DCCs that could be applied to this? I certainly think the time is now to take bold steps into the future,” he said.
Svendsen said council should consider just allocating space for the facilities, even if it doesn’t build them yet.
“If this council could say ‘We can’t deliver a pool, but this is where it’s going to be,’ that’s something I would consider as a big win.”
Coun. Gordy Robson said the city has been in discussion with Pitt Meadows about a joint pool facility, but was told by staff those discussions have been private. The two cities had partnered in recreation services, but that ended five years ago.
Robson agreed with Svendsen that identifying land for facilities is the key first step.
“I think it’s something that we could actually accomplish during this term, and I think once we had the property, the facilities would flow,” said Robson.
Coun. Kiersten Duncan said the city needs a competition-sized pool, and noted the city has lost many pool users by closures for the Leisure Centre renovation.
“We had a discussion as a last council – we were so close to including it as one of the options for the recreation plan,” she said of the pool. “It’s another shame that it wasn’t included…”
The last council identified eight projects. The Maple Ridge Leisure Centre pool renovation, Telosky Stadium synthetic fields and Maple Ridge secondary running track upgrades are all completed. The Albion Community Centre and Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club upgrades at Whonnock Lake are both under construction. A fourth ice sheet at the Planet Ice Arena and Hammond Community Centre upgrades are both in the design phase.