Golden Ears Winter Club could return to where it began, in downtown Maple Ridge.
Moving the curling club, now located next to two hockey arenas in Planet Ice, could be easier as part of Maple Ridge’s recreation facility overhaul, said Coun. Tyler Shymkiw.
Council is asking for a report on the feasibility of building a new hockey arena at Planet Ice in Albion flats, which it may add to its new plan to build two new artificial fields at Thomas Haney, and an Albion community centre, in addition to new artificial fields that have already been funded at Maple Ridge secondary and Golden Ears elementary.
“Once we’re able to find another location for a curling club, and I think probably downtown makes a lot more sense, especially with our senior population and everything else, if we could find a location downtown – maybe co-locate with a private-sector development,” Shymkiw said.
If that happens, the curling rink could be converted to a fourth hockey arena at Planet Ice in the Albion fairgrounds.
“I think that’s always been sort of the long-term plan there,” Shymkiw said.
The curling club has had a lot of challenges since locating to Planet Ice.
“They would have an easier time with membership and everything else if there was a downtown location.”
But that’s part of the larger conversation about the higher-price new rec facilities, such as indoor swimming pools, that Maple Ridge has temporarily shelved.
In that plan, a new curling club was to be part of a new aquatic centre.
Mayor Nicole Read said she can’t comment on the curling rink and where it would move to until she gets more information from staff.
Meanwhile, she supports the sports fields and Albion community going ahead of the full list of projects, providing taxpayers approve any borrowing.
“… I recognize that there are real urgencies that we need to address, one being the fields.”
Read though also wanted a financial plan for building the major facilities such as an aquatic centre or cultural centre and other projects to go to referendum during the current council’s term, so that planning those projects could begin.
A succeeding council may not support that.
“I was expecting that council would make some decisions about it in this term.
“If that doesn’t happen in this term, I can’t really speculate as to when it would.”
Coun. Gordy Robson added that the arrangement the city has with the operators of Planet Ice for the operation of the arenas could complicate relocating the curling club.
“I think in our long-range plans, most of us would like to see that happen.”
Shymiw said a new hockey arena could cost $25 million. If council so decides, that could be added to the $10 million it’s considering, with public assent, to build the Albion community centre and two new sports fields.
Scott Falconer, president of Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey, says Maple Ridge needs another two arenas.
Minor hockey can’t advertise for new members because it doesn’t have the ice team to accommodate more teams, he said.