What would happen if Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows went their separate ways and built and paid for their own parks and swimming pools?
How much is Maple Ridge saving by partnering with Pitt Meadows in its joint-use service agreement?
And how is it that Pitt Meadows can choose not to help fund the art gallery, within the joint-use agreement, asked Coun. Corisa Bell.
After visiting Pitt Meadows last week, recreation consultant Brian Johnston stopped in at Maple Ridge council this week and heard the inquiries as he writes a report on joint service agreement that allows the municipalities to share costs and save dollars in running recreational facilities.
The agreement is 20 years old and is now in undergoing its third review to see if it’s still working for both sides.
A key element to the arrangement is splitting operating costs based on the approximate population ratios, resulting in Maple Ridge picking up 80 per cent of the costs and Pitt Meadows 20 per cent.
Each municipality, though, pays the capital costs for each project built within its own boundaries.
Coun. Michael Morden and Bell wanted to know if the agreement was flexible enough to adjust to a larger Maple Ridge.
“Pitt Meadows is near build out, population wise,” Bell said.
Coun. Judy Dueck pointed out that the agreement also involves the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board.
Council agreed most people seem to be happy with the level of recreational services in Maple Ridge.
However, Coun. Bob Masse said he hears complaints about the shortage of sports fields and their condition.
And Morden wanted to know why it takes so long to build a park in a new suburb.
Parks and recreation general manager Kelly Swift said later that other facilities in Maple Ridge are not part of the agreement. Those include the Maple Ridge Cemetery, social planning, public art, the Maple Ridge golf course and the art gallery.
Overall, in 2014, Maple Ridge’s recreation services budget will be $12.4 million, while Pitt Meadows will be $2.19 million.
Johnston told council that both municipalities are seen by other cities as leaders in providing recreational services and programs.
Last week, Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walter said there was no appetite for Pitt Meadows to create its own parks department.