Maple Ridge City council is starting the process of building a fourth sheet of ice onto its Planet Ice arena.
Council is first asking the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to allow the addition, as the property on Jim Robson Way sits on protected farmland.
“This is great news that an additional rink is on its way to becoming a reality, as we have heard how much recreational facilities like a new rink are needed by our growing community,” said Mayor Dan Ruimy.
“We appreciate the approach that staff is taking here to get the ALC approval for the new ice sheet while the work on the PRC master plan continues. Our hope is that we can move forward quickly to bring this project from concept to reality with groundbreaking in time for the city’s 150th anniversary.”
That would mean getting the project built in under two years, as the sesquicentennial anniversary celebrations are set for September 2024. The ALC review is expected to take six months.
The new mayor said the rink expansion is consistent with what he and his electoral team A Better Maple Ridge said during the election campaign.
The fourth ice sheet is intended to address a shortage of ice and dry floor time for the growing minor sports clubs.
It would be funded by approved borrowing of $23.5 million and supplemented with $1.5 million in community amenity contributions.
A schematic design includes a new NHL-size ice sheet, upgraded lobby and public space, new change rooms for the additional ice sheet, new offices, meeting space, fitness space, and a viewing area on the second level. The project would also include upgrades to the existing change rooms.
Coun. Ahmed Yousef said he wanted to “commend staff on bringing this forward. It’s of course much needed, and been talked about quite a bit in our community.”
The Agricultural Land Commission has allowed an arena building of a maximum of 10,000 square metres, with approvals that date back to the 1980s. The existing Planet Ice takes up almost 8,600 square metres, with two sheets of arena ice, and a third that has been converted into a curling rink and home of the Golden Ears Winter Club.
The proposed addition of a fourth ice sheet will increase the total arena size to approximately 11,800 square metres, so new approval is needed.
“The Planet Ice facility is the city’s only arena complex,” noted a staff report. “The proposal to add a fourth ice sheet will allow for more efficient operations and programming of recreational activities, as well as providing more dry floor space for special events, including the continued support for agricultural activities and exhibition space for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Country Fest Agricultural Fair and the Ridge Meadows Home Show.
There are currently 400 paved parking stalls at Planet Ice, and 394 will be required. The new ice sheet will be built on approximately 75 parking spots, and staff recommended paving a gravel lot to accommodate approximately 140 more vehicles. That will create 465 parking spots.
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