Maple Ridge gives cold shoulder on Games

Could pursue bid without Pitt Meadows.

Maple Ridge wants to go it alone and doesn’t want to be involved with its soon-to-be ex-recreation partner in any bid to hold the B.C. Summer Games in 2020 or 2022.

Tuesday, council rejected a proposal from the recreation commission to put in a bid to co-host the Games with Pitt Meadows.

The two cities are in the process of splitting their 20-year joint recreation services agreement. That separation takes place at the end of October.

“This seems to be going into business with our ex-wife,” said Coun. Gordy Robson.

“I just don’t get it.”

Maple Ridge is in the process of splitting its recreation services with Pitt Meadows, he pointed out.

“I’m very confused. I don’t think I can support this. I think we’d be better off doing it ourselves – or go back and get married.”

Preparing a bid and hosting the Games would cost $45,000. If Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows put in a joint proposal, they would split the cost 80/20, based on population ratio.

Mayor Nicole Read said Maple Ridge is about to improve its recreation infrastructure.

That will cost millions.

“We’re putting an awful lot of work … into visioning new rec facilities for our community to catch us up … turf fields, discussions about a new pool.”

As well, people are confused between the two cities and the term “Ridge Meadows,” which is  sometimes used to describe joint projects and organizations.

“We really need to sort of make our mark as Maple Ridge,” Read said.

Coun. Bob Masse pointed out that the two cities are separating their parks and rec departments.

“Without meaning any slight or disrespect to Pitt Meadows, I really think we should be looking at this opportunity for Maple Ridge … “ said Masse.

“There’s no slight intended here at all, it’s simply the direction we’re moving in.”

He made the motion, which passed, to change the submission to exclude Pitt Meadows.

Coun. Craig Speirs opposed Maple Ridge going it alone. He questioned if Maple Ridge had enough facilities to hold the Games.

But staff said Maple Ridge has the facilities, although some other locations in other cities would have to be used, such as the Port Moody for sailing events or Langley for diving events.

“It’s a bit of a slap in the face to Pitt Meadows,” Speirs said later.

Pitt Meadows has been a long-time partner with Maple Ridge in recreation.

“I think it was a real mistake by council, so I voted against it,” Speirs said.

Robson said if Pitt Meadows is awarded the Games, then Maple Ridge will help that city.

The decision surprised Pitt Meadows Coun. Dave Murray, who said that Maple Ridge councillors Kiersten Duncan and Tyler Shymkiw supported a joint bid at the recreation commission.

But Murray wished Maple Ridge the best in its bid and said he’d volunteer if Maple Ridge is awarded the Games.

What’s important is that minor sports in both cities won’t be affected by the cities separating their recreation services or not co-hosting the Games. Maybe Pitt Meadows will partner with another city in hosting the Games, he added.

“The big winner here is the kids. We don’t need to have politics in there,” Murray said.

About 3,700 athletes from around B.C. attend during the Games, which are held every two years. Maple Ridge has already hosted the Games by itself in 1983, while both cities jointly hosted the Games in 1998.

In addition to the $45,000 needed to apply for and host the Games, another $50,000 is needed in staff time.

However, each time a city hosts the Games, it receives a financial legacy of about $175,000 from sales of souvenirs, savings from the budget and interest on grants.

“It makes sense to put in an independent bid,” as Maple Ridge tries to develop its own brand and image, said Coun. Tyler Shymkiw.





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