MP Dan Ruimy and Mayor Nicole Read address federal grant opportunities on Tuesday.

MP Dan Ruimy and Mayor Nicole Read address federal grant opportunities on Tuesday.

Maple Ridge looking at federal 150 funds

Sports fields remain the city’s greatest need, according to mayor.

If Maple Ridge gets any of the federal funds doled out this year for Canada’s 150th birthday, the city could spend it same way as it did last year.

In 2015, Maple Ridge received $500,000 under the Canada 150 community infrastructure program to convert gravel soccer pitches at the Albion Sports Complex to artificial fields.

If it gets the same amount under the second round of funding announced Tuesday, the money could be spent on similar projects, either at Albion or elsewhere in Maple Ridge.

The city’s young, growing population needs recreation facilities, said Mayor Nicole Read.

“We need sports fields all over this community. That is the single, greatest need in this community in terms of sport.”

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Dan Ruimy announced the second round of the Canada 150 program Tuesday.

Deadline for applying is late June and city staff have yet to be decide which projects to apply for, but sports fields seem to be the preference.

“Staff are looking for every dollar available federally and figuring out where everything fits,” Read said. “We want to make sure that when we submit something it not only meets but exceeds the criteria. So we’re looking for the exact, perfect project to submit under the Canada 150.”

The city has embarked on an extensive recreation rebuilding project, provided Maple Ridge taxpayers agree to borrowing to pay for it.

Some of those projects include a new cultural centre-museum-youth wellness centre, proposed for next to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, a new aquatic centre, an Albion community centre, a new sports stadium and artificial fields and ice rinks.

The Canada 150 grant may be best suited for upgrading sports fields, though, with other grant programs more suitable for larger projects, Read said.

“There are bigger pockets of funding. We have some big projects and some big conversations that need to take place, around things like youth wellness in this community,” she added.

“We’re looking all over the community for other opportunities for putting in artificial turf because it’s really needed.”

Ruimy said that Maple Ridge has many projects underway.

“It’s just another part of the funding package that the federal government is offering.”

A city can submit more than one request for the money under Canada 150. but whether it receives that depends on the number of applications.

The second call for grant requests opened Tuesday. Applications are due by June 22. Decisions will be made later in the summer.

The money is being distributed through Western Economic Diversification. Eligible projects include renovating recreational facilities including local arenas, gyms, swimming pools, sports fields, tennis, basketball or volleyball courts or other recreational facilities.

The program focuses on renovating, expanding and improving existing infrastructure, “with a focus on recreational facilities, projects that advance a clean growth economy, and projects with a positive impact on Indigenous communities,” says its website.

Other projects that could be funded include parks, trails, bike paths, community centres, cultural centres and museums.