Parking would be an issue if new fields are added at Albion Sports Complex.

Parking would be an issue if new fields are added at Albion Sports Complex.

Maple Ridge recreation plan designs ready for fall

Latest ideas focus on ‘wellness.’

A new swimming pool and wellness centre planned for somewhere in Maple Ridge will be focused on the latter concept, says the architect who’s designing new places for Maple Ridge residents to play.

When people talk about wellness, they’re talking about a holistic view of what it means to be healthy and active, one not just focused on leisure or competition, architect Paul Fast told council on Monday.

Fast, with HCMA Architects, updated council with the latest ideas about its plan to build more ice rinks, swimming pools and sports fields in Maple Ridge.

A location hasn’t been set, but the swimming pool and wellness centre would have an eight-lane, 25-metre competition pool, complemented by a leisure pool. Included would be two large gyms, fitness space and an indoor running track, making it easier for athletes and regular people to train.

A new curling rink would also be part of that centre, which would strive to be a focus for the city thanks to a “community living room,” where people could gather.

Coun. Gordy Robson liked the idea about the swimming pool and wellness centre.

“What concerns me is transit.”

He said the Golden Ears Winter Club almost closed when it moved from downtown to the Albion flats on 105th Avenue because seniors couldn’t get to the location.

“I think building it without transit would be very wrong.

“I think transit has to be a part of whatever we do in the future.”

The city has to work with TransLink to ensure that people can get to the new facilities, said Robson.

TransLink currently operates three shuttle buses – C45, C46 and C48 – that run along 105th Avenue in Albion flats, past the Planet Ice rinks and curling club, up to Tamarack Lane.

Fast also sketched out other facilities that will appeal to another part of the community.

With the Golden Ears Winter Club relocating to become part of the wellness centre, the existing curling club located next to the hockey arenas can be converted to another ice rink. Then, a fourth ice sheet can be added.

“We’re hearing from the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association,” as well as figure skating, “that there is a huge need for ice time,” said Fast.

A new lobby and change rooms would be part of the refit, which could cost $25 million

Parking is a problem at the ice rinks and at sports fields at Albion Sports Complex.

A 5,000-seat sports stadium, similar to Rotary Stadium in Abbotsford, would be a major feature for the area, and could cost about $20 million.

But, “The parking capacity right now just isn’t there.”

As a result, the stadium could be located elsewhere, Fast told council.

Consultation also has to take place with Country Fest, Ridge Meadows Home Show and Caribbean Fest because they could use such a facility, Fast added.

Smaller community parks are being planned for Silver Valley, modifications are proposed for Hammond Hall, including a covered outdoor barbecue area, while the Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club at Whonnock Lake is cramped for space. An addition to the building which is shared by the Whonnock Community Association could help.

Coun. Craig Speirs said a small theatre should be part of the community projects.

Another project is a new museum and cultural centre, which could cost up to $40 million, planned for just west of the Leisure Centre in Memorial Peace Park.

Recreation general manager Kelly Swift said most of the meetings with stakeholders or user groups have taken place.

Once designs are ready in a couple months, the public will be consulted.

“All of that information will come back to council and council will identify … what the priorities are,” Swift said.

“The information coming back is starting to formulate what those concepts will look like.”

Costs for those new facilities still haven’t been determined, but borrowing up to $110 million has been included as a possible part of this year’s budget.

Once final costs are known, the public will be able to vote on the projects through the alternative approval process. In order to defeat the projects and borrowing, 10 per cent of eligible Maple Ridge voters must vote no.