Two new artificial fields planned for Thomas Haney secondary grounds. (Contributed)

Two new artificial fields planned for Thomas Haney secondary grounds. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge residents give go-ahead for $49 million in rec projects

Albion community centre, sports fields a priority

The people of Maple Ridge have approved the city’s plans for a $50-million recreation upgrade.

Or at least, they haven’t said no.

Results of the month-long alternative approval process, which ended Monday, showed that none of the projects received the 5,828 votes (or 10 per cent of eligible voters) against, which were required for the city to reconsider a particular one.

The city can now start planning construction and borrowing for two new all-weather sports fields at Thomas Haney secondary, a new Albion Community Centre on 104th Avenue, part of the entire refit of the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, a new arena at Planet Ice, along with two small parks in Silver Valley, and upgrades to the Hammond Community Centre and the canoe and kayak areas at Whonnock Lake.

“We’re happy,” Mayor Nicole Read said Tuesday.

“We needed to get this behind us and now staff will give us direction in terms of process.”

Staff will also suggest a timeline about what project gets built when.

Read, though, said the $8.5-million Albion Community Centre is a priority. It’s proceeding in tandem with a new Albion elementary school. Council was to look at preliminary designs at its Tuesday meeting.

“That definitely is a priority for the city, there’s no question.”

But getting the two new all-weather, artificial fields built on the grounds of Thomas Haney secondary and Telosky Stadium is equally pressing.

“Certainly, we need more fields urgently for our field teams. That and the Albion Community Centre are pretty high priorities, both.”

Read said staff will give council a break down of the votes received against each project. Construction timelines remain uncertain, though Read expects the community centre and fields to get underway this year.

Not all of the projects will get done before the current council’s mandate expires in October and civic elections take place.

“It’s a huge spend. We’re really excited about it. It’s going to fill some gaps that have existed in the community for some time,” Read said.

Meanwhile, the separately funded Karina Leblanc Field opens in a few months next to Maple Ridge secondary, while another artificial field at Golden Ears elementary, across from Thomas Haney, is out for tender.

Read said the recreation projects and the raising of development cost, or community amenity charges – fees paid by developers – are two major achievements of the current council.

In brief, the recreation projects and costs:

• ice sheet addition at Planet Ice, $23.5 million;

• Albion Community Centre, $8.5 million;

• two artificial sports fields at Thomas Haney secondary, $7 million;

• part of the costs of renovations to Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, $3.5 million;

• Hammond Community Centre renovation, $2.5 million;

• Whonnock Lake renovation, $1 million;

• Maple Ridge secondary track and field renovation, $2.5 million;

• Silver Valley neighbourhood gathering places, $1 million.

The city proposes borrowing $49.5 million to complete the projects, requiring a total tax increase to fund all eight of .35 per cent each year, for the next seven years.

After that period, people would be paying an average of an extra $60 a year on their property taxes.

But Coun. Tyler Shymkiw expects the costs to come in under budget. He’s also happy to see the projects proceed.

“I think it’s great. I think spending on infrastructure for kids is probably one of the biggest things I ran on [in 2014], so I’m glad to see it get to this stage.”

He also said the new community amenity charges will help pay for the projects and could reduce what the city has to borrow.

He added that the alternative approval process isn’t intended to be a subsitute for a referendum or plebiscite, but as a check on local government so the public can express its opinion.

If any one project received more than 10 per cent of the eligible votes against, council could have decided to hold a referendum on that project, build it without borrowing, or scrap it completely.

An outdoor swimming pool, which could cost about $14 million, proposed for the east side of Thomas Haney secondary, next to the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club, wasn’t part of the process because there wasn’t enough information.

Shymkiw said he’d like this council to proceed with that project during its current term, although it too could have to go through a borrowing-approval process.

An outdoor pool beside Thomas Haney could be a centre of family activities, he added.

“It creates some great synergy for the whole area.”

But more likely that will be considered by a new council elected next October.

Coun. Gordy Robson doubts the current council will consider a new outdoor pool. However, he added a new leasing arrangement with Planet Ice could see the operator build the arena, instead of the city, reducing the borrowing costs by half.

The city has also started consultation on a new indoor aquatic centre for Maple Ridge, location unknown.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Hammond Community Centre also set for refit. (Contributed)

Hammond Community Centre also set for refit. (Contributed)

Renos are planned for Whonnock Lake canoe facility. (Contributed)

Renos are planned for Whonnock Lake canoe facility. (Contributed)

Neighbourhood gathering places planned for Silver Valley. (Contributed)

Neighbourhood gathering places planned for Silver Valley. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Lobbying efforts continue to have a fish ladder added to the Alouette dam. (News files)
ALONG THE FRASER: Habitat behind dam could help reverse salmon declines

VIDEO: Environmentalist keeps lobbying for Hydro to fund a fish ladder to move salmon over the dam

SD42 superintendent Sylvia Russell.
Need for post secondary education in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows growing

New curriculum, influx of young teachers changing school district, says the retiring superintendent

Desiree Betz captured a picture of an osprey at Pitt Lake, anxious to share some of the photos of “our beautiful town.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Feeding time on Pitt Lake

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

New Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall supports hiring more full-time firefighters. (The News files)
Pitt Meadows approves four new career firefighters

Two will be hired in each of 2021 and 2022

Work continues at Planet Ice, but one ice surface will be in use in December. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Planet Ice to partially reopen in December

Maple Ridge arena should have emergency repairs completed in early January

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
COVID-19 tickets: No, RCMP aren’t checking vehicle occupancies, restaurant tables

Enforcement about education, not punishment says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

Most Read