Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with (from left) Maple Ridge CAO Ted Swabey

Maple Ridge seeks federal funds for recreation and culture

Delegation, including Mayor Nicole Read, visited Ottawa earlier this week.

Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read led a delegation to Ottawa to meet with cabinet ministers and staff from federal ministries earlier this week to request for financial support for a proposed civic and cultural facility in downtown Maple Ridge.

Council has made the centre, planned for just west of the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre in the downtown, the top project for drawing senior government money.

“We’re doing a multi-layered project that fits with a number of different funding envelopes,” said Read.

The civic and cultural centre, priced at about $40 million, will have space for a museum and archives, with a First Nations component, meeting space, a youth wellness centre and room for post-secondary courses.

“That is probably going to be our best bet for a large amount of funding from the federal government,” Read said.

Read said she’d like to see one-third to half of the cost of the civic and cultural centre covered through grants.

Read said the civic and cultural centre blends many priorities into one.

Some funding possibilities could exist because of the involvement of Kwantlen and Katzie First Nations, as well as the post-secondary education component.

“This is really an incredible opportunity for us to work on reconciliation with our First Nations,” Read said.

“We have some good opportunities for some major funding and we don’t want to pass that up.”

Another round of funding expected to be released in the spring should focus on community facilities.

The exact grant programs to which Maple Ridge will apply haven’t been confirmed. And there are no guarantees the city will get anything.

The Canada 150 Fund and the Community Infrastructure Program are two possible pools of cash.

Money that’s distributed through the province is another possibility. Applications, though, still have to be prepared and submitted.

Read, along with Maple Ridge CAO Ted Swabey, met with various ministers.

At the end of the two-day visit, Read also met briefly with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who noted that his ministers had been speaking about a video presentation from the city that was shown at each of the meetings and that he looked forward to viewing it himself in the coming days.

Read said there’s a limited amount of time to access the federal funds.

She said taxpayers want the Leisure Centre upgraded (part of the civic and cultural centre) and support the project.

Coun. Gordy Robson said he was concerned about the operating costs of a museum. But if Read was able to get money for it, “I would find great difficulty opposing that.”

Council, on Tuesday, approved the six-month process by which it will get public feedback on all of Maple Ridge’s proposed new recreation facilities. That will involve e-mail surveys, YouTube videos and social media.

Once completed, council will have a better idea how to rank new sports fields, a new aquatic and wellness centre, a new stadium, two new ice surfaces, plus community centres.

Read said the priority for the public is to get more sports fields built as soon as possible.

On Monday, Oct. 31, the Joint Parks and Leisure Services Agreement with the City of Pitt Meadows will officially conclude.

Beginning Nov. 1, Maple Ridge will be served by the “Maple Ridge Parks, Recreation and Culture Department.”

The new name is meant to reflect the connection between natural spaces, physical activity, arts and heritage in creating a healthy community.








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