(THE NEWS/files) The City of Maple Ridge is working on a new outdoor pool.

Maple Ridge waiting for word on rec process

Alternative approval process requires 10 per cent of voters to reject a project

It’s all up to the provincial government on when Maple Ridge residents have their say about new recreation projects in their city.

But when that word will come remains unknown.

Legislative services manager Laurie Darcus says that the request for the government to review the city’s borrowing plans and the alternative approval process went in several weeks ago.

The alternative approval process is that in which 10 per cent of voters have to sign their name saying they oppose a project.

If fewer than 10 per cent sign, a project can proceed.

“We’re still waiting to hear back. They have to approve the borrowing,” Darcus said Wednesday.

Every rec project, whether it be building a new outdoor pool or adding an ice arena, will have a separate sheet labelling the project and the amount the city wants to borrow.

Residents can sign the sheets for any of the projects they oppose.

The government has to approve Maple Ridge’s borrowing bylaws and the public assent process, both of which were sent in for review by the inspector of muncipalities.

“We can’t even start the process until the province gives us the green light. We’re still waiting to hear back from the province as to whether they’ll allow us to do this. So we’re just waiting to hear back from them.”

Once the province responds, staff will go back to council, which will set a date for the start of the process.

Advertising will take place and people will have 30 days to sign the sheets.

The sheets will be available on the city’s website so that people can print them off, get others to sign, and return them to city hall. People also will be able to sign the sheets in city hall and the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre.

If more than 10 per cent of voters oppose a project, council could scrap it or decide to proceed with a direct vote or referendum, known as the electors assent process, where residents will vote directly on a project.

The result would be binding on council.

If fewer than 10 per cent are opposed, council can proceed with the project, but it can also decide to give up on it, as well.

Darcus said she’s getting lots of calls from people asking about the process.

Coun. Gordy Robson said the process could take place in November, but if it’s later than that, it may have to wait until February.

Mayor Nicole Read is also concerned.

“It needs to get done. We might need to check in with our MLAs and get them to see what the delays are.”

Approximate costs of the projects:

• $23.5 million – new arena at Planet Ice;

• $8.5 million – new Albion community centre, 104th Avenue;

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

• $14 million – outdoor pool;

• $4.5 million – two new mini-parks in Silver Valley, and upgrades to Hammond Community Centre and Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club;

• $3.5 million – balance of renovations to Maple Ridge Leisure Centre for new changerooms and lobby;

• $2.5 million – upgrading Maple Ridge secondary track.