The new Albion Community Centre will have room for daycare and after-school care programs, which in turn will help the City of Maple Ridge with the costs of running the new building.
Such programs could generate up to $37,000 a year in leasing revenue that would help with bottom line for the new facility.
The Albion Community Centre, which will be built in tandem with the new elementary school on 104th Avenue, is expected to be open by the end of 2019. The city is borrowing up to $8.5 million to build the project.
An April 10 staff report says that the wait for infant care can be up to two years while many parents have a hard time finding child care if they don’t work the standard nine-to-five hours.
However, in Maple Ridge, a city of more than 80,000, there is a total of 2,489 child-care spaces of all types. The number of childcare spaces includes group child-care spaces, of all ages, preschool, in-home child care and multi-service programs for all ages. In the eastern and northern part of Maple Ridge, there are no group child-care spaces for kids under three years old and only 173 pre-school spaces.
A final open house on the new community centre is expected soon, followed by a building permit that will allow the work to begin in the fall.
The city is also in discussions with the YMCA as the possible operator of the community centre. That partnership could also include YMCA daycare programs, said Coun. Gordy Robson.
“It opens up the door for the YMCA to work with the school district and make a proposal to us to run our community centre.”
With space for daycare and after-school care programs in the centre, “Our intent is to have the YMCA run the programs. I’m ectastic because when the YMCA comes to a community centre like that it becomes a community builder,” Robson said.
However, there’s no agreement yet signed with the city and the YMCA, which is about to make a presentation to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board.
He said the YMCA is looking at how it can integrate its programs with those offered by the school district.
Staff have also clarified some of the other features of Albion Community Centre. The energy-efficient features that will be included will be determined by a feasibility study currently underway.
There will also be covered bicycle parking while the centre will have artistic decorations that recognize Maple Ridge’s historical and indigenous past.
Council had asked if it was possible to build a second storey on to the building at a later date. However, the process is too far along in the process to allow that without adding to the costs. To do so, would require council telling staff to redesign the whole project.
“We’re late in the process on adding a second storey, ” parks and recreation general manager Kelly Swift told council.
“Because we’re late in this process, there would be cost implications to doing it at this point.”
A major feature of the building will be a “great room” that could serve as a gymnasium or theatre. Storage space will be nearby for local theatre groups to put their props. There will also be three other rooms, plus a commercial kitchen that could offer culinary training.