No borrowing so far for new rec facilities

Maple Ridge using its own funds first

Maple Ridge voters have OK’d borrowing $49.5 million for a raft of recreation projects, but so far, the city hasn’t had to go to the bank and instead is using money from its own savings to pay the bills.

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

The alternative approval process was held in January 2018, to approve borrowing for the new Albion Community Centre, ($8.5 million) two all-weather fields near Thomas Haney secondary ($7 M), a new rink at Planet Ice, ($23.5 M) along with $3.5 million for part of the renos to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, plus other, smaller, projects.

“We haven’t externally borrowed it. We have managed the cost to date, through our own reserves, internally financing it,” said City of Maple Ridge chief financial officer Trevor Thompson.

“But the amounts are getting sizable enough it makes it harder and harder to do.”

Thompson said that the larger price tag items such as the Albion Community Centre or the new ice rink, could require borrowing.

Total price tag for the community centre will be about $18 million, while the ice rink is priced at $23 million.

Read more: Maple Ridge looks at more grant dollars for Albion Community Centre

“If it gets to be a large number, it becomes problematic,” Thompson said. On the other hand, if borrowing eventually is required, the cost to do so is relatively inexpensive for cities which can get triple A rating, he said.

“I’m not totally averse to looking at extra borrowing,” Thompson said.

“But if we can manage internally, we will as long as we can.”

Read more: New fields of dreams for Maple Ridge

Some of the bills for those recreation projects have already been paid, such as the $7 million for the two all-weather fields that opened last summer next to Thomas Haney secondary, also known as Telosky Stadium.

Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden said council has ordered a report to provide an update on the $49.5-million recreation plan. That will include the final cost of the renovations to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre.

He added that council has also heard from a couple of other sports groups who say their needs weren’t considered.

“Once we have a full and completely costed needs assessment, council will have a further decision-making and funding source conversation,” Morden said.

When it comes to this year’s (2020) list of capital spending, recreation doesn’t figure large, with the previously approved projects already projects underway. This year, only $529,000 is allotted to parks, according to the capital plan.

That compares to $15 million for roads, $7 million for water lines and $6 million on sewage systems. Development cost charges however, pay for part of the roads budget.

Coun. Gordy Robson said the community amenity contributions, implemented in 2016, are intended to pay for recreation facilities. Maple Ridge charges developers $5,100 for each single family home or $3,100 for each condo they build, to pay for recreation projects.

“That’s hopefully what this council will continue to do,” Robson said. “We’re moving the burden from taxpayers, in general, to new projects that are paying their way as they’re coming in.”

He estimated that the city is spending only $25 million so far, for the recreation projects. “We probably won’t have to borrow, unless we want to,” Robson said.

Morden though said it’s too early to talk about funding sources such as CACs for the recreation projects until council receives the update.

He said that council is committed to the recreation master plan and is willing to look at more services.

“Council is committed to providing decent, quality recreation for our users on a value, cost, needs basis ensuring there’s a sensible way to pay for these service demands,” Morden said.

Read more: More money going into building Maple Ridge

Next year’s capital spending for parks and recreation will be six times this year’s amount.

In 2021, more than $3.4 million will be spent on parks and recreation, although most of that ($2.4 million) will be used to buy property for the new South Haney Park at 230th Street and 113th Avenue.

In 2018, council approved a .35-per-cent tax increase for the next seven years, to pay for the operating costs and debt servicing for the recreation projects.

“It depends on when things are planned for,” some years are busier than others, he added.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows pickleball pro wins pair of medals in Toronto

Steve Deakin switched to the sport from tennis a couple years ago and never looked back

Maple Ridge wrestlers dominate provincials

‘Truly amazing,’ said Maple Ridge coach Bill McCrae

Looking Back: Student and youth protests go way back

Nothing new when it comes to carrying signs

LETTER: Pitt Meadows prof locks himself away to learn more about today’s budget

B.C. budget risks reducing life expectancy by over investing in medical care: Kershaw cites study

LETTER: ICBC changes a ‘breath of fresh air’

A Maple Ridge resident welcomes the new changes and impact on rates

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read