Parks and recreation areas are undergoing major transformations in both communities.
In Maple Ridge, the Leisure Centre is currently closed while renovations are taking place.
The $9.6 million project began in April and is expected to be completed in May of next year.
The new facility will feature a “walk in” beach-style access to the leisure pool, a new lazy river, a bubbling play area for toddlers and a new hot tub. The waterfall feature at the current pool is going to be restored.
The new lobby will lead customers to the pool deck and there will also be new modern change rooms.
“In the last month, the Leisure Centre has transitioned from a demolition phase of the older parts of the building to a full-on renovation mode,” explained Manager of Community Engagement and Relations, Fred Armstrong.
“Right now, they’re pouring concrete all throughout the facility, putting up new walls in the changing rooms, new walls for the new pool tank, and the new mechanical room structures are being put into place.”
The renovations go beyond a surface level beautification.
“They’re dealing with 35 years worth of wiring for the electrical system, and making sure all of it is up to date.”
“We’re not sure exactly what the opening date will be yet,” said Armstrong.
“It’ll obviously be up and running for the summer of next year, but it won’t be until after Christmas that we have a more precise window of when the grand opening will be.”
The project is currently meeting budgetary expectations, and is not expected to go over.
Two new all-weather sports fields at Thomas Haney secondary are also on the go.
“The two fields broke ground last month, and the excavation is currently underway,” explained Armstrong.
“Right now they are leveling the ground and doing all the pre-work required to put the new bed in for the synthetic turf fields.”
This project involves the creation of two synthetic turf fields with baseball diamonds attached to each one. In addition, a new field house with change rooms, washrooms and a new concession stand will also be built on site.
“It’ll be very similar to the Karina LeBlanc field which had its grand opening at the beginning of summer this year is already up and running,” said Armstrong.
They are part of a $50 million recreation upgrade that also include 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, upgrades to the Hammond Community Centre and the canoe and kayak areas at Whonnock Lake.
Karina Leblanc Field, that was separately funded, opened May 26 this year, at Merkley Park, next to Maple Ridge secondary.
The City of Pitt Meadows has some major projects on the works for this year, as well.
A playground feature is being added to MacLean Park and will include new swings and monkey-bars.
Staff are also working on replacing signs at all the parks across the city.
“We’ve got a template now for that and it looks really good actually. I’m going to start looking at getting quotes and getting it installed,” said Randy Evans, manager of parks and operations for the City of Pitt Meadows.
The project is going to cost around $40,000 to replace around 50 signs.
“There’s two reasons why they need upgrading. One is because they are old and tired. They need a refresh. And the second one is the association now between Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows no longer exists in our parks department,” explained Evans.
“A lot of the signs out there have Maple Ridge contact information and Maple Ridge phone numbers that’s no longer applicable,” he continued.
A tree replacement program began in the summer in South Bonson.
“We did a removal of some trees that weren’t in the right location. We felt it was an inappropriate location for that particular tree that was planted. So we had some removed and we are replacing them with a different style and species of tree,” said Evans who is planning to continue with the program into the new year where they will travel to respective areas in the city, review street trees and park trees and look at what needs to be done and what needs to be replaced.
The parks department is also doing a Shoreline Park review. They have already had a consultant involved to look at possible changes in that park.
“It’s quite complex and parks are quite complex I think,” said Evans, who added that they have some concepts they are throwing around that are not “written in stone.”
“We want to make it nicer. We want to make it more appealing. We want it to have features that draw people to it in certain areas. Maybe more seating areas. Areas that contain a feature that would draw people to a certain part of the park, for instance, rather than just trying to do it through the whole park,” he said.
“We’d like to do something really well in small areas rather than something not so good in a larger area,” added Evans who thinks it has the potential to be a flagship park because of its beautiful location.
”I think it has a lot of potential and I think we want to try and maximize that potential,” said Evans of the area that follows the Fraser River from Bonson Road all the way to Harris Road.
But the biggest project for 2019 will be the parks master plan.
”This will be in consultation with the public, it has to be, to get some direction of where we are going to go for the next maybe ten years, for instance, if we wanted to use that as a time frame,” explained Evans adding that the parks department in Pitt Meadows is really new.
They only took over from the City of Maple Ridge, which was under contract to maintain the sports fields in Pitt Meadows, last October.
“We are learning a lot as we move along. I think it’s one of things that takes time to fully understand what it is you are doing and how you are doing it. So there are challenges there, no question,” said Evans.
That’s why the master plan is so important.
“In order to build a building you need the foundation. As a parks department we need a foundation and a plan to give us direction to what we are supposed to be doing,” said Evans.
He expects the plan to finished by the end of the third quarter, mid fourth quarter in 2019.
Furthermore, Onni Group Development has offered 13 acres of green space, including eight acres of parkland and five acres of an enhanced trail network, as part of the development of the phases 3 and 4 of the Golden Ears Business Park.
The city estimates the value of the contribution to be $22.5 million and sought public civic input for the eight acres of recreational space that will be located just west of the Pitt Meadows Arenas and athletic fields.
The new trail system would run from Fraser Way north along the edge of the existing housing development, across Airport Way and between the existing athletic fields, through a portion of the business park before hitting the new city land areas.
The eight-acre park is to be located on the land immediately west of the Pitt Meadows Arena and athletic fields.
– with files from Brandon Tucker