Pitt Meadows recreation department in budget

While Pitt Meadows crunches its budget numbers this week, Coun. Dave Murray says the smaller city will survive the break-up of ...

While Pitt Meadows crunches its budget numbers this week, Coun. Dave Murray says the smaller city will survive the break-up of its recreation partnership with Maple Ridge, and may even save a few dollars.

“It’s kind of exciting. It’s a great opportunity for our city to reach out to our citizens and listen to the kind of programs that they want to have.”

Pitt Meadows council is considering a proposal for a 3.45-per-cent property tax increase, or about another $61 per home.

The city’s business plan presentations took place on Wednesday and Thursday with council resuming discussions in January.

“We are going through line by budget line,” Murray said. “There are lots of things we can look at. We want to make sure that we don’t cut things that will be detrimental to our city. There will be very little waste after we go through this budget.”

While the split in recreation services takes place Nov. 1, 2016.

Murray’s not worried about the consequences.

“I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape. The arena’s just been upgraded, we have a brand community centre in Bonson … we’ve got probably one of the finest weight rooms [the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre] in the entire Fraser Valley and we have the heritage [Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall] building.”

Pitt Meadows also has three sheets of ice.

“So we’re in really good shape that way.”

Murray also noted that Pitt Meadows will no longer have to pay for recreation administration salaries in Maple Ridge.

“It could wind up being actually very advantageous.”

Pitt Meadows pays about $2.2 million yearly towards parks and recreation and he said a lot of that goes towards administration under the recreation partnership.

Another recent change might help the Pitt Meadows budget and taxpayer.

If the city signs a deal with Multi Materials B.C., which in turn could hire a contractor to collect recyclables, Pitt Meadows could save another $225,000 a year.

The city is also seeking bids from companies for collection of green waste and garbage.

However, the fees for garbage collection will remain the same in 2016 – $253 a year for single-family homes and condo complexes with garbage pickup, and $10 a year for multi-family home with central garbage collection.

Part of the 3.45-per-cent property tax hike includes about a half-per-cent hike for the city’s new environmental stewardship service.

Another one per cent of the 3.45 per cent is to be socked away in a Pitt Meadows building replacement reserve fund.

Meanwhile, the $40,000 earmarked for a consultant to advise on building a new parks and recreation department may be closer to $25,000. But Murray said that money would be better spent as part of the salary for a new recreation director.

Murray was surprised by Maple Ridge’s decision in October to give a year’s notice that it was severing the 21-year partnership, in which the two cities shared recreation operating costs.

“I would have preferred to have a meeting with them, sat down with them, council to council, face to face.”

What it comes down to is, Maple Ridge is expanding east, putting its facilities farther from Pitt Meadows users.

“The timing was good,” to end the deal, he added.

The actual costs for Pitt Meadows to operate its own recreation department will be included in next year’s budget.

Pitt Meadows is also discussing recreation sharing with other cities, though there are no deals imminent.

He said Pitt Meadows is still partnering with Maple Ridge on many issues.

“We’ll meet with Maple Ridge any time, any place over any topic.”

 

Just Posted

The Asante Centre in Maple Ridge gets a boost from the CMA

A $20,000 grant was awarded for the centre’s FASD peer mentorship program

Letter: Time change has outlived its usefulness

More negative effects on people and communities then positive ones

Rotary duck race winners given sports car

First big win for Maple Ridge mother of three boys Jody Makela

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Burrards lose to Shamrocks in double overtime

WLA championship series moves to Maple Ridge Sunday

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read