Brett Steeves, with Hammond Compassion club, has said he’s applying for retail recreational marijuana licence under new provincial regulations. (THE NEWS/files)

Rec pot passed, new fire hall too

Maple Ridge council OKs two big projects at final meeting

Maple Ridge’s outgoing council signed, sealed and delivered two major parts of its legacy at its last meeting Tuesday, Oct. 16, just days before Saturday’s civic election.

Council gave final reading to zoning changes allowing retail pot shops in commercial zones, subject to a minimum of a kilometre distance between each store.

Bylaws manager Robin MacNair told council that three applications to open retail recreational marijuana stores in Maple Ridge have been received, but those applications also need still provincial approval.

Recreational marijuana became legal across Canada on Oct. 17.

Couns. Gordy Robson and Craig Speirs were concerned about a lack of medicinal marijuana in case there was a complete strike at Canada Post. So far, only rotating strikes are taking place.

Council also gave its stamp of approval to get the new Maple Ridge Fire Rescue Hall No. 4 and Training Centre underway. A zoning bylaw was approved and council gave the final OK to bylaw changes and approval for the construction contract for the project.

Yellowridge Construction was awarded the contract for $15 million.

Fire chief Howard Exner said discussion first started about the project in 1996.

“It’s been a project for a long time.”

The new hall will go on a 10-acre site at 112th Avenue and 238th Street, in the fast-growing north Albion neighbourhood.

Part of the construction cost, $6 million, has previously been approved for borrowing and will be paid off through the fire department capital acquisition reserve.

A lump sum of $8.6 million will be paid directly from that same reserve, while $388,000 will come from the city’s capital works reserve.

A new firefighter training centre, as well as a computer server room for the city’s information technology will be part of the project, which is part of the earthquake resistant building.

“It’s very nice to see this and I’m very pleased we get to do this final piece,” said Coun. Bob Masse.

Speirs, who was defeated Saturday in his bid for mayor, said the project has been 10 years in the making and it was awesome for the current council to approve the project.

Council unanimously approved the project.

“Motion to adjourn this final meeting. We are adjourned. Thank you to staff,” said Mayor Nicole Read.

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