A new arena at Planet Ice has been costed out at $23.5 million. (Contributed)

A new arena at Planet Ice has been costed out at $23.5 million. (Contributed)

Refresher for recreation re-do in Ridge

New council gets update on $49.5 million in projects

Maple Ridge’s new council got a refresher last week on the multi-million-dollar recreation re-do that will bring new playing fields, mini-parks and a fresh sheet of ice to the city, at a borrowing cost of $49.5 million.

As to whether the city will have to go to the bank for that full amount depends on the arrangement worked out between the city and RG Properties, which owns Planet Ice.

The recreation upgrade includes borrowing $23.5 million to build a new arena next to the existing Planet Ice facility. But the exact kind of arrangement that will be worked out between the city and RG Properties remains a complex work in progress.

Recreation general manager Kelly Swift said that the city and RG Properties are looking at range of options, any of which must fit in with the existing agreement – where the City of Maple Ridge buys ice time for minor sports from RG Properties’ existing arenas.

“We’re still in discussions right now,” she said Tuesday, adding an update will go to council in a few weeks.

“There’s an existing agreement in place, so there are some obligations attached to that existing agreement.”

Coun. Gordy Robson said one possibility is that RG Properties could just build the new arena, and lease the ice out to the city, as it does with the other two ice sheets.

“I think that’s one of the avenues being negotiated,” Robson said.

Other sources of cash could incrementally reduce the city’s total borrowing tally.

Chief financial officer Trevor Thompson told council on Nov. 27 that community amenity charges could reduce the amount borrowed for recreation projects.

The city, in 2016, introduced community amenity charges, years after most cities, that asks developers to pay an additional flat fee for every new home built.

To build a condo, for example, a developer would have to pay an extra $3,100. Such charges have already raised $5.5 million for city coffers.

Robson added the community amenity charges are a “fundamental change” for the city.

“This change we’ve made is going to allow us to continue on with projects like this,” he said.

He added that other revenue sources could help with the costs as the facilities are built.

“We’re not committed to that borrowing at this stage, unless we need it to complete the projects,” Robson said.

The city got the OK last February to borrow $49.5 million for: a new arena at Planet Ice in the Albion flats at a cost of $23.5 million; a new Albion community centre, $8.5 million; two all-weather fields next to Thomas Haney secondary, $7 million; lobby and change room re-dos at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, $3.5 million; upgrades to Hammond Community Centre and Maple Ridge secondary track, at $2.5 million each; two mini-parks in Silver Valley, $1 million; and improvements to the Whonnock Lake canoe and kayak facility, $1 million.

Taxpayers approval came via the alternative approval process, as part of which at least 10 per cent of voters have to oppose a project in order to defeat it.

To pay for the borrowing, homeowners will see their property taxes jump yearly by .35 per cent a year, for seven years, to pay for a recreation improvement levy.

Seven years of cumulative increases of .35 each year, will add up to another $60 a year for the average home at the end of that period.

Parks manager Valoree Richmond told council that improvements to the Maple Ridge secondary track and the Whonnock Lake kayak and canoe facility are two priorities in order to prepare for when Maple Ridge hosts the 2020 B.C. Summer Games.

Installing lights at the track, next to the new Karina LeBlanc Field, will allow people to use the track at night, during the winter.

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

 

Renovations underway at Maple Ridge Leisure Centre. (Contributed)

Renovations underway at Maple Ridge Leisure Centre. (Contributed)

Just Posted

Ken Dockendorf is rallying opposition to the changes to high school sports governance. (The News files)
Maple Ridge coaches oppose changes to high school sports governance

Vote coming on May 1 could change varsity sports across B.C.

Students in Garibaldi secondary’s music program rehearse for Swing into Spring. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge high school adding a spring to their step

Swing into Spring concert to raise money for the Garibaldi secondary’s music program

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of Maple Ridge man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge still driving more, taking transit less

A sign to students outside Pitt Meadows secondary. The school is not currently listed by Fraser Health as having COVID-19 exposures. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Four more Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows schools exposed to COVID-19

Cases at three public schools and Maple Ridge Christian

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read