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)

Just Posted

13 productions shooting in Maple Ridge this month alone

Maple Ridge was one of the first Lower Mainland municipalities to welcome back film crews

ON COOKING: Chef Dez offers help in the kitchen during a pandemic

COVID-19 has more people at home and spending time in the kitchen

NETWORKING: Cultural competency is crtical in Maple Ridge, too

VIDEO: In response to Black Lives Matter, the CN Network conducted a number of local interview

Flames will start new season based in Abbotsford

Junior B team could not find ice in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows

LETTER: Glad to say goodbye to CERB for local drug users

Reader feels COVID subsidy contributed to more overdose deaths among Maple Ridge homeless

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police investigating shooting in North Delta

Police say occupants of two vehicles exchanged gunfire near 120th Street and 82nd Avenue

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

TransLink CEO asks riders not to enforce mask rules after Surrey bus punch-up

A fight broke out on a bus at 96 Avenue and Scott Road involving a man who refused to wear a mask

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Most Read