Maple Ridge could have more playing fields if voters agree. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge could have more playing fields if voters agree. (THE NEWS/files)

Time to sign your name if you don’t like Maple Ridge rec plans

Counter-petition process now underway

The city’s alternative approval process is now underway, allowing taxpayers to vote no to borrowing money for any of the recreation projects the city wants to build in the next few years.

If you don’t agree with one particular project, you can sign your name against it by Feb. 19.

If 10 per cent of Maple Ridge electors feel the same way, council would have to take that particular borrowing bylaw to an actual referendum before proceeding.

In all, the city wants to borrow $49.5 million requiring a total tax increase to fund all eight projects of .35 per cent each year, for the next seven years.

After that period, people would be paying, an average, of an extra $60 a year on their property taxes.

People who want to sign against any or all of the projects have to ask for a form at city hall reception, sign it, then return it to the front desk.

Forms can also be printed out from the city website, but they still must be delivered in hard copy to the city.

The city wants to build eight projects, at what cost, providing a bylaw for that project is approved:

• $3.5 million, leisure centre – for the balance of the lobby and changeroom upgrades to the 37-year-old Maple Ridge Leisure Centre (the major renovations to that facility will cost about $6 million, but tenders have yet to out soliticing bids for the larger project);

• $7 million, all-weather sports fields – installation of two artificial, all-weather fields at Thomas Haney secondary and Telosky Stadium grounds;

• $8.5 million, Albion Community Centre – the new building will share the same site with the new elementary school on 104th Avenue, replacing the former Albion Hall that was torn down several years ago;

• $1 million, Silver Valley gathering places – the city wants to build two parkettes in the northern suburb that would allow community barbecues, gardening and gatherings;

• $2.5 million, Hammond Community Centre – renovations are planned for the 40-year-old building;

• $1 million, Whonnock Lake canoe and kayak facility – improve boat storage and access to lake;

• $2.5 million, Maple Ridge secondary track – better lighting, seating, and change rooms, will complement the new Karina Leblanc Field, now underway, next to the school;

• $23.5 million, new arena, Planet Ice – many details remain to be worked out on this project.

An outdoor pool on 232nd Street, west of Thomas Haney secondary, had also been considered, but was left off the list because there wasn’t enough information.

Council may, however, proceed with a separate process for that if it also decides later to build an outdoor pool.

Consultations are also underway for building an indoor pool somewhere in Maple Ridge.