Former Olympian Karina LeBlanc speaks to a crowd of friends and soccer fans at Merkley Park, where a new synthetic turf field is being built and will be named in her honour. (THE NEWS/files)

News Views: Look ahead

This time of year is a chance to look back on the past 12 months.

This time of year – with New Year’s and Christmas in the rear-view– often serves as one of reflection – a chance to look back on the past 12 months, revel in our accomplishments, and review our missteps.

It’s been a tumultuous year on the world front – led by terror attacks, natural disasters and a Twitter-happy U.S. president – and locally, there has also been much to take note of and debate.

Most prominent was discussion around housing for the homeless.

After then-Liberal MLAs Marc Dalton and Doug Bing failed to put forward a suitable location for a proposed $15 million supportive housing and emergency shelter complex, they lost their re-election bids in the spring, and NDP candidates were ushered in to replace them in both local ridings.

Anita Place Tent City popped up around the same time and remains at the foot of 223rd Street, while the old Sleep Shop building reopened, after closing in May, as a warm place to sleep on sub-zero nights.

With municipal elections coming in the fall of 2018, we once again put forth the suggestion that all levels of government come forward and tell the public what needs to occur for an amicable solution to this ongoing situation.

Maple Ridge needs to move forward.

And not just with housing for the homeless.

The city needs to go to the public and find out what new recreation facilities residents are willing to pay for.

It’s now been more than three years since discussions began about renovating the Leisure Centre, and the pool is still leaking water.

Construction has started on a new field at Merkley Park, to be named after Olympian Karina LeBlanc, and more are planned.

Early in 2018, Maple Ridge voters are supposed to vote, or not, against the city borrowing money for recreation facilities, including an extra sheet of ice, synthetic fields at Telosky Stadium and a community centre in Albion, among others.

That’s the plan.

But so was building a new outdoor pool, and renovating the Leisure Centre, not to mention building a new curling rink, indoor track, and a new cultural centre.

Maybe one day we’ll get there.

That is our hope, that members of Maple Ridge council can put their differences aside, co-operate and make some decisions that benefit all of Maple Ridge.

Building a new outdoor pool near Thomas Haney secondary, as was discussed, would be a good start.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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