In-depth exploration of a YMCA partnership in building a new pool is a priority for me. Other cities, including Vancouver, Coquitlam and Chilliwack are saving taxpayers millions on state of the art facilities that deliver health, fitness and aquatic programs, education and training, child care, employment services and a long list of benefits that build community.
You may not know this, but we are 50% stakeholders in the Pitt Meadows airport. Already the fourth busiest airport in Greater Vancouver and an important aviation business centre, Pitt Meadows Regional Airport is on its way to providing increased access to our two communities. Maple Ridge must continue to use its seat at the table to push forward with airport expansion that supports existing charter services and eventually, small aircraft commercial service.
Council addressed the acute shortage of minor sports fields this term with new field construction, re-development and upgrades to numerous existing fields. It’s a great start but we need to move forward with a comprehensive plan for field development long term if we are going to keep pace with population growth and satisfy the needs of minor sports and adult users. Done right, we will go beyond our mandate to provide facilities for kids, we’ll be investing in our future as a sports tourism hub with spin-off for local business.
I am against mobility pricing as proposed by TransLink. At its essence, it says: The further you travel, the more bridges you cross, the more roads you use, the more you have to pay for the privilege of driving. How this is going to benefit the citizens of Maple Ridge is beyond comprehension. Estimates project citizens would pay an additional $3 to $8 per day for mobility pricing. Taxpayers have enough hands in their wallets without this add-on expense.
For 20 years we’ve been trying to resolve Albion—-plan after plan lays gathering dust in city vaults. I’ve always said the area must be planned as a whole and incorporate future transportation needs, space for light rapid transit and other future essentials. We should also factor in the fairgrounds, existing sports infrastructure and citizens’ desires for more shopping and commercial diversification. The city is halfway through the planning process on this with a new Albion plan set to be delivered to the new council within months. Let’s get it right.
Internet shopping and the challenge of deep-discount warehouse shops are signalling “its closing time” for traditional shopping malls. Locally, that’s presenting with decreased demand for retail/commercial space. We have to follow the market. Think of specialty shops intermingled with medical and government services, buying groceries while your child is at gymnastic class upstairs. Later, you’ll walk to grandparents living in a neighbouring condo. Sports fields and the fairgrounds play right into this. The mix will us to create more jobs, more entertainment and more options.
We lose more people on the Bypass than anywhere else in the city. That’s why, in our negotiations with senior government to fund the $100 million project, we’ve insisted the bypass be brought up to provincial standards. As part of phase one, the city engineering department is currently working with senior government to design the intersection at 222nd. We want this done right with a permanent fix and if that means moving the Salvation Army, I’ll welcome it. It will be the new council’s job to ensure we get what we want and need.
More than 30 years ago I began battling BC Hydro to restore flow to the Alouette River to protect this vital fish-bearing river, ultimately joining forces with environmentalists Geoff Clayton and Tom Cadieux to form the Alouette River Management Society; A new Alouette River Ecosystem Partnership was recently signed in Maple Ridge to restore salmon runs and ecosystem damage created by the damming and alteration of the Alouette River on the traditional lands of the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations over the past century.
Establishing a transportation route to our industrial lands at 256 Street and being ready when Dewdney Trunk Road hits capacity are obligations we must fulfill with expansion of the Abernathy Way. Right now, the area between 232 to 240 has advanced to the construction planning stage and we’re in the process of designing where the route should go between 240 to 256. Among other benefits: the Abernathy expansion will relieve congestion at 232 and Dewdney.