The 'Y' coming to Burquitlam

The Tong Louie Family YMCA in Surrey is an example of the kind of facility expected to be built in Burquitlam by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver in 2017. - YMCA OF GREATER VANCOUVER
The Tong Louie Family YMCA in Surrey is an example of the kind of facility expected to be built in Burquitlam by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver in 2017.

Burquitlam will be getting a new YMCA community centre, The Tri-City News has learned.

Yesterday, the social services agency revealed it had narrowed its sights to the area of Como Lake Avenue and Clarke Road, close to where the Evergreen Line station will be built.

John Woolgar, the YMCA of Greater Vancouver's general manager of facility development who is responsible for facilitating YMCAs in new communities such as Coquitlam, told The News on Thursday that the organization expects to have a site confirmed by next year.

Its proposal is for a 60,000 sq. ft. full-service centre with two pools — including a warm water tank for lessons — change rooms, a fitness section, cafe and meeting spaces for its public programs. And "if everything works out well," he said, it would be open in 2017.

Woolgar said the "Y" would tailor the building and its programs to the community's needs. "[Residents] will be able to utilize many of the services the YMCA has to offer," he said, noting an example of what it plans to build can be seen in Surrey at the Tong Louie YMCA.

Though details have yet to be worked out with the city, it is expected they would split the construction costs, upwards of $40 million in total. (A call to Raul Allueva, Coquitlam's acting general manager of parks and recreation, was not returned by our print deadline.)

The city funding portion would come from Community Amenities Contributions (CAC) from developers who are building new multi-family homes around the Burquitlam and Lougheed Evergreen Line stations. CACs were put into place two years ago by city council, specifically to pay for new public amenities — like a community centre — in the gentrifying neighbourhood; it is expected CAC fees will generate up to $25 million over the build-out.

Woolgar said Burquitlam was chosen because of the future area growth; North Road and Austin Avenue was also considered but didn't fare as well in market research, he said.

In 2012, the city offered $20,000 to the "Y" for a market study to look at best sites in Coquitlam for a new hub, with Burke Mountain and Maillardville also on the table.

Currently, the YMCA runs a childcare resource and referral program on Austin Avenue.

The YMCA has 170 program sites in the Lower Mainland, costing $35 million a year. Recently, it developed a strategic plan to expand its programs over the next decade.

In 2011, the YWCA of Metro Vancouver and the B.C. government opened Como Lake Gardens — a four-storey building at 528 Como Lake Ave. — for single moms and their children; the land for the affordable housing project was donated by the city.





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