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Coquitlam to hear from European, American pros on building big rec centres

Next month, Coquitlam city staff will get some tips for its draft road map when the municipality hosts an international lecture series on rec centre innovation.
Investment in major recreation and culture facilities is top of mind in Coquitlam as city staff prepare a road map for future building and renovations; the draft road map will go before city council this summer for consideration.

What’s the future for the City Centre Aquatic Complex, the Evergreen Culture Centre and other big recreation centres in Coquitlam?

That’s what city staff are figuring out as they prepare a road map that will guide council decisions for rec hubs over the next 50 years.

And, next month, they’ll have some valuable help when the municipality hosts an international lecture series on rec centre innovation.

In partnership with the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS), the city will see a panel of planners, designers and managers of rec centres talk about best practices for building world-class community destinations:

  • Aquatics, June 2: Panelists Darryl Condon, HCMA Architecture (Vancouver); Ernst-Ulrich Tillmanns, 4A Architekten GmbH (Stuttgart); and Mike Hall, FaulknerBrowns (Newcastle upon Tyne)
  • Sports, June 9: Panelists Colleen McKenna, CannonDesign (Boston); Esben Danielsen (Copenhagen); and Harald Fux, Raumkunst ZT LLC (Vienna)
  • Ice arenas, June 16: Panelists James McLaughlin (Calgary); Jim Kalvelage, Opsis Architecture (Portland); and Viktors Jaunkalns, MJMA Architects (Toronto)
  • Youth and seniors, June 23: Panelists John Martinez, (Denver); Katie Barnes, Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture (Denver); and Laura Kristine, Bjerre Munch Realdania (Copenhagen)

All lectures run for an hour, from 8 to 9 a.m., and registration is required to watch the live online presentations, which will be recorded (videos can be seen later via The events will also have an American Sign Language interpreter.

Tiina Mack, Coquitlam’s manager of recreation and culture facility planning, who is facilitating the meetings with Conrad Boychuk, an IAKA board member, said the Zoom sessions are open to anyone wanting to hear about the latest trends.

For example, in Europe, parts of rec facilities are being converted for spas and, in Denmark, warehouses are turning into rec buildings. Program diversity and inclusivity are also high and, in the Pacific Northwest, there’s a demand for new aquatic experiences. 

And then there’s the pandemic impact to consider as more residents want to get outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and socially distance from other people.

Mack said city staff will take the input from the series and consider where Coquitlam could model — from the examples shown — for its draft road map. She cited the Northeast Coquitlam and Fraser Mills community centres and the Innovation and Spani Pool revamps as contenders where cutting-edge designs, amenities and programs could be added.


Meanwhile, the proposed Major Recreation and Cultural Facilities Road Map will be presented to council this summer for consideration; the visioning document will also give more details about upcoming schedules and costs to build, staff and run the centres.

Among the 25 on the list for new construction or updates are the: 

  • Poirier Community Centre, built in 1966
  • Mackin House, built in 1912 and renovated in 1993
  • Eagle Ridge and Spani outdoor pools, built in 1970
  • Gilley’s Trail sports complex, on the books for 2030
  • an expanded civic theatre

To register for the lecture series in June, visit