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COVID-19, climate change and supply chain challenges put pressure on major Coquitlam parks projects

Coquitlam parks GM Lanny Englund said the pandemic, weather and geopolitical impacts that paused some city projects and sent costs soaring "were not predicted even by experts in the field."
Town Centre Park flooding
Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam's Town Centre Park flooded over the pathways last November.

Two years of "unprecedented challenges" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and supply chain demands have put pressure on capital projects in Coquitlam.

Still, the city managed to start and complete 14 major parks and facilities projects in 2021–22, totalling $160 million in city investment including a partnership with the YMCA.

On Monday (May 30), council-in-committee got its annual update from the department’s general manager on the current construction program by the city’s capital projects and facilities group.

And Lanny England said the pandemic, weather and geopolitical impacts that paused some city projects and sent costs soaring "were not predicted even by experts in the field."

"Staff continue to do their due diligence when working with consultants and contractors to minimize cost escalations and delivery delays as they work towards delivering projects that meet the community’s needs and the high standards the City of Coquitlam is known for delivering to the community," Englund said.

Here are the most recent projects the city checked off:

  • Buchanan Square at city hall, membrane work (2021) and plaza amenities (May 2022)
  • Cottonwood Park Phase 1B, sports court, parkour area, ball diamond and playing fields (March 2022)
  • Town Centre Fire Training Tower (March 2022)
  • Centennial Artificial Turf Field, by Centennial Secondary (March 2022)
  • Town Centre Park washroom, by Evergreen Cultural Centre (December 2021)
  • Burke Mountain Discovery Centre and Coffee Shop (November 2021)
  • City Centre Aquatic Complex, renovation and expansion of fitness area (October 2021)
  • Poirier Arena 3, change room expansion (July 2021)

As well, the city’s Parks Infrastructure Team also finished six major projects over the past year:

  • Mundy Park playground, replacement including turf and irrigation updates
  • Nestor Park, forest playground elements, new pathways and furnishings, and site drainage
  • Hickey Park Phase 1, a new tennis court surfacing, fencing, LED lighting and electrical updates
  • Durant Linear Park, staircase replaced with concrete
  • Panorama Park, pedestrian bridge replacement
  • Pop-up parks, in City Centre, Burquitlam and Austin Heights

Scott Groves, Coquitlam’s director of capital projects and facilities, reiterated Englund’s comments about project setbacks due to workplace health, as well as environmental and international forces.

"We had quite the year. It’s been interesting delivering projects during this time," he told council.

"We have continued to do our best and bring projects on budget. Some of them we definitely had struggles with schedule. We have to find ways to do things better as we move forward."

Meanwhile, both city teams also have a total of 17 major capital projects on the go.

Among them, the new Burquitlam YMCA, of which the city is a partner, is set to open this fall. As well, the pop-up park in Burquitlam is also due to return this week by the SkyTrain station.

Asked by Coun. Teri Towner about the noise from the City Centre pop-up park last year, Wendy Wiederick, parks operation manager, said the city had no complaints once a security company patrolled the area after 10:30 p.m.; security will be on site again this year, she said.