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New Coquitlam rec hub moving ahead despite possible cash crunch

Architectural and archaeological consultants are being sought to build the Northeast Community Centre on Coquitlam's Burke Mountain.

An architect is needed to dream up Coquitlam’s new recreation hub on Burke Mountain.

Today, March 26, the city issued a modified request for proposals for bidders to design the Northeast Community Centre — a three-storey facility with a 20 m drop from Princeton Avenue to Burke Village Promenade, on the eastern side of the mountain.

Scheduled to be built by late 2027, the $147.9-million rec complex and adjoining $14.2-million Burke Village Park will serve as anchors for Burke Mountain Village, the commercial district in the Partington Creek neighbourhood.

According to the design bid, the municipality is looking for an architectural team with a proven track record in recent civic facilities that are now operational.

Specifically, the city is searching for a team with skills in designing on a site that has clear views of Mount Baker, but also has steep terrain and currently has watercourse headwaters (due to be relocated).

Among the centre’s amenities will be:

  • a six-lane lap pool
    • smaller than the Poirier tank, with a whirlpool, steam room, sauna and change facilities
  • a library branch
    • based on Richmond Public Library, at 13,481 sq. ft.
  • a 41,964 sq. ft. community centre
    • with a 12,000 sq. ft. double gym, a fitness room, a community kitchen and multi-purpose rooms

This month, Lanny Englund, Coquitlam’s general manager of parks, recreation, culture and facilities, told elected officials that Turnbull Construction was hired last fall to manage the capital project, which will be delivered via a "Construction Management at Risk" model for cost efficiency.

Turnbull's past commissions include:

In addition, the city is also looking for an archaeological consultant as the rec centre would be on traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of two First Nations.

Once the architect is on board, a construction manager will be recruited during the pre-construction phase; site works for civil, excavation, erosion and sediment control will happen next year, Englund said.

Money problems

Both the rec centre and adjacent park are expected to be funded by current and future development revenues; however, Englund warned, those sources may be at risk due to the recent changes in provincial housing legislation.

If density bonusing and community amenity contributions can’t be used for capital projects in the future, the city could pay for the rec centre by borrowing internally or through the Municipal Finance Authority.

“There’s definitely going to be a financial issue with this project that we weren’t anticipating,” Coun. Craig Hodge lamented.