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Pool, library and gyms planned for new $115M rec centre on Coquitlam's Burke Mountain

Burke Mountain will get a community centre in 2026, but it’ll cost Coquitlam homeowners at least another five per cent on their property tax bills to operate the facility.

Burke Mountain will get a community centre in 2026.

But it’ll cost Coquitlam homeowners at least another five per cent on their property tax bills to operate the new facility.

On Monday (Oct. 18), the city’s council-in-committee heard about the $115.1-million plan to construct the Northeast Community Centre next to Burke Mountain Village, the commercial core for the mountain’s future 50,000 residents.

The proposed site fit concept for the new 80,000 sq-ft. rec centre calls for 

  • 27,000 sq. ft. of aquatics (separate leisure and four-lane lap pools; a whirlpool, sauna and steam room; and a multi-purpose room)
  • 42,000 sq. ft. for the community centre (two gyms; four multi-purpose rooms; a community kitchen, fitness rooms, a sensory room, and washroom and change facilities; a maker space; and a walking/running loop)
  • 340 parking stalls (half of which will be covered)

As well, the city is earmarking 10,000 sq. ft. for a third branch of the Coquitlam Public Library — to be confirmed in the Library Services and Spaces Study, and adding another one per cent to the property tax bill to operate — plus 1,000 sq. ft. for a covered outdoor space.

Still, a community police station and licensed childcare area aren’t part of the plan; however, there will be room to add an ice rink in future years.

In addition, the city plans to spend $12 million on an adjacent 3.6-acre park and plaza to be built in tandem with the rec centre, as they will share programming and access.

The cost to run the rec centre is estimated at $8 million a year and includes a $4.2-million contribution toward asset replacement. 

Tiina Mack, Coquitlam’s manager of recreation and culture facility planning, told council that city staff will reach out to residents and stakeholders in November for another round of consultations. Last year, the city heard from some 1,000 people about the draft rec centre plans.

Council will get another report early in the new year about the feedback before the detailed design work begins, Mack said. 

And, if approved, construction is due to start in 2023 to ensure the budget is met, as labour and materials expenses are projected to rise about six per cent per year, she cautioned.

At about half the size of the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, the Northeast Community Centre will serve the current 15,000 residents on Burke Mountain, as well as relieve pressure at the City Centre Aquatic Complex that’s now at capacity. 

“This is not just for Burke Mountain. It’s a regional community centre,” Coun. Craig Hodge said. 

With a 20 m elevation drop from Princeton Avenue to Burke Village Promenade, the three-storey facility will also have panoramic views of the Fraser Valley and Mount Baker, in Washington State, said Curtis Scott, Coquitlam’s manager of land development/city lands, during a site tour with Mack and the Tri-City News last week.

“This will be the anchor for the Burke Mountain Village,” Scott said. “We’ve been waiting for the rec centre to start so we can get going with the commercial core.”

(Built to the west of the rec centre, the 39-acre Village is poised to be a pedestrian- and cycling-oriented hub with 120,000 sq. ft of retail at the base and 2,000 multi-family units above — similar to the River District in South Vancouver, Scott said, adding that the City of Coquitlam owns all the Village land.)

While Hodge suggested the Northeast Community Centre be designed to include the sloped features (i.e., upper slides for the pool, like at the nearby Queenston Park), Coun. Brent Asmundson recommended that city staff lose the atrium in the design; he also wants the city to add a third gym to the facility.

Several councillors also pressed for city staff to include a licensed childcare space, as Coquitlam is now developing a childcare strategy to be brought forward to council this fall.

Coun. Chris Wilson said the District of Oak Bay, for example, includes childcare in its community centre and its staff teach the kids how to swim and skate there.

Coun. Steve Kim said also he looks forward to the multicultural cuisine in the community kitchen, as well as the public art.

“This is a great investment for the city and our residents,” he said. “I see this as a long-term investment.”

Still, Coun. Dennis Marsden said he’ll be watching the project budget, which started at $80 million two years ago.

As for the phased-in tax hikes that are proposed, “I want to see as much transparency as possible,” Marsden told city staff.


Here’s what’s on Coquitlam’s books for recreation facilities: