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Port Coquitlam's Leigh Square upgrade to have 'unique' curtain water feature

Construction will begin this summer to upgrade Leigh Square to create a more open festival space and plaza.

A financial windfall from the B.C. government surplus, COVID-19 recovery cash and other grants is helping Port Coquitlam deliver $11.85 million in downtown improvements.

With Veterans Park now open, construction is about to start on an upgrade to Leigh Square, expected to take a year while an extension of the Donald Pathway from Wilson to McAllister Avenue is also in the plans.

Josh Frederick, director of public works and engineering, confirmed that Wilco Civil Inc. will be the contractor for the Leigh Square project, which will start construction in August.

Meanwhile, the city is touting shrewd management of capital projects to finish the downtown revitalization project amidst escalating construction costs.

The city will use $3.32 million of its $9.4-million Growing Communities Fund from provincial surpluses to help pay for the project, as well accumulated surplus funds (largely resulting from provincial COVID-19 restart grants).

Federal, Translink, and funds from other external sources, also helped pay for the project.

As a result, PoCo taxpayers are only on the hook for about $360,000, according to a news release.

The Leigh Square work will involve removing the existing fountain and bandstand, but a new stage will be built close to city hall.

When complete, the outdoor site will have fully accessible pathways and surfacing, clear sight lines and improved lighting for improved safety at all hours, and new seating.

A highlight is expected to be a large, unique, interactive curtain style fountain/water play feature that is programmable, and includes programmable lighting, as well.

"There is nothing similar to it in all of western Canada," Frederick said in an email.

In a release issued this week, Mayor Brad West said the project is a major upgrade that will make the area more usable for relaxing and as a gathering space.

“It’s exciting to see tangible progress on this project, which builds on the work we’ve been doing to support livability and economic development in our downtown," West said.

"Throughout our Civic Centre upgrades, we’re remaining true to our vision of the downtown as a safe, welcoming and thriving hub that attracts visitors and residents."

Regular communication

Meanwhile, plans are in the works to deal with impacts from construction.

Here's what's happening:

  • Terry Fox Hometown Square next to PCCC off Mary Hill Road and Kelly Avenue will continue to be the location for city events.
  • Efforts to identify and mitigate impacts from the construction project, including access and parking, are ongoing with details to be provided to those who live, work and visit downtown prior to the start of construction.
  • Regular updates will also be provided throughout the construction timeline.

"The city is committed to working closely with the contractor to minimize impacts as much as possible," the news release states.