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Port Moody will explore teaming with a developer to build a new Kyle Centre

The city will determine how much it's going to cost to repair Kyle Centre as it awaits proposals to build a new one.
Port Moody's 44-year--old Kyle Centre has fallen into disrepair, with tarps covering its roof and siding falling off.

Port Moody will solicit expressions of interest from developers to build the city a new Kyle Centre, along with seniors housing.

Although Mayor Rob Vagramov says such a project will also likely come with market housing in a three- to six-storey development and could take five to 10 years to be realized.

In the meantime, staff is going to determine current costs for repairs to the existing community facility that’s fallen into disrepair with tarps covering sections of the roof and deteriorating siding among several problems identified in a 2020 assessment by a Burnaby engineering company. They’ll also put together estimates for various options of repair.

Tuesday, Coun. Steve Milani pitched his idea the city spend $2.5 million to make the necessary repairs and consider design modifications that would allow the 44-year-old centre to be expanded by 10,000 sq. ft. in the future.

He said Kyle Centre has been “left to fend for itself far too long. It’s crying out for help.”

Milani said while another study in 2013 determined the centre is structurally and functionally sound, years of inattention to its upkeep has exacted a toll on its exterior, such as failing skylights, corroded doors and a storage room that’s leaking so badly it’s been sealed off as a safety hazard.

Meanwhile, he added, demand for community space in the surrounding Moody Centre neighbourhood is only growing as new housing is built.

But several councillors expressed concern the estimated $2.5 million repair bill cited by the 2020 study is already out of date as costs of construction and materials have soared since.

“This has been postponed for a long time, but if we’re going to go ahead we need some cost certainty,” said Coun. Zoe Royer.

Coun. Hunter Madsen said with a “few million of investment” to repair the building now, it could continue to serve the community for years to come, or become the core of any refurbishment and expansion.

“I’m not prepared to look at the neglect of that building for another year,” he said. “We have to stop treating it like something that has got to go.”

But Coun. Diana Dilworth said the city should proceed cautiously, especially if a developer comes forward with a plan that includes a new facility.

“I would support some outer repairs and roof repairs until we can talk further about other potential opportunities,” she said. “We have an opportunity to leverage that land.”

Coun. Meghan Lahti agreed.

“Moody Centre deserves a vibrant new centre, but they also deserve a Kyle Centre that works now and for the future.”

But, she added, “We need to make sure the building is usable in the interim.”

Milani said time is of the essence.

“We’re almost a year past the cut-off date when things should have been done,” he said, referring to recommendations in the 2020 engineering report.

“The urgency is before the weather gets bad. Let’s get a roof up.”

City manager Tim Savoie said staff will report back to council as soon as possible with an estimate of what it will cost to get an updated price for the needed repairs, then go from there.

In the meantime, said Vagramov, the city will see what private developers might be able to bring to the table.

“I doubt the longterm future of Kyle Centre includes the building that’s there today.”

Two years ago, Tri-City developer Bill Laidler presented the possibility of rebuilding Kyle Centre in exchange for council’s consideration of a residential project much denser than a six-storey rental building with 148 units he was proposing for a property on St. George Street, right across from the community facility.

Conceptual drawings showed a raised concrete plaza surrounding a refurbished Kyle Centre that could be a venue for community events and art exhibits while cars parked on the lower level.

“The opportunity is in front of us now,” Laidler said.

But several councillors expressed reservations about allowing dense development in the neighbourhood comprised mostly of single-family homes.