A peek inside the new PoCo Community Centre

The Tri-City News takes a tour of the $132-million facility that's due to open later this summer.

Nearly every day, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West hears about a young family moving into his city.

They come to the suburb because they want to own a home and have space to recreate, he said.

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And it’s for them — and the city’s current population of around 60,000 — that the Port Coquitlam Community Centre is being built, a $132-million facility in the downtown core that’s due to open, in part, later this summer.

“They are our future,” said West during a tour of the unfinished hub yesterday (Monday), accompanied by CAO Kristen Dixon, recreation director Lori Bowie and communications manager Pardeep Purewal as well as a representative from the builder, Ventana.

Since the ground turned two years ago, about 400 tradespeople have worked on Phase 1 to construct the two NHL-sized rinks (green and purple) — to be opened in time for ice season, in late August or early September — as well as a library that’s about the same size as the current Terry Fox Library but split over two levels.

A few months later will come the opening of phases 1B and 1C: the multipurpose rooms, including for use by the Wilson seniors centre members; a commercial kitchen; a lounge; a games room; a fitness centre, in which users can look to the north mountains or down to the swimming pool, plus a studio; and an aquatic tank.

(A third ice sheet, with more spectator viewing, and a gym are scheduled to be open next summer while the outdoor plaza and underground parking will launch in the fall of 2021).

The swimming tank, with its accessible hot tub and lazy river, was designed as a leisure pool with a maximum depth of four feet.

Cost was the main reason the city didn’t opt for competitive lanes, Dixon said.

“We wanted to complement what we already have at Hyde Creek [rec centre] and Centennial,” she said of the $2.7-million renovated outdoor pool that has its grand opening next weekend.

Still, the PCC pool will have some features that the others don’t: Three of its glass doors will slide up so swimmers can also run through the fenced-off spray park in the outdoor plaza.

While the facility has a West Coast feel — with fir beams, polished concrete floors and lots of natural light — there are environmentally friendly elements such as LED lighting and electric car charging stations in the parkade (it holds about 470 stalls).

Dixon said the city has budgeted an extra $1.2 million a year to operate the centre.

West stressed city council did not want the word “recreation” in the new title. “It’s designed with the community in mind,” he said. “All the spaces connect. Whether you’re 2 or 75, there’s going to be something for everyone. It’s our gathering place.”

 

THE DETAILS
• Cost: $132 million
• Size: 205,000 sq. ft.
• Builders: Ventana Construction
• Architects: Architecture 49

 

PAYING FOR IT
• $52 million of borrowed Municipal Finance Authority funds, over 30 years;
• $41.2 million from various internal and reserve accounts;
• $17 million from city-owned land sales (including the former public works yard for the residential and commercial component of the project);
• $12.5 million from the federal government;
• $7.3 million from community recreation complex levies, from 2015-’19;
• and $2 million from the $25 per year parcel tax, from 2017 to 2020.


•••••••

BORROWING $16M

Port Coquitlam is set to tap the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA) of B.C. to borrow $16 million to pay for the new Port Coquitlam Community Centre.

Today (Tuesday), committee of council recommended that city council formalize the application at its next meeting, in line with the 2019-’23 financial plan.

The funds make up the first part of an eventual $52 million total borrowed by the city — over a 30-year period — to rebuild the downtown recreation complex.

Once council green-lights its security issuing resolution, Metro Vancouver’s board of directors also must sanction the city borrowing; the request is then considered by the MFA.

As of early June, the MFA borrowing rate was 2.48% — less than the 3.75% predicted when council approved the project budget.

City staff say council will also be asked to look at another MFA borrowing request next spring, for $36 million.

When complete in 2021, the $132-million community centre will include a leisure pool (similar in size to Hyde Creek recreation complex), three rinks, the Terry Fox Library, fitness rooms and underground parking, in 205,000 sq. ft.
 

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