Work will get underway on a revamped Buchanan Square outside Coquitlam city hall next month.
The first phase of the project, which has seen the replacement of a waterproof membrane over underground parking area, has already begun. However, crews will begin constructing the new plaza above complete with a seating area, plantings and a slide.
“The membrane work is well underway,” said Don Luymes, general manager of parks, recreation and culture. “What this report deals with is what happens above the membrane.”
Luymes added that the project is expected to meet the $4.3 million budget allocated by council last year.
While the upgrades were unanimously approved, Coun. Bonita Zarrillo said she had some concerns about the plaza’s accessibility for people with mobility issues. She noted that some people in wheelchairs have difficulty maneuvering on paving stones and asked that the project be shown to members of the city’s Universal Access-Ability Advisory Committee before work moves ahead.
“They may see things that we don’t see,” she said.
Luymes said he welcomed feedback from committee representatives. However, he noted that unlike the paving stones used in some areas of City Centre, the stones used at the new Buchanan Square are quite large and tend to stay relatively level. The wheelchair ramp that is currently in place, he added, will remain as is.
Planning has been underway for the Buchanan Square upgrade, which is located between city hall and the Coquitlam RCMP detachment, for a couple of years.
Last fall, planners presented renderings of the project to city council, showing new benches, swings and even a slide connecting the upper portion of the plaza to the lower square.
Staff said they wanted to make the grey, stodgy public space more vibrant, encouraging residents to come down and hang out instead of just passing through.
"[The proposal] showcases Coquitlam's inclusive and social nature," Andre Isakov, the city's park planning and design manager, said at the time. “The intent is to create a space that would be welcoming to everybody."