The City of New Westminster has officially broken ground on its new $106.6-million aquatics and community centre.
While there would normally be an official groundbreaking to signal the start to a project of this magnitude, because of COVID-19, the city has instead released a video that discusses the recreational, accessibility, sustainability and reconciliation components of the project. It also includes an Indigenous blessing, comments from various community members about the project’s significance and a socially distanced photo opportunity with some council members.
“This project has been many years in the making, and I’m very proud of the extensive engagement that has taken place and the community input we received from individuals of all ages and backgrounds,” Mayor Jonathan Cote said in a news release. “The final design reflects the community’s values and priorities, with an overall goal of reducing barriers to access. The new facility will be an inclusive and accessible place where everyone feels welcome and that they belong.”
As for the facility’s name, Cote promised the new name will be announced soon.
The new aquatics and community centre will replace the aging Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre into a combined 10,644-square-metre (114,571-square-feet) state-of-the-art facility.
The new facility is being designed by HCMA Architecture + Design and integrates principles of flexibility, accessibility, sustainability, social connectivity, and connectivity to nature, states the press release.
“The theme of social connectivity is one that we heard quite prominently throughout our engagement process. The new facility is meant to be a space where people can come together through programming and community meeting spaces,” said Dean Gibson, the city’s director of parks and recreation. “The space has also been designed to enhance the connections between indoor and outdoor spaces. The landscaping will include basketball courts, open lawn spaces, and areas for outdoor programming, lounging and play.”
According to the city, spaces have been designed to accommodate a wide variety of activities that can adapt over time as community needs and priorities change.
The aquatic space will include an eight-lane, 50-metre pool with a moveable floor and bulkheads that allow for multiple configurations to ensure flexibility in programming. The leisure pool includes hot pools, a tot zone and a lazy river that can be used for play activities and therapeutic programming.
The facility will also feature an 11,150-square-foot fitness centre and two gymnasiums that will accommodate various sport activities. The community space will include multi-purpose rooms, community gathering spaces that will support social programming and connections, and 45 new, licensed child-care spaces supported by the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund.
According to the city, the new facility is scheduled to open in late 2023, with demolition of the old facilities and completion of the outdoor spaces anticipated to be complete for summer 2024.
More information on this project and construction information can be found at www.youractivenw.ca.
The “New Westminster Aquatics & Community Centre Groundbreaking Video – June 2021” video can be found on the City of New Westminster’s YouTube channel.