It may need a few more trees, some childcare, a scoreboard, and a spot for field hockey, but overall, Coquitlam council was enthusiastic during Monday’s discussion about the forthcoming park next door to the forthcoming Burke Mountain school.
Set to open in 2026, the approximately nine-acre park is slated to include an artificial turf field, a running track and four tennis courts – although whether those courts will be used strictly for tennis was a matter of brief debate.
While specifying that it wasn’t an “either/or” situation, Coun. Craig Hodge suggested the somewhat isolated location might make it ideal for pickleball, a game that sometimes prompts noise complaints from neighbours.
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“You can’t talk really about tennis without the conversation also around pickleball,” Hodge said.
Coun. Trish Mandewo made certain to confirm tennis would be included.
“Coun. Hodge didn’t mean replacing tennis, but adding pickleball,” she told city staff.
The city has $8.8 million set aside for the park, including a $5-million community amenity contribution from Wesbild Holdings. Developers generally pay the city community amenity contributions for projects that are bigger or denser than the city originally intended.
A budget for the park is set to be included in the city’s 2024-2028 capital plan.
Several trees on the site were chopped down in February after an arborist found a significant number showing poor health, decay and stress.
The site slopes about 36 metres from the northeast corner to the southwest, creating “significant topographic challenges,” according to a city staff report. That topography makes keeping the trees “very difficult due to the extensive re-grading and earthworks required to create the large flat areas required for the schools and fields,” according to a city staff report.
School District #43 owns approximately 60 percent of the 23.1-acre site, which is earmarked for future schools. The grass field would be school district property while the artificial field would be on the city side.
Coun. Brent Asmundson emphasized the need to advocate for a middle school on Burke Mountain.
“We still have to continue to fight to get that middle school in here,” he said. “We know the way the province can operate at times.”
Asmundson also underscored the need to have the park finished by 2026.
“If it winds up being delayed into 2027, I might have to run for council again,” he playfully threatened, eliciting calls to “get it done” from his colleagues.
The city is set to host an information session on plans for the park and the school on April 26 at Smiling Creek School. More info here.