After standing on the brink of the design phase, the Northeast Community Centre took a step forward.
The $152-million rec centre is slated to be three storeys with a 10,000 square-foot library, a fitness centre, a community kitchen, and an aquatic area, according to a report presented to Coquitlam council Monday.
The aquatic area is set to include a leisure pool, a whirlpool, a sauna and a steam room as well as a six-lane lap tool – two lanes more than initially pitched.
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The fitness centre is slated to consist of two gymnasiums.
A more detailed concept plan is set to be in front of council by the spring of 2024 with construction ramping up in 2026 and the centre opening in late 2027.
Referring to Monday’s meeting as a milestone, Coun. Craig Hodge noted the need for the centre’s 340 parking stalls.
“This is becoming more than just a neighbourhood community centre. It is going to be a regional community centre,” Hodge said.
Hodge was one of several councillors who underscored the need to move quickly.
“It’s needed now,” he said. “The sooner we can get it up and running the better it is for our residents.”
Cash for the centre
The city has set aside $152 million for the centre.
That sum includes $132 million in Coquitlam’s five-year financial plan, another $8 million that was previously approved, and $12-million earmarked for the park and plaza.
Squash out, outdoors in
The centre should integrate with the outdoors, complementing popular activities like hiking and mountain biking, Hodge said.
“I still envision that Burke Mountain will someday, with the opening of Pinecone Burke, become a mecca for mountain biking,” he said.
The centre’s outdoor space is set to include play areas and a spot for performances.
While council was generally enthusiastic about the centre, Coun. Trish Mandewo noted a four-walled void.
“There’s one thing that we’re missing in Coquitlam, and actually in the whole Tri-Cities: we don’t have squash or racquetball,” Mandewo said.
“The demand for indoor courts has waned considerably over the years,” responded city manager Raul Allueva.
The popularity of a sport can be deceptive, Mandewo said.
“If the facility is not there . . . the demand doesn’t seem like it’s there,” she said.
Coun. Robert Mazzarolo concluded his remarks with one question.
“How fast can you build it?”