Construction aims to minimalize disruptions to community
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
By now, Port Coquitlam residents have likely seen fences being built around a beloved public property, perhaps right across their street. The Port Coquitlam Recreation Complex and its surrounding areas will be getting a fresh new look within the next four years. The 15-acre area is bordered by Wilson Avenue, Kingsway Avenue, Mary Hill Road, and Hawthorne Avenue. Recently, local residents were able to chat with and offer feedback to city officials in an open house that took a closer look at the plans, and to offer of feedback.
“Once they got to see the design and details, they were on board,” said Port Coquitlam mayor Greg Moore to Tri-City News. “Many people were pleased with the different parts of the facility. It’s not just a sports facility, but a community gathering place.”
The new PoCo Recreation Complex boasts many amenities, including an accessible leisure pool, three ice sheets (spectator, participant, and multi-purpose, respectively), gymnasium, cafe, library (integrated into the complex), lounge and kitchen, and outdoor plaza with seating, sport courts, amphitheatre, and spray park.
The redevelopment will also see a major overhaul for residential, senior, and rental buildings in the southern area, headed up by Quantum Properties Inc.
One of the controversies taking place in the redevelopment of the complex is the issue of tree preservation. According to city reports, of the 146 trees currently on site, only 24 trees will be saved, with only 7 of them remaining on site after construction is complete. The other 17 will be moved to nearby parks and city properties.
“We recognize the loss of trees will have a significant impact on the site until new trees are planted, and the city will leave the trees standing as long as possible until subsequent construction phases start,” noted the team, which is made up of Kristen Meersman, Director of Engineering and Public Works; Laura Lee Richard, Director of Development Services; Lori Bowie, Director of Recreation; and Karen Grommada, Director of Finance, to Tri-City News.
Construction will take place in two stages starting in mid-March of this year and concluding in summer 2021. The current recreation complex and library will remain open until they are replaced. By fall 2019, city officials hope to open two ice sheets, and the library, fitness centre, pool, games room, lounge, and kitchen for public use. By summer 2021, the remaining amenities—including a spectator ice sheet, gymnasium, child-minding area, underground parking, cafe, and outdoor plaza—will be completed.
When it comes to parking, the stalls on the North and West sides of the complex will soon be torn up. As of March 1, remaining parking spaces have a three-hour limit, and West Coast Express commuters will no longer qualify for free parking.
Taxpayers won’t have much to worry about, as financing for the complex will be introduced in phases. A $25 parcel tax will be included on all properties from 2017–20, with property tax increasing by 0.5 per cent in 2017, and 1 per cent in 2018 and 2019. A portion of project funds have already been raised from tax increases dating back to 2015.