Council scraps plan to move Burnaby City Hall to Metrotown
Renovations planned for existing buildings instead
Signage at Burnaby City Hall. City of Burnaby.
At Monday night’s meeting, Burnaby council voted unanimously to keep City Hall in its present location at 4949 Canada Way.
In recent weeks, news of council’s plans to move City Hall to Civic Square in the Metrotown area sparked public backlash due to concerns about the estimated $852-million cost of the new building and the closure of the Burnaby Public Library that would be required during the construction.
1/5 How is it that 1,857 residents that filled the online survey for Civic Square out of 262,000 residents, representing 0.007% allow this Mayor & Council to vote for this site as the new City Hall?
— Heymann Yip (@HeymannYip)
Sep 10, 2023
Council instead opted to vote for a study to look at building a new City Hall, while renovating and expanding the current building to make it more seismically safe.
Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley said a new City Hall is not a want, it is a need, adding that plans for a new City Hall began after council discovered the current building is not sound enough for new energy-efficient windows. The proposed move to Civic Square in Metrotown would have cost an estimated $852 million due to planned additional programming at the new City Hall.
In voting to support the motion to keep City Hall at its present location, Coun. Alison Gu said it was necessary to consider the impact of libraries and their importance to the community. If the city had moved forward with the plan to relocate City Hall to Metrotown, it would have been necessary to close the piblic library’s Bob Prittie branch during construction. This comes after the library had been closed for several months during renovations following a fire in June 2022.
Other councillors added that City Hall is currently in a central and logical location for Burnaby. In addition, there was mention of potentially repurposing empty concrete spaces—like extra parking spots—to extend the current buildings. Hurley added the new City Hall will not be a tower, as some local residents had feared—rather it will be a campus-like site. At the time of writing, a full estimate of the renovation costs is still pending.
Editor’s note: a previous correction stated that council had moved straight to a renovation; the vote was to request a feasibility study from staff, and to also look at what would be required to carry out renovations to the current structure. Burnaby Beacon has corrected the story, and regrets the error.
This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.