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Confederation Park Community Centre will get second gym for $7.36M

Plus: Council proclaims Dec. 12 as Christine Sinclair Day and approves funding for new mural

Burnaby soccer hero Christine Sinclair will get her own day as Burnaby city council voted unanimously on Dec. 4 to proclaim Dec. 12 as Christine Sinclair day during its regular meeting chaired by Coun. Richard Lee as acting mayor. Council also discussed the ongoing Confederation Park Community Centre project’s new budget request for an additional $7.36M, a new mural, and transit services for seniors and people with disabilities. 

Coun. Maita Santiago read the proclamation which highlighted Sinclair’s contributions to Canadian sports, multiple sclerosis research, and gender equality. Sinclair, who is originally from Burnaby, played her last international match at BC Place in Vancouver on Tues. Dec. 5

A new funding request for the Confederation Park Community Centre’s second gym sparked a longer discussion during the meeting. Coun. Sav Dhaliwal expressed concern about the increased budget saying this is an additional 70% for the gym alone. Senior manager of lands and facilities, Libby Vidic replied to Dhaliwal’s comments saying, “I understand that it looks like just a second gym addition, but we’ve had to redesign the schematic design, the detail design, construction documents, tender documents, all building permit documents so that adds to a lot of rework that had to happen, not just for our architect but also for the sub-consultants.” 

Confederation Park Community Centre official rendering. Photo: City of Burnaby

Dhaliwal then asked Vidic if the additional $7.3M would help with construction or if it is solely for the architect’s fees, to which Vidic responded that it would cover only the architect and sub-consultant fees. She added that the budget requested in the 2024-2028 plan is approximately $238M and that the architect and sub-consultant fees are under 10% of the total construction value, which is typical for design fees. 

“That seems to be quite a ways from where we thought we were last time we talked about it…I wasn’t prepared to hear $238 million,” Dhaliwal said. 

Coun. Pietro Calendino also expressed concerns about the cost. He said he remembered seeing a book with all the specs and some details of the original with two gyms, and at that time cost was $119M. “We should’ve gone four years ago to do it.” At one point the second gym was scrapped, only to be reinstated again bringing the budget to above $200M. “That’s scary numbers really,” Calendino added. 

The discussion was concluded with staff members saying that construction costs have increased significantly in the past few years and added they would continue to bring cost comparisons to council to show how this project compares to similar public projects. Council then voted to approve the motion.

During the meeting, council also voted unanimously to approve funding of $7,000 for a new mural at the Nikkei Museum at 6688 Southoaks Cres. by Japan-born artist Taka Sudo. According to the council report on the mural, “The community of Southoaks is an area of Burnaby where illegal graffiti has been prevalent. Murals in the area, particularly on Beresford Ave., Kingsway, and Edmonds, have acted as an effective graffiti prevention strategy. The initiative to create a mural at this location not only works to prevent crime but adds an element of beautification and cultural sentiment that enhances the livability of the community. Additionally, the mural theme further strengthens the social capital of the community, embracing the City of Burnaby’s value in celebrating Japanese culture.” 

Other topics of discussion during the meeting included a new policy framework for the fair and equitable allocation of City of Burnaby Parks and Recreation facilities, as well as issues surrounding transit options for seniors and people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on Handydart.

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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