The City of New Westminster has broken ground on the new aquatics and community centre. In lieu of a traditional groundbreaking ceremony, the official start of construction was captured as a video due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions.
“This project has been many years in the making and I’m very proud of the extensive engagement that has taken place and the community input we received from individuals of all ages and backgrounds,” said Mayor Jonathan Coté. “The final design reflects the community’s values and priorities with an overall goal of reducing barriers to access. The new facility will be an inclusive and accessible place where everyone feels welcome and that they belong.”
The new aquatics and community centre will replace the aging Canada Games Pool and Centennial Centre into a combined 10,644 square meter (114,571 square feet) state-of-the-art facility. Designed by HCMA Architecture + Design, the new facility integrates principles of flexibility, accessibility, sustainability, social connectivity, and connectivity to nature. Spaces have been designed to accommodate a wide variety of activities that can adapt over time as community needs and priorities change.
The aquatic space has been carefully considered to meet both emerging needs and existing teaching and competitive swim requirements. The eight lane 50-metre pool includes a moveable floor and bulkheads that allow for multiple configurations to ensure maximum flexibility in programming. The leisure pool includes hot pools, a tot zone, and a lazy river which can be used for play activities and therapeutic programming.
The large 11,150 square foot fitness centre will feature a variety of accessible fitness equipment for users of all mobility needs, and two gymnasiums will accommodate various sport activities. The community space will include multi-purpose rooms, community gathering spaces that will support social programming and connections and 45 new, licensed child care spaces supported by the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund.
“The theme of social connectivity is one that we heard quite prominently throughout our engagement process. The new facility is meant to be a space where people can come together through programming and community meeting spaces,” said Dean Gibson, Director of Parks and Recreation. “The space has also been designed to enhance the connections between indoor and outdoor spaces. The landscaping will include basketball courts, open lawn spaces, and areas for outdoor programming, lounging and play.”
The multi-year project represents a $106.6M investment in the long-term health and well-being of the New Westminster community. The new facility is scheduled to open in late 2023, and demolition of the old facilities and completion of the outdoor spaces is anticipated to be complete for summer 2024. The project is being managed by Turnbull Construction Project Managers, while construction is overseen by Heatherbrae Builders.
Featured image: Rendering of New Westminster’s new aquatic and community centre. (City of New Westminster)