The City of New Westminster is moving ahead with construction on the new aquatics and community centre starting next month, the city said in a news release.
The new aquatics and community centre will be built adjacent to Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre where the Sixth Avenue parking lot is currently located.
Both of the existing facilities will remain open during construction. Starting April 1, fencing will be erected and construction equipment will begin arriving on site, the city said.
Progress on the project had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project will include an eight-lane pool. Some community members and supporters of the Hyack Swim Club had urged the city to build a 10-lane pool, saying it would meet the needs of a growing city and allow the city to host large swim competitions.
In February 2020, Mayor Jonathan Coté was in Ottawa making a final plea to get a $22.4-million Canada Infrastructure Program grant from the federal government in order to build a 10-lane pool.
Groundbreaking and construction is expected to begin in mid-April with the new facility scheduled to open in late 2023, said a news release. Demolition of the old facilities and completion of the outdoor spaces is anticipated to be complete for summer 2024.
“Our community has waited a long time for this day. I am very pleased that construction on the new aquatics and community centre is finally underway,” said Coté, in a statement. “This new facility will be a tremendous asset to our city, providing individuals of all ages and abilities with an accessible and welcoming space to be active, learn and connect.”
The new aquatics and community centre will be approximately 10,644 square metres (114,571 square feet) and will include an eight-lane 50-metre pool, a leisure pool with a lazy river, hot pools, and tot zone, fitness centre, two gymnasiums, multi-purpose rooms and community gathering spaces.
“Extensive planning has taken place to ensure that our existing facilities remain operational throughout the duration of construction,” said Dean Gibson, director of parks and recreation. “While some inconveniences can be expected with construction projects of this magnitude, we are committed to minimizing the impacts to both facility users and neighbouring residents as best we can.”
Starting April 6, there will be no access to the Sixth Avenue parking lot. On-site parking will only be available at the Cumberland Street parking lot. Facility users should plan to arrive early for lessons and programs as parking will be limited and additional time may be required to walk from alternate parking locations. Visitors are encourage to consider alternate modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, transit, and carpooling.