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Burnaby council approves giant $240M pool, arena redevelopment at $54M more than planned

The city plans to build a 'destination recreation facility.'

Burnaby council has approved a plan to build a replacement for C.G. Brown Pool and Burnaby Lake Arena for $240.9 million, almost $54 million more than originally planned.

The facility is intended to be a “destination recreation facility capable of drawing regional participation in leisure and competitive sports activities,” staff told council at a meeting Monday, Dec. 11.

The project came in $150 million overbudget in August, so council abandoned that plan and instructed staff to cut costs to get the project back to its original budget of around $187 million.

The new design incorporates almost all the program elements of the original plan, but it combines two standalone pools (a leisure pool and a 25-metre pool) into one, according to a staff report.

The new plan will also reduce the building’s size by about 75,000 square feet from the original design.

Burnaby Lake Recreation Complex's new schematic design. By City of Burnaby

Staff told councillors the square footage was reduced through the 25-metre pool’s deck (about 20,000 to 30,000 square foot savings), circulating corridors, space between rooms and more design efficiencies.

Staff also noted the new design doesn’t reduce any amount of water space.

Raymond Afan, a senior project manager in the city’s civic buildings division, said eliminating parking would add up to a cost savings of around $8 million but noted the precinct experiences “parking pressure,” so reducing parking was not pursued.

Council had the option to delay building the arena portion of the facility but chose to build the arena and aquatic facilities together.

Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said the arena “has been on its last legs for a long time.”

“I guess the pleasing thing for us is to now not debate anymore … and try to get the shovels in the ground as soon as possible,” said Dhaliwal.

Staff expect to report back with a construction timeline and seek a design-build contract for the project in early spring 2024.