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City reverses plan to spend $6M for expanded Burnaby elementary school gym

The City of Burnaby says B.C.'s new housing legislation was behind city council's decision to go back on a plan it approved 'in principle' last July to help fund an expanded gym at Brentwood Park Elementary.
Brentwood Park Elementary School

The Burnaby school district has had to change its plans for an expanded gym at a local elementary school because city council has taken back its decision to kick in up to $6 million for the project.

The district had made tentative plans to include an expanded gym at Brentwood Park Elementary as part of a $39-million seismic upgrade and addition at the school that will create 200 new seats.

The expanded gym was going to be possible because of funding from the city.

At a closed door meeting in July 2023, city council gave approval in principle for up to $6 million for the project and directed staff to come back with a contribution agreement and joint use agreement.

At another in camera meeting in April, however, city council voted to kill the deal.

Secretary-treasurer Ishver Khunguray told the NOW the district had made the city funding part of its "tentative plans" for the project but no formal agreements were ever put in place.

Without the city funding, Brentwood Park won’t get the expanded gym, according to Khunguray.

"Instead of a larger gym with shared usage with the city, the expansion and seismic upgrade at Brentwood Park will include the addition of a standard-sized elementary gym," he said in an emailed statement. "The plan is to also keep the existing school gym."

When asked about the reversal, the city said the provincial government's recently introduced housing legislation have reduced the city’s ability to fund growth-related services and infrastructure through its community benefit bonus policy.

"This uncertainty prompted us to review the project and ultimately, not move forward," city public affairs manager Chris Bryan said in an emailed statement.

(This article has been changed. The original said the cost of the Brentwood Park project was $4.1 million. The correct cost is $39 million. We apologize for the error.)

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