Skip to content

Committee moves to review “mutilated” Burnaby community centre plan

A city councillor said the original design plan was “mutilated” after sticker shock.

Burnaby’s new Confederation Community Centre could get a second gym, after a debate at the city’s financial management committee last month.

The original plan for the community centre in Burnaby Heights called for two gyms but was “mutilated” according to Burnaby Citizens Association (BCA) Coun. Pietro Calendino, after council saw the price tag.

“The price tag kind of shocked us, because we weren’t used to seeing those figures, and then the others came (other major community centre redevelopments), and they are even more expensive,” Calendino said. “And yet with the others, we continued going ahead with the original plans, yet with Confederation Park, we kind of mutilated it and cut off half of it.”

Calendino motioned to return to the community centre’s original plan for a second gym, though it would increase the budget.

“I think it would be appropriate to have a full community centre, like every other part of the city has,” he said, noting staff confirmed this is the stage to make design changes.

The current budget for Confederation Community Centre is $127 million.

For comparison, the budget for Cameron Community Centre and Library is $252 million and $185 million for Burnaby Lake Aquatic and Arena (with $22 million in consulting fees previously funded).

BCA Coun. Sav Dhaliwal wasn’t convinced about adding a second gym, expressing concerns that it would delay the project.

But city staff said it wouldn’t delay the project.

“If you did want to add that second gym back into the design, now would be the time to do it,” a city staff member told the committee, “Now is a good time, when detailed design is still underway.”

“It’s not a heck of a lot of work to put (the gym) back in.”

Mayor Mike Hurley asked if the density around Confederation Park were too low to necessitate two gyms. Dhaliwal agreed, noting the future Willingdon/Brentwood Community Centre would serve many people in North Burnaby.

Calendino said the second gym wasn’t cut because of a lack of demand, since he recalled hearing northwest corner was “woefully underserved with recreational services.”

“We cut (the gym) not because the need was not there, but because the cost, we figured, was too high.”

The mayor himself said the northwest quadrant of Burnaby has the lowest amount of community space per resident in the city, in a press release in June 2022, according to a 2019 needs assessment.

The committee voted to have staff return with a detailed design and cost including the gym, as well as a needs assessment for the facility. Council will later vote to decide on whether it wants to proceed with one gym or two.

📣 SOUND OFF: Do you use the city’s community centres? Should there be a second gym in the Confederation Community Centre? Send us a letter.