It's taken years to get off the ground but, next month, Coquitlam’s new YMCA will open to the public.
And Tri-Cities residents can get a sneak peek now to see what the Burquitlam neighhourhood venue has in store.
Staff at the Bettie Allard YMCA will be on site between 4 and 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday to give tours of the 55,000 sq-ft. facility, located at 555 Emerson St.
As well, they will offer special rates for anyone wanting to sign up for a membership by Jan. 15.
On Tuesday (Dec. 6), the Tri-City News got an exclusive spin of the three-storey building with centre manager Vlade Golubovic, a fitness and water sports expert who describes his new role as "a dream."
"It perfectly aligns with my values," he said.
"The Y is about being healthy and having connections, which is especially important after COVID. We hope to reach out to many, many people for many years to come."
The venue he'll be overseeing is built for socializing. "We are more than just a gym and swim," he said, pointing out the pockets designed for members to gather during their stay.
For example, in the lobby, there's a café to the right of the entrance; tables and chairs also line the hallways.
There's another space halfway up the stairs to the second level where Y users can congregate.
And there are outdoor patios with picnic tables on the second and third floors for people to take a break from their activities.
Golubovic, who is from eastern Europe and grew up in Burnaby, hopes new Canadians especially will feel at home.
"We want to make this place as accessible as possible and help immigrants integrate into the community," he said.
"We are excited to be a part of this."
Besides the social areas, the new Y — a partnership between the Greater Vancouver charity, the City of Coquitlam and Concert Properties — also boasts several sustainability components, of which VIPs and donors got a look during a private celebration on Nov. 26.
There's plenty of natural light (to cut artificial lighting) and West Coast building materials. As well, the pools, domestic hot water and building's heating water system use heat recovered from the facility.
There are also green roofs to store, filter and retain stormwater, and pool water discharge and backwash are also saved — and treated — to flush toilets and urinals.
The building's modern and clean lines design also carry into the fitness elements:
- lines are painted in the pool for an underwater hockey rink and on the gym courts for pickleball
- there’s a climbing wall in the pool for swimmers to jump into the water
- a 100 m walking track circles above the gym
And, before Morguard Investments builds its towers to the east, at the Burquitlam Plaza mall, there's a view of the Burquitlam SkyTrain station from the spin room.
Fundraising chairperson Tracy Price, whose family name is in the weight and conditioning room as donors, told the Tri-City News her team is still looking for investors to "take pride in being part of a new community that has something to offer for everyone in the Tri-Cities and beyond."
To learn more about the Bettie Allard YMCA, and to donate, you're encouraged to visit the organization's website.