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'Substantially over budget': Rising costs delay $260M Burnaby rec centre project

Cameron Community Centre and Library is the latest civic project to come in over budget.
Cameron Community Centre Rendering
A rendering of the Cameron Community Centre and Library redevelopment.

Another major Burnaby community centre redevelopment has come in “substantially over budget” and will be delayed while staff figure out how to get the project back on budget, according to a new report.

The $260-million Cameron Community Centre and Library redevelopment at 9523 Cameron St. includes a three-storey building including a new pool, gymnasium, multi-purpose meeting rooms and an expanded library.

It’s planned to make “extensive use of mass timber” along with a green roof and solar photovoltaic system which turns sunlight into electricity using solar panels.

But a cost estimate by the construction manager has come in substantially over budget, according to a staff report submitted to the city’s financial management committee Oct. 17.

The city has begun a process of value engineering to find cheaper alternatives to materials and processes to keep the project on budget.

Demolition of the existing facility will be delayed to the second quarter of 2024, and construction is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2027.

Just last month, the plan was for the old Cameron facility to be demolished in November, according to Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley who expressed concerns about the style of the Cameron project’s roof.

At the Oct. 17 committee meeting, staff said the delay will likely mean extending the lease at the temporary Cameron Community Centre and Library, which will result in additional costs toward the end of the project.

The temporary facility is planned to house Cameron rec centre’s activities in a leased space at Lougheed mall (the former H&M spot) while the facility is under construction.

Coun. Alison Gu noted at the meeting the lease costs the city “a pretty penny.”

The city told the NOW last December the lease would cost “below the market rent that a commercial tenant would pay,” but did not give an exact figure.

The library is expected to move into the temporary facility upon its completion, expected at the end of 2023.

Recreation users will join the temporary facility in the latter part of Q1 2024 to keep sports programs available as long as possible before demolition of the old facility, according to the report.

The library will use the recreation side of the temporary facility until rec users move in to ensure the leased space is fully used, according to staff.

Escalating costs mean delays

Cameron is yet another major civic project to experience delays this year.

The C.G. Brown Pool replacement came in “significantly over budget” which resulted in delays. The pool has been out of commission for almost a year with no construction on a new facility.

Rosemary Brown Arena, which was originally expected to be complete in fall 2021 and has been pushed back multiple times (most recently to summer 2023), has once again been delayed, this time to November 2023.

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