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Should Burnaby's new Metrotown city hall be built in a park? City wants public feedback

The City of Burnaby has released three possible sites for a new city hall in Metrotown, and one of them is on dedicated parkland.

After announcing its plan to build a new city hall in Metrotown, the City of Burnaby is asking residents: where in Metrotown?

The city wants residents to rank three choices:

  • Option 1: Burnaby Public Library and Civic Square site
  • Option 2: Burnaby Firefighter’s Public House site
  • Option 3: Bonsor Park site

These three sites were chosen as “they are centrally located in the Metrotown area, close to transit and are city-owned lands,” according to the project website.

You can take the online survey until midnight on July 7.

Burnaby Public Library and Civic Square site. City of Burnaby

Burnaby Public Library and Civic Square site

The site is 4.4 acres at 6100 Willingdon Ave. The city says it’s the “most central” to the downtown core and Metrotown SkyTrain station and bus loop, making it the most accessible.

It would be the most prominent and visible of the three sites and would potentially mean redeveloping the Bob Prittie Metrotown library and adding other civic facilities.

Civic Square could be made larger and function as the “civic heart” of the downtown core, integrating the plaza with public space along the enhanced BC Parkway.

Burnaby Firefighters’ Public House site. City of Burnaby

Burnaby Firefighters’ Public House site

At 6515 Bonsor Ave. is the city-owned site previously home to the Firefighters’ Public House. The smallest of the three options at 12,900 square feet, it’s the furthest away from the SkyTrain station and bus loop.

The small site would likely mean a much taller tower would be built, and there are fewer opportunities to include other civic uses. A plaza could be built across the street when the existing Bonsor Recreation Complex redevelops.

Bonsor Park site. City of Burnaby

Bonsor Park site

The Bonsor Park site is 3.7 acres of dedicated parkland at 6550 Bonsor Ave., which means it would need to pass a city-wide referendum for it to be used.

It’s further away from the SkyTrain station and bus loop than Option 1.

The city hall development could include the redevelopment of Bonsor Recreation Complex and South Central Youth Centre to meet growing recreation demand in southwest Burnaby. It could also include more civic uses and amenities.

Sports fields could be reconfigured to be the same size as the existing fields, and Jubilee Avenue could be closed to create more park space.

The existing skate park and South Burnaby Cenotaph would remain in place.

Current Burnaby City Hall. Photo Lauren Vanderdeen / Burnaby Now

The old city hall

The city says the current city hall at 4949 Canada Way near Deer Lake, which was built in 1955 and spans five buildings, lacks sustainability and inclusivity provisions.

It would cost $70 million to upgrade the facility to modern building code standards, according to the city.

The current five-year financial plan has $74 million budgeted for the city hall replacement, though general manager of lands and facilities, James Lota, told the NOW the cost of the project would exceed that number.

The new city hall would be funded from the community benefit reserve fund, in which developers contribute cash or other benefits to be permitted to build more housing.

The city will also host open houses and pop-up events with information about the new city hall project in June.

Pop-up event: Hats Off Day

When: Saturday, June 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Hastings Street between Boundary Road and Gamma Avenue

City hall redevelopment open houses

When: June 13 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and June 27 from 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Bonsor Recreation Complex (6550 Bonsor Ave.)

You can find out more about the project on the city’s website.

📢 SOUND OFF: Do you think Burnaby needs a new city hall? What do you think of the proposed Metrotown sites? Share your thoughts — send us a letter.