Burnaby planning for new pools, ice rinks and gyms

Mayor Mike Hurley called recreation facilities 'inadequate' during the campaign

Burnaby needs to upgrade and replace its recreation centres and should spend $7 million of its cash reserves from developers to plan for them, according to a new report from city staff.

“As the city grows, both the demand for public services and the opportunities to provide them increase,” the report states.

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New pools, gyms and ice rinks are part of the plans to “ensure that community needs are met as civic buildings age and the city’s population grows and evolves.”

Burnaby’s newly elected mayor, Mike Hurley, campaigned on a “health and wellness action plan” to improve recreation facilities in the city. 

“Burnaby’s community centres are aging, overcrowded and, quite frankly, inadequate,” Hurley said in a September press release. 

On Monday, city council will consider the staff report. If it passes, staff will begin the initial planning stages for four priority projects – replacing CG Brown Memorial Pool and Burnaby Lake Ice Rink; replacing Willingdon Heights Community Centre; adding recreation space at Confederation Park and replacing Cameron Recreation Centre and Library.

The $7 million estimated cost of this initial planning stage would come from the city’s community benefit bonus funds – money paid to the city by developers in exchange for permission to build larger buildings. 

Replacing CG Brown Memorial Pool 

Built in 1962, the pool is “at the end of its useful life,” according to the report. The adjacent ice rink was built three years later and is not the standard NHL size. 

Ideally, the city wants to demolish the two buildings and replace them with one building containing a bigger pool and bigger rink. Combining the two could save money and energy by “using heat waste generated by the ice sheet for heating the pool water,” the report says.

But that might not be possibly, due to the size of the lot and its “soil limitations.” City staff need $2 million, in part to find out if such a combined facility is possible, they say.

Replacing Willingdon Heights Community Centre

“As the Brentwood Town Centre and Hastings corridor continue to grow, the need for additional capacity in the area has become more apparent,” according to city staff.

That’s why, they say, the community centre built in 1964 and renovated in 1981 needs to be replaced. The new building would probably include a gymnasium, fitness room, meeting space and general purpose rooms.

According to the report, Willingdon Heights would not need a pool because it’s so close to Confederation Park’s Eileen Dailly Leisure Pool (see next item). 

The estimated cost of the initial planning phase is $1.5 million. 

New space at Eileen Dailly Leisure Pool

This facility was built in 1993 at the southwest corner of Confederation Park on Willingdon Avenue and contains a pool, childminding area and a fitness room. City staff say a gymnasium, more exercise facilities, meeting rooms and general purpose rooms could all be added to the opposite corner of the park with a connection to the existing facility.

In 2008, an architecture firm proposed such a project but the report says $1 million worth of work needs to be done to “determine the exact location of the additional recreation facilities, and their interface with the Eileen Dailly Centre.”

Replacing Cameron Recreation Centre and Library

A 2008 report found Cameron had accessibility issues and lacked both a central administration area and adequate recreation space. 

The report estimates $2.5 million is needed to plan for a new facility that would add a pool, while replacing the existing library, seniors services, fitness room, racquetball court and library – all of which would be larger in the new building.

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