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Capital projects in Coquitlam come in on time, on budget during pandemic

The city of Coquitlam outlined its completed capital projects from 2020, and highlighted millions of dollars in construction work now happening or on the books for 2021-'22.

The pandemic may have changed some capital project construction in Coquitlam this and last year with physical distancing risks and costs.

But, for the most part, the works that wrapped up in 2020 — and the initiatives now underway — have come in on time and on budget.

Scott Groves, Coquitlam’s strategic and capital projects director, credited the city for hiring efficient and cost-effective contractors.

Speaking before council-in-committee last month, Groves gave an overview of the $7 million in city investment last year as well as the $90 million in construction now happening plus the $56-million worth of projects in the design stage.

Among the facilities completed are: 

• Town Centre Park Plaza: a hub near the festival site that includes washrooms and a concession (budget $4.75 million; cost $4.9 million)

• Cunnings Field: a replacement of the artificial turf field, at the northwest corner of Town Centre Park (budget $1 million; cost $585,000)

• Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery: additional double-depth crypts and a new scattering garden (budget $595,000; cost $592,000)

• Coquitlam Crunch: universal washrooms north of Scott Creek middle school, along the the Crunch trail (budget $500,000; cost $350,000)

• City hall: a roof replacement on the southeast half of the building (budget and cost $800,000)

Don Luymes, Coquitlam’s general manager of parks, recreation, culture and facilities, said another capital project last year, the Mundy playground update, cost of $875,000 for a custom-built tower and other amenities. The work was done by the city’s parks capital construction crew — “a really successful project delivered with our own forces,” he told council.

WHAT'S UP NEXT?

As for this and next year, the list includes: 

• Place Maillardville: a replacement of the aging recreation centre with a 22,000 sq. ft. facility (budget $23.5 million)

• YMCA: a 55,000 sq. ft. building that will have a pool, gym, childminding and a family centre, with a community police station, public park and park and ride attached to the structure, in partnership with Concert Properties and the YMCA (budget for city portion, $57 million)

• Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex: change rooms for Arena 3 (budget $2.65 million)

• Burke Mountain Discovery Centre and café: a 4,000 sq. ft. social hub and land sales centre for the city (budget $3.75 million)

• Buchanan Square: a replacement of the parkade roof membrane and update of the public space (budget $5 million)

• Town Centre Park: universal washrooms at the back of the Evergreen Cultural Centre (budget $636,000)

• Cottonwood Park: a ball diamond, sports field, sports court — including for pickleball — and parkour features in Phase 1B (budget $3.58 million)

• Mundy Park: universal washrooms in the parking lot off Chilko Way (budget $500,000)

• CCAC: interior renovations at the City Centre Aquatic Complex (budget $5 million)

• Austin works yard: a new vehicle maintenance building as part of Phase 1 (budget $35 million)

• Town Centre fire hall: new training facility ($1.8 million)

• Town Centre Park: an update of the loop trail around Lafarge Lake ($3 million)

• Centennial secondary: a new artificial turf field at the high school, as part of a shared-use agreement with SD43 ($3 million)

• Sheffield Park: a new neighbourhood-level park for all ages, with water play features ($3.65 million)

For the Place Maillardville replacement, Groves said the construction manager, Ledcor, plans to finish the work by the fall of 2022. Neighbours have been told about the upcoming noise and ground disturbances and have been shown pictures of the heavy machines, he said.

As for previous or current project delays, Groves said Place Maillardville and the Poirier change rooms took a hit under the pandemic rules, setting the construction schedules behind. Still, he singled out companies such as Turner Construction, Jacob Bros and Graham Construction & Engineering for coming to the plate and being cautious during the pandemic.

COMMUNITY PRAISE

Coun. Dennis Marsden said the new or replacement projects are being well received by residents; however, he suggested city managers include a higher level of oversight so taxpayers can get the best value and the local government can adopt best practices.

Coun. Craig Hodge also said the community feedback is positive especially with the Mundy Park playground. He said having capital projects come under budget and on time is reassuring. “Years ago, this wasn’t always the case,” he told Groves.

Meanwhile, Luymes said the city will continue with its “park blitzes” — quick updates of small parks — but at a slower rate: this year, Dacre and Nestor parks are on the books.

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