The City of North Vancouver council is set to receive a report from staff on the next steps for the multimillion-dollar Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre project at tonight’s (Oct. 18) council meeting.
The purpose of the report is to provide council with updates on program, project management, schedule and costs for both the HJCRC and Silver Harbour Senior’s Activity Centre projects.
Originally a more grandiose $237-million project, approved by the previous council in 2018, was envisioned for the site but a divided council gave their blessing to a pared down rec facility, at an estimated cost of $181 million, on April 12 this year.
The city engaged HCMA Architecture + Design to revise the design for a new Harry Jerome which will replace the existing aging recreation facility and be built north of East 23rd Street between Lonsdale Avenue and St. Georges Avenue.
The vote to move ahead with the new design passed with Mayor Linda Buchanan and councillors Tina Hu, Angela Girard and Jessica McIlroy in favour and councillors Holly Back, Don Bell and Tony Valente opposed. Those opposed were worried the new design was too small and would not meet the community’s needs into the future.
Next steps for the new HJCRC
At the Oct. 18 council meeting, staff will call on council for authorization to advance the construction tender for the site preparation and excavation scope of work for the project, with the contract award to be held until full project funding is in place.
Staff are also calling for approval of a funding reallocation to advance the HJCRC site power modifications.
“The project team is working to advance elements of the project ahead of the targeted drawing completion date (late February 2022) to reduce startup costs and hasten the schedule, which in turn reduces cost and risk,” the staff report says.
Staff have proposed two tender packages to proceed prior to the February milestone: offsite utility upgrades on 23rd Street and site preparation including clearing, grubbing and excavation.
“Advancing the two tenders will enable the project to mobilize works for the new HJCRC while the main construction tender packages are being bid on,” the staff report says. “This allows activity to begin onsite and lessen the traffic conflict between onsite work, underground utility work and the public.”
According to the report, it is anticipated that the total project capital costs for the HJCRC will be about $181.7 million based on a Class B cost estimate conducted in March 2021. The cost estimates have allowed for $14.3 million in contingencies and $14.4 million in escalation.
Staff will report back to council in late February 2022 in order to seek approval for full project tendering and construction, once a final Class A estimate and project funding are confirmed.
Since April, the project has continued to advance on a number of fronts, according to staff, including putting in place “a multi-disciplinary, highly skilled and experienced team” to support the project until completion. The team includes a construction management firm and commissioning authority.
The city’s vision for the new facility is for it to be “a welcoming, vibrant, social heart of the community” that will “foster individual and collective wellness by providing opportunities to participate in a variety of organized and casual activities.”
It’s hoped the new centre “will empower community members to enjoy healthy, active, and connected lives.”
However, community groups who use the current centre aren’t so thrilled. Back in February, a multitude of sports user groups, who have called the rec centre home for decades, spoke out in dismay, after they were left scrambling when they learned the facility will close by the end of the year.
The staff report noted that a separate report from North Vancouver Recreation & Culture will discuss the interim service plan that will be in place during HJCRC construction.
The HJCRC project is on schedule for construction to commence in March 2022 and be completed in 2025.