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Construction starting on North Van's Harry Jerome rebuild

City residents have been waiting more than a decade for work to begin on new rec centre

The City of North Vancouver’s Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre and Silver Harbour Centre rebuild is moving from concept to construction.

Council voted unanimously Monday (Feb. 28) night to start issuing contracts for the site preparation and excavation work with construction contracts soon to follow.

Getting the facility to this point has taken more than a decade of public consultations, deferments by successive councils, a major scaling back of the project’s amenities, protests aimed at keeping the centre operating until the new one is built and a last-minute collapse of the deal with Darwin Properties to fund the construction through long-term lease of the adjacent lands.

Council members were relieved to cast the votes that would get work started. By mid-March, the site should look like an active construction site.

“Wow, wow and wow,” said Coun. Holly Back. “This has taken such a long time and I am very excited to see that it is moving ahead and nothing is going to stop it. We are getting those shovels in the ground.”

As part of the update, city staff debuted an animated video depicting how the facility might look when it is bustling with residents after the 2025 opening. The video left a few council members with their jaws on the floor.

Coun. Don Bell said he still regrets that the majority on council voted to shrink down the project, losing the curling rink, 50-metre pool and other amenities. But he cast his vote to start construction with enthusiasm.

“There comes a point where one has to accept reality and get on with it,” he said. “We’re at that point.”

Mayor Linda Buchanan acknowledged the disappointment some may feel about the shape of the new Harry Jerome, but she stood by council’s decisions and expressed excitement for the community centre.

“It has been a journey. And it is not necessarily delivering what everybody wanted, but … we needed to be prudent and we needed to be balanced and we needed to be able to deliver what we could afford,” she said. “People have waited a very long time for this day.”

As of the most recent Class A cost estimate, staff are projecting the rec centre and seniors’ centre will run a little more than $210,781,000.

Parking at the rec centre will be reduced by about 50 per cent over the next few years, according to staff.

Click on the animated video below to view how the new Harry Jerome is expected to look on its completion.