The Future New West Aquatics & Community Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

The City faces a crossroads with regards to the Canada Games Pool (CGP) and Centennial Community Centre (CCC), built in 1973 and 1967 respectively. Both facilities are ageing and are in need of attention. Independent condition assessments and feasibility studies have indicated the CGP needs to be replaced and the CCC requires functional upgrades. City Council identified the renewal of these buildings as a strategic priority. In November 2015, Council provided preliminary direction to staff to move forward with planning for the replacement of the existing CGP. In spring/summer 2016, the City of New Westminster appointed HCMA Architecture + Design to conduct a public engagement process (which included a stakeholder workshop, a statistically-valid survey, and community meetings), to provide the City with valuable information during the planning stage. The findings from the public engagement process reinforced the importance of these facilities to the community and were used to inform the next stage of the renewal process.

The new Aquatic and Community Centre provides the City of New Westminster with the unique opportunity to develop a community asset that will reinforce the community’s cultural identity as an active healthy city by providing an important social and recreation gathering place for all its’ diverse residents; provide essential services as the only indoor pool in the community as well as being an important regional asset for fitness, length swimming and competitive training; provide a variety of multipurpose spaces that can be programmed for a range of fitness, training, leisure, and rehabilitation uses in order to meet both current and future demands; support excellence in competitive aquatics with a facility that can uphold the legacy of the Canada Games; offers an opportunity for a new, larger facility but with similar net operating costs and reduced energy consumption; create a complete civic precinct with improved vehicular, cycling and pedestrian connections.

Given the limitation placed on the site by the sewer easement that bisects it in half, a series of test fit studies were conducted for each of the three possible areas the building could be located. These studies quickly determined the most viable location of the proposed Aquatic & Community Centre to be in the south-east corner of the site (Area C.)

The main advantage of this option is its provision of a construction phasing strategy that allows for full construction of the new facilities, as well as the continued operation of the CGP and CCC during the works. The new facility will effectively be built around the existing buildings.

The ‘Your Active New West’ community and stakeholder engagement project (from May to September 2016) helped raise awareness, determine priorities around functional programming, and established a vision and guiding principles for the two facilities. This extensive process took place in order to ensure the renewed facilities would reflect the requirements, needs and identity of the New Westminster community. The process involved numerous stakeholder workshops with a variety of user groups, public open houses and an online survey.

As part of the feasibility study the project team conducted in-person interviews with several of the key site and programming stakeholders (see pages 37-38 of the feasibility report (PDF – 4.7 MB) ). The scope of this study did not include engagement with the public – in part because of the highly compressed schedule – however, the project team did present and had a discussion with the Parks and Recreation Committee to obtain feedback that was representative of general public opinion. Recommendations for further engagement are included in the Next Steps section of this report.

Following up on the initial public engagement sessions in 2016, and the 2017 feasibility study for a future New Westminster aquatic and community facility, the City of New Westminster lead a broad community and stakeholder engagement process from February to April of 2018.

Specifically, the 2018 engagement efforts aimed to:

  • Update the community on the process and decisions made to date
  • Check-in with the community about the feasibility study and recommended option
  • Explore trade-offs and how the community’s values will be reflected in the facility and programming
  • Provide the community with information and check-in expectations about costs

The most recent engagement efforts involved a wide range of strategies for collecting input, including:

  • An online survey (over 1000 responses submitted)
  • Pop-up events (Easter in the Park at Queen’s Park, Centennial Community Centre, Canada Games Pool, Queensborough Community Centre)
  • Three public meetings and workshops
  • Stakeholder workshops (Parks and Recreation Advisory committee, Youth Advisory committee, Multicultural Advisory Committee, Glenbrook GSA, Community and Social Issues Committee, Seniors Advisory Committee, Royal City Curling, Justice Institute, Parks and Recreation Staff, Hyack Swim club, Health community Committee, Access Ability Advisory Committee, New Westminster Fire & Rescue Services, Westminster Judo Club and Judo BC)
  • Various other methods of communication and outreach (social media, fact sheets, postcards, project brochures, sandwich boards, a dedicated project microsite).

A summary of information and the outcomes from the engagement process can be found in the HCMA Public Engagement Report – June2018

The proposed approach for site parking is to consolidate all parking stall requirements for the Future New West Aquatics and Community Centre, as well as the existing Royal City Curling Club (RCC) and Glenbrook Fire Hall No. 1 on the site, through the same access route. The primary vehicular access point will be from Cumberland Street, with a secondary right-in, right out entry/exit from East 6th Avenue. The parking demand study has indicated that the full build-out of program requires approximately 423 spaces. A more comprehensive traffic study will be completed during the next phase of design.

The proposed concept options currently assume the removal and relocation of the existing recycling depot and sports field. The preferred concept, Option 3, cannot accommodate retaining both the sports field and recycling depot, due to insufficient space for a vehicular circulation route. Therefore in all concept options, a multi-level parking structure or below grade parking solution would be required to meet the required parking demand (should the existing sport field be retained on site). This would result in additional project costs – refer to section 5.0 of the Feasibility Study. The City will be conducting community engagement to explore available options for the recycling depot.  The City will look to upgrade an existing grass field to artificial turf to accommodate the sports field users.

Yes. The Mayor’s Task Force confirmed the requirement for the CGP to remain accessible to the community throughout construction until the new facility is operational, and this became a key design parameter. The concept options also consider ways for the CCC to remain operational during the construction, although it was noted that, unlike aquatic uses, there may be opportunities for some of these programs to be temporarily relocated during the construction period (e.g. to the new interim sports facility in Queen’s Park).

Gymnastics programming was not included due to the immediate requirement for gymnastics space and given the earliest completion of a new facility would be in 3+ years. It is also challenging to fit both the gymnastics centre and the additional parking requirements on the site without a structured parking solution. A separate process has now identified an alternative solution through the use of an interim sports facility, located at Queen’s Park that can be constructed quickly and will meet the gymnastics programming requirements.

Most recently, from January to April of 2018, the City of New Westminster led a broad community and stakeholder engagement process. A summary of information and the outcomes from the engagement process will be shared in the coming weeks.

To find all the ways you can be involved in the process moving forward, please visit the Get Involved page.