By Anna Guy
After two years of construction, citizens of the City of Port Coquitlam can celebrate the opening of the highly anticipation Port Coquitlam Community Centre.
Slated to be a showpiece of a town already well known as a family and community-centric place, phase 1 of the 205,000-square-foot facility includes two ice arenas, a library, concession, multi-use spaces, games room and lounge for all ages. A leisure pool and fitness centre will open in early 2020. The second phase of the PCCC will open in 2021, and will include a third ice rink, gymnasium, children’s area, more multi-purpose spaces, outdoor plazas, café, sport courts, and underground parking for 500.
“It’s really going to be an amazing-one-stop-shop community centre,” beams Mayor Brad West. A lifelong resident of Port Coquitlam, West’s mayoral priorities are “to make Port Coquitlam the best place in the province to raise a family.” The PCCC is a vital contribution to that vision.
“With the PCCC, we are really putting this commitment first,” says West. “We look at all our priorities and investments through the lens of what is in the best interest of our residents. I don’t think there is a better place to live in Metro Vancouver than Port Coquitlam. Our council is committed to making significant investments in amenities that are attractive to families, none more significant than the Community Centre.”
Funds for the $132 million project came from various sources; $12.5 million came from the Federal Government, $41.2 million from internal and reserve funds, $52 million was borrowed, and council created a property parcel tax and sold adjacent lands to be redeveloped into multifamily residential buildings.
West believes the PCCC will be another attraction to young families. “Our identity is wrapped in being a really beautiful and safe community where young people raise their families.” About a 30-minute drive outside of Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, while not immune to the surge in real estate prices, enjoys relative affordability in the Metro Vancouver area, something West says is driving more people to the city.
“Our city made a deliberate choice to change the name from recreation centre to community centre because we really view the PCCC as being a community gathering place,” says West. “With the open concept, we’ve created a space for our residents to gather and socialize and take part in activities. We have something for everyone.”.
Port Coquitlam is in development mode, investing another $87 million in capital works dollars. There have been improvements to parks, including the Fox Park playground and Thompson Park ball fields. A new spray park, upgrades to the Centennial outdoor pool, and more LED streetlights around the city to make the streets brighter and safer are just some of the improvements for citizens. “And, of course, we’re spending a significant amount of that $87 million on transportation. There’ll be road upgrades, new sidewalks and multi-use paths, bus stop benches and many other improvements to help drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and transit users,” says West.
A father of a two-year-old, West understands firsthand the positive impact the PCCC will have on families. One can go to a swim lesson, while perhaps another family member can wait in the library, or have a coffee, then all meet again and go to a splash pad, for instance. “I think the connectivity will be spectacular,” says West. “It will provide our residents with a wonderful place to gather, to connect and to celebrate. It will also provide more local job opportunities and be a catalyst for positive transformation in our downtown.”