British Columbia

City of North Vancouver orders more study of recreation centre replacement

"I don't think we're stalling the project. I think the project is moving forward, but we're just taking it in slow steps."

A $237-million rebuild of the Harry Jerome centre was approved by the past council, but is now on pause

A plan to replace the aging Harry Jerome Recreation Centre includes $183 million in funding from Darwin Development, which would lease the existing site to build 802 units of housing. ((City of North Vancouver))

A replacement to an aging recreation centre in North Vancouver is on hold while the city develops a community-wide plan for its recreation facilities. 

The new Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre was approved by council in July 2018 at a cost of $237 million, financed in part through the sale and development of adjacent lands. 

But on Monday, a new council received a staff report confirming all contracts for the facility on hold.  

"I don't think we're stalling the project. I think the project is moving forward, but we're just taking it in slow steps," said Coun. Angela Girard. 

Girard is one of several new councillors — along with Mayor Linda Buchanan — who voted to slow down and possibly scale back the project which at one time was slated to have a 50-metre pool and curling sheets. 

"It's significant, it's the largest investment the city's ever made," she said.

"And I think with the new council and hearing concerns from residents, we were taking a second, sober look."

City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan and a number of new councillors have voted in favour of slowing down the project. (lindabuchananformayor.com)

Split council 

Girard said the city's recreation plan will include "asset mapping" of all spaces in the city. 

However, the former council's approval of the plan came after years of discussion, leaving those who voted in favour disappointed at the delays. 

"It is back to the drawing board. We're set back ten, twelve years now," said Coun. Holly Back, a city hall veteran. 

"The city is not in trouble financially, even if they have to do it in bridge financing. The city has no debt ... and what they're wanting to build is less than what we had in the 1960s."

Last year, the recreation centre was expected to be complete by 2023. Girard declined to say when she thought it would be built under the new timeline. 

"City residents can rest assured that we are doing our very due diligence to have a second look at the project, and really consider all of our recreational assets within the city before we commit to such a major project," she said. 

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