Burnaby to look at new uses for Bonsor space
The City of Burnaby is looking at potential new uses for space at Bonsor Recreation Complex when the seniors centre vacates it late next year.
That's when the Bonsor seniors centre will be moving into a purpose-built, 8,200-square-foot facility next to the Chancellor at Metrotown highrise residential development at Bennett Street and Nelson Avenue, on the former Kal Tire site.
The developer, Polygon, is building the two-storey facility as a community amenity in exchange for bonus density the city granted for the condo project.
The move, in the fall of 2013 at the earliest, will free up about 3,300 square feet on the upper floor of Bonsor and the parks and recreation department will spend about $150,000 to redesign the space.
Staff are currently analyzing the space and the centre's needs before an architect begins work in the fall figuring out how to accommodate those needs, said Wendy Scott, Burnaby's assistant director of recreation.
Bonsor is 115,000 square feet in total, including the pool and the space used by the Burnaby Metro Club. It's heavily used, so the freed up area is a "great opportunity," said Scott, who stressed they'll be looking for the most flexible uses of the space.
Options being considered include using the space to offer programs that have proven highly popular at other centres, such as the cycling studio at Cameron Rec Centre, that require dedicated space, she said.
Other needs include additional room for popular offerings such as zumba classes and table tennis and small spaces for music lessons. Social space and a springwood floor for fitness classes and dances are also ideas being tossed about based on patron feedback.
The architect will look into the costs of different options and the technical aspects. For instance, Scott said, if the space is used for physical activity, they'll have to figure out how to provide air conditioning since the current HVAC system is not capable of accommodating another 2,000 square feet, the amount of space required for fitness or dance activities.
Once the studies determine what makes sense and what the city can afford, open houses will be held for public input, late this fall, she said.
As for the seniors centre, its more than 2,000 members will continue to use the main Bonsor rec centre for its more active programs, but the new, larger space on Bennett Street will allow it to expand its programming.