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Incoming SCRD Board to decide on Coopers Green hall replacement location

Board voted to defer consideration to sometime between Nov. 10 and 24.
Coopers Green design
Preliminary designs of the Coopers Green replacement hall by Principle Architecture.

It will be mid-November before a decision about exploring alternate locations for the Coopers Green Hall replacement will be made by the Sunshine Coast Regional District board.

A report asking for direction on further study to continue planning for construction at the site of the current hall given climate change challenges, study new siting or undertaking both came before the board at its Oct. 13 meeting. The board voted to defer consideration to sometime between Nov. 10 and 24. It is to be scheduled after the Nov. 10 inaugural meeting, which will include election of a new chair for the 2022 to 2026 board. The item may be slated for discussion at a yet-to-be-scheduled special meeting or at the new board’s first business meeting, set for Nov. 24.

Departing directors defer

Halfmoon Bay (Area B) director Lori Pratt suggested the deferral to ensure those newly elected to represent the community on Oct. 15 could vote on those decisions. That board will include Pratt's replacement, to be elected, in the area where the project is to be located.

Gibsons director, mayor Bill Beamish, who is not seeking re-election in his community and therefore not returning to the board, also spoke in favour of deferral.  He noted that he was opposed to the project based on escalating costs, but that the new Gibsons director, and the new directors who will join the board from Roberts Creek and West Howe Sound should be included in any decisions on its future. 

Board representatives from Sechelt will also not be confirmed until after the Oct. 15 voting.

Decision impacts project timeframe

General manager of community services, Shelley Gagnon advised the board that there were “time pressures” around the decision. Delays in site selection could put project completion within the approved $4.5 million budget and before the March 2025 deadline attached to the $2 million federal grant received for the project at risk. She noted that a one-year extension to the grant deadline may be a possibility. The construction timeline offered in the report estimated that if direction on location finalization was provided and no other construction delays were encountered, completion was anticipated in Nov. 2026. 

Community consultation favoured putting the new facility at the Coopers Green Hall site. In July 2022, a review of the 2017 geotechnical report for the site indicated the design did not meet updated flooding hazard and recommended setbacks from the ocean. Design modifications to respect those were anticipated to drastically increase construction costs.

The decision for the new board will be whether to undertake further mitigation study and cost estimates to build at or near the current hall location or to authorize site analysis to locate the facility on Connor Park, Lohn Road Park or the upper parking lot at Coopers Green Park before making a final siting decision. Doing both sets of actions is another option.

Stating her appreciation for staff doing “the prudent thing” by asking for a decision at the earliest opportunity, Area E Director Donna McMahon said, “I favour deferring…I also have considerable concerns about escalating costs.”