A November target for a decision on proceeding to the design phase for a community hall at Connor Park has been set.
That’s according to a report on the Sept. 28 Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) committee of the whole meeting agenda. Along with providing rural area directors, who will vote on that issue, timeline and background work updates, it shares input received during recent community engagement efforts on that $4.5 million project.
An on-site event held June 21 generated 94 of the 129 public submissions included in the report. The rest were collected through comment opportunities hosted at two local farmers' market sessions and in response to project information displays in SCRD recreation facilities open in July and August.
About a third of the input cited in the report was supportive of locating a new hall at Connor Park. Questions about different aspects of building on that property, a preference for the project to be constructed at Coopers Green and concerns about processes, were the focus of the remainder.
“The feedback that was received highlighted the desire for the space to facilitate community activities. From seniors fitness to Girl Guides, the new hall should provide space for community groups to provide services to residents. There was a sense of excitement around the potential to host activities and events within the community. In addition to the opportunities presented by the new facility, concerns about the impact on the neighbours were raised as well as the impact of increased traffic on the park and nearby roads,” was the report's summary of the community input.
Planning work proceeding
The report states a land area survey, geotechnical and environmental site investigations as well as a project location review by the shíshálh Nation have been undertaken. “The initial work to ensure the suitability of the project location within Connor Park has found no significant obstacles to the success of this project," it says.
Still pending are a decision from the Agricultural Land Commission on an application for a "non-farm use" exemption for a Connor Park site and finalization of project discussions with School District No. 46 and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The report does not mention (and Coast Reporter is awaiting confirmation) if a Canada Infrastructure Program grant extension to use $2 million in funding up to March 2027 has been granted. Another grant condition the SCRD is seeking to renegotiate is the requirement that the existing hall at Coopers Green be demolished.
If the replacement project goes ahead, a construction start date in late 2024 has been projected.
In March (and re-confirmed on April 9), the SCRD board voted to relocate the Halfmoon Bay community hall replacement project to Connor Park, with a proposed budget of $3.5 million for that build and $0.7 million for Coopers Green park enhancements.
The SCRD released design plans for a replacement of the existing Coopers Green Hall location in March 2018. In July 2020, the federal grant was announced and in 2021 the board approved spending of $3.1 million on that build. That budget was bumped up to $4.5 million in May 2022 but those plans were abandoned that October, after concerns related to sea-level rise at that site were identified.