Photo by Jaana Björk
Like a child on Christmas morning, baby boomers will have extra incentive to wake up early next Monday.
The much-anticipated opening of Richmond’s newest recreation complex, Minoru Centre for Active Living, is set for 7 a.m. March 11. But while the facility’s seniors and events centres will be open, the aquatics and fitness centres won’t quite be ready.
During commissioning work, it was discovered that the concrete base had shifted on one of the six pools. As a result, opening of the aquatics centre has been postponed to allow for necessary repairs. An assessment is underway to determine the scope of the repairs and how long the process will take.
The seniors’ centre addresses the city’s fastest-growing segment and nearly 30 per cent of the Canadian population. Those born between 1946 and 1964 will have a cornucopia of services from which to choose.
Constructed over two storeys, the new seniors centre will provide double the program space of the existing Minoru Place Activity Centre, which will be repurposed to provide additional space for arts and community programs. This will primarily address programs that have outgrown available capacity at Richmond Cultural Centre.
The Minoru Seniors Society will deliver a comprehensive and expanded range of programs and services.
While seniors are sure to be pleased, so too will the remainder of Richmondites who will have access to many more sport and fitness pursuits. The new facility will have a 8,500-square-foot fitness centre, sport programming and support space, a full-service cafeteria and bistro, commercial kitchen, three new outdoor public plazas and two public art installations.
The events centre within the facility will also open on March 11. It includes eight team rooms and a multipurpose space for sport field and other users. The events centre supports tournaments and activities on the adjacent artificial turf fields, Clement Oval and other park facilities. The City previously completed redevelopment of artificial turf fields, field lighting and other sports fields within Minoru Park as part of this project. An opening for the aquatics and fitness centres within the complex will be announced once confirmed. In the interim, regular aquatics programs will continue to be scheduled at Minoru Aquatic Centre. Refunds will be available for those who registered in anticipation of the programs being offered in the new facility.
Mayor Malcolm Brodie said the facility will provide a major expansion of seniors services, aquatics and other sport and recreation services for the community.
“With its outstanding array of services, iconic design and prominent location in the heart of Richmond, the Minoru Centre for Active Living will quickly become one of the jewels of our community,” said Brodie.
One of the most anticipated features of the $79 million complex is a new aquatics centre. With six bodies of water, including Canada’s largest hot tub, the aquatics centre will provide 60 per cent more surface water area than the current Minoru Aquatic Centre while helping to address the needs of the current and growing population. A standing council motion to decommission and demolish the aquatics centre. However, some councillors have expressed interest in retaining the building to meet other community needs.
“Staff are working on a council referral to provide low-cost options to keep at least part of the building operable,” explained city spokesperson Ted Townsend, noting the referral is only to provide costs for consideration.
Townsend said the aquatics centre site is also designated as a special study area within the Minoru Park Plan in terms of its future use. Staff brought forward a proposed Minoru Park Vision plan last year, which was referred back with a request to look at a number of vision plan components, including potential future land use for the special study area. Reports on both referrals are expected to come back to council in the near future.