During Burnaby City Council’s meeting on September 11, councillors voted unanimously to keep City Hall in its present location at 4949 Canada Way. In recent weeks, news of the Council’s plans to move the City Hall to Civic Square in Metrotown sparked public backlash due to concerns about the estimated $852M cost and the closure of the Burnaby Public Library during its construction.
Instead of moving forward with the plans to build a new City Hall, council members voted to renovate and expand the current building to make it more seismically safe while accommodating all staff members. Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley said that a new City Hall is not a want, it is a need, adding that plans for a new City Hall began after council discovered the current building is not sound enough for new energy-efficient windows. The proposed move to Civic Square in Metrotown would have cost an estimated $852 million due to planned additional programming at the new City Hall.
In voting to support the motion to keep Burnaby City Hall at its present location, Councillor Alison Gu added it is necessary to consider the impact of libraries and their importance to the community. If the city had moved forward with the plan to relocate City Hall to Metrotown, it would have been necessary to close Burnaby Public Library, Bob Prittie Metrotown branch during construction. This comes after the library’s closure for several months during renovations following a fire in June 2022.
Other councillors added that City Hall is currently in a central and logical location for Burnaby. In addition, it is possible to repurpose empty concrete spaces such as extra parking lots to extend the current buildings and accommodate City Hall staff. Mayor Hurley added that the new City Hall will not be a tower as some local residents had feared, rather it will be a campus-like site. At the time of writing, a full estimate of the renovation costs is still pending.
Lubna El Elaimy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Burnaby Beacon