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Coopers Green Hall project edges towards decisions

Coopers Green Hall project edges towards decisions

The fate of the Coopers Green Hall remains with the SCRD board following a Jan. 28 community engagement session that showed neighbourhood support for renovations at that site. At the event, SCRD General Manager of Planning and Community Development Ian Hall explained that earlier in the day, the board endorsed spending up to $138,349 for further design services to see an expansion of the facility at its current location. Despite engaging Principle Architecture as a contractor to do that work, Hall said that decision “does not oblige the SCRD to build the project.”
Follow-up decisions on the use of a $2 million federal/provincial infrastructure grant supplemented by SCRD funding to expand the hall are due in the region’s 2021 budget debate. These are slated for Round Two budget meetings, set to happen in March. Project costs are currently estimated at $3 million. Over $345,000 in funds raised by the Halfmoon Bay Community Association (HBCA) and about $200,000 in contributions secured from area hydro power projects would also need to be used to make the hall renovation a reality.
Along with the more detailed design work, public input on the proposal will continue to be collected via a survey on until Feb. 4. The information assembled from both will be part of a report that will go to the board for consideration later in February.
Analysis of the amount of SCRD funding required to move the project forward is also to be in that report. As project planning has been ongoing since 2017, updates are needed for the design to meet new building code requirements and to address environmental and septic field issues at the site. Current SCRD staff estimates are that between $500,000 and $750,000 in regional funding will be needed. Any SCRD contribution to the project would come from the regional parks function contributed to by taxpayers from all rural areas.
When asked about a decision date, Hall indicated the board had the option to approve the project in the coming months or ask for additional review. If approved at 2021 budget, the proposed expansion of meeting space to 1,800 square feet and addition of a kitchen with commercial components at Coopers Green could be tendered by this summer and see construction start this fall.
That timeframe would be welcomed by many who attended the 90-minute online engagement session. Multiple requests for the SCRD to get on with building the project were voiced. Over three dozen members of the public participated in the event. Some SCRD directors were involved in the proceedings, both listening to the discussions and posing questions.
Hall and Craig Burns, representing Principle Architecture, fielded over 50 questions. These ranged from inquiries about the design and about changes that the project might bring to other areas of Coopers Green Park to concerns about the facility’s location related to sea-level rise. An issue raised multiple times related to the fate of HBCA funds collected specifically for the renovation of the Coopers Green site should the SCRD opt to build at an alternate location. Hall acknowledged that the HBCA fundraising focused on the existing hall and said that a return of those funds to the donors might be necessary if the renovations do not proceed. He stated there were many unknowns related to that type of process.
Hall explained that the grant funding was awarded for use in SCRD Area B but not tied to a specific location, even though the application was based on a design for the Coopers Green site. If an alternate site is approved, Hall said the SCRD would need to work with the granting program to amend the application, which would likely incur additional costs. Hall noted that there are other unknowns related to ongoing operating costs for whatever new hall project the SCRD advances in the Halfmoon Bay area. Connie Jordison

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