Monday, November 14, 2011

Harry Jerome Recreation Centre

Is the current Harry Jerome Recreation Centre really a fitting tribute to Harry Jerome, one of our community’s heroes?

This is a decision for the whole community to make together. That is why I wanted Harry Jerome to be a referendum issue in this election. That is why we must restart our community engagement process.

The Harry Jerome Recreation Centre has almost reached the end of its normal life span and is badly in need of a major renovation or replacement.

A new recreation centre will:

· Last for at least 50 years, before a major renovation.
· Combine the activities from six older buildings into fewer more efficiently organized buildings.
· Save energy and use sustainable building materials and methods.
· Can be built while the old building continues to service the needs of the community.
· Increase the safety and security of both staff and our community users.
· Be eligible for senior government funding.

A renovated recreation centre will:

· Last for about 20 years.
· Use the present configuration of six buildings.
· Not meet our energy usage targets and will increase future energy bills.
· Cost 2/3 the price of a new recreation centre.

Additionally, the present building is not up to modern seismic standards. If Harry Jerome was a school, it would have been already closed as unsafe. We are being irresponsible by not acting quickly to replace this recreation centre. The buildings are also full of asbestos which makes it hard to renovate, very expensive.

This is too important a decision for Council to make without extensive public input.

We need a Harry Jerome we can all be proud of!

Bob Fearnley


Anonymous said...

Quit spending money on propellers. The money spent on the maritime museum was wasted and tax payers will continue to pay for the fallout. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

Anonymous said...

It was not the City that failed to deliver the NMC; the Province made their financial support contingent on federal support. The Tories dithered so long that by the time they were prepared to commit their share, the Province backed out. In retrospect it looks like political gamesmanship. Both senior levels of government have funds for dubious projects like prisons and stadium roofs, not to mention payouts to convicted political operatives, Basi and Virk and $30 million to Boss Power. Now back to the topic of HJ.

Pam Bookham said...

"This is a decision for the whole community to make together."

I couldn't agree more, Bob. Shutting down the discussion of this important project for a year shows a lack of leadership and a lack of respect for people and the democratic process.

Anonymous said...

Fearnley ... past his expiry date.
Aren't you the one with the highest expenses every year? The one who never misses a chance to jet off to Chiba?

You want to build on the precious fields across the street form HJ?
You did not listen to us locals when we told you what we want ... selective hearing BOB?

Anonymous said...

The Feds committed and the Province backed out.

Pam Bookham said...

The feds committed after a very long delay and may well have known the Liberals would not honour their commitment. In the end, we got photo ops all round but no National Maritime Centre.

Which suggests to me that the best way to move forward with HJ is to elect a majority who are committed to an open and broad consultation with all of the interested citizens of the both the City and the District with everything on the table. We should have been discussing funding options. We should have been idenfiying appropriate development opportunities throughout the City. We should have been comparing the costs of various scenarios. We should have been discussing potential tradeoffs with the District. We should have had a referendum question on the ballot.

Instead of having that discussion, four members of City Council shut the process down. The leadership on this project will have to come from both Councils. You know where the incumbents stand. You have less than a week to find out where the other candidates stand.

Anonymous said...

Which members of council want to sell off our public space to develop this? We're losing too much open space as it is, so I'd rather see HJ rebuilt without losing the running track or bowling green. If that means shutting down the facility for a couple of years for construction so be it. That's a small price to pay to keep our open space open to its owners.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:30: You truly capture the argument against a new HJ. You would rather the entire community be denied community, aquatic, ice and fitness for years than to see the field and bowling green relocated in the overall footprint.
Doesn't make sense to me.

The HJ project has been stifled for small minded political purposes.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:30: You truly capture the argument against a new HJ. You would rather the entire community be denied community, aquatic, ice and fitness for years than to see the field and bowling green relocated in the overall footprint.
Doesn't make sense to me.

The HJ project has been stifled for small minded political purposes.

Anonymous said...

I never said I was against a new facility. I'm not enamoured of the idea of selling off our open playing fields to a developer in exchange for a new facility and all the condos that will come with it. Now don't get me wrong, I am not anti-development. Far from it. I'm just not convinced that we should be trading our remaining open recreation space to achieve our goals. As I said, I'm okay with shutting down the existing facility while construction takes place. Whether that be a new facility or a renovated one remains to be seen. Both options are possible but I'm not sure that we have a council with enough imagination to see that. I'd like to see an open competition for design proposals. I can guarantee that if this exercise were put to the local Architects, we'd see some very imaginative proposals.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunatly Bob and Guy don't consider tennis courts, gravel fields or lawn bowling as green space or see the value that they bring to the whole community. Those who attended the meetings at Harry Jerome heard Bob say over and over how Sutherland field with it's expensive upgrade replaced Norseman Park so it was not neccesary to keep it. Sadly the councilors who had an identity for listening to the Community are now choosing to listen to a certain few (ie. the district and the 50 metre pool group). What happened to the City residents that voted them in? Pam, Bob and Guy you are now no different then the ones you criticize.

Michael Charrois said...

I support building a new recreation complex with space for the Circus School.

Pam Bookham said...

Everything on the table means just that. There are so many possibilites that need to be given due consideration by the community as a whole. I am committed to exporing the implications of them all with the community. I have drawn no conclusions. What are the trade-offs? What are the costs. If we agree there should be no net loss of green space, can we at least consider the merits the various sites? If we do keep Norseman Park exactly as it is, does it mean we have to keep the parking lot north of it? There is so much we need to discuss before we begin to make final decisions.

Guy Heywood said...

I obviously have a real passion for this topic. And its too bad so many interest groups have jumped to conclusions (no pun intended Flicka...well maybe just a small one) about how they were affected and grabbed on to a false promise given to them by certain Councillors only too happy to give them out. As far I can tell there is an agenda to fence this project in with as many false promises and 'not to be touched' conditions that nothing gets done at all and the facilities continue to crumble.

Anyone can do the math on the green space issue and see that when you consolidate 4 old buildings into one better organized new one AND put parking underground you will end up with MORE green space than you had before. Maybe in different places....but more. (See my blog on the topic:

Not to mention that the 4 existing buildings (HJ, Memorial, Mickey McD, Silver Harbour) are all more expensive to operate and way less functional than we need. I am surprised that we continue to dupe the District into paying 2/3rds higher operating and 'end of life maintenance' costs that are the result of the City not being able to get its act together.

The whole cost could be paid out of any one of the following: 1)reserves, 2) borrowing or 3) amenity charges on developments at HJ or across the city. Obviously it be some combination of these various sources that would be used, not just one of them.

Borrowing rates are at 100 year lows and construction costs are reasonable.

If we were moving forward, there could even be some assistance from neighbouring or senior levels of government to build out the new HJ with a bigger pool or larger gym than is strictly required to meet the needs of the community.

Are you listening Aquatic Users and Flicka? You know the the City taxpayers by themselves are not going to pay for purpose built facilities beyond what the community needs. But I think they would be happy to build larger or better if the there as some help with the additional cost involved.

This will be a once in 50 year opportunity in the City of North Van to do something like this. No handouts - which you weren't expecting anyway - but lots of hands up if you bring something to the party.

The City makes a big virtue out of the fact that it doesn't borrow and has disproportionately high reserves than other municipalities. There is no virtue there. We all borrow as part of the Muncipal Finance Authority and to the extent we are 'better' than average we are just subsidizing the construction of public facilities in some other municipality where the Council and the planners work harder to make the quality of life in the community better instead of gloating about how much money they keep in the bank earning these low historically low interest rates.

To change this and build a new Harry Jerome would take positive leadership and we are sadly lacking in that department.

sue lakes cook said...

How about public forums throughout both the City and District so there is more opportunity for the public as a whole to get all the sides of this issue?

Anonymous said...

Guy stupid do you think the voters are? The ones who saw the Charrettes saw that ALL of the McDougall Field, tennis courts and the centre were going to be turned into apartments. Richard White and Gary (City Staff) and the subpar Consulting team they hired stated clearly in ALL the meetings that the City must sell off as much as possible to make this project doable! And you not realize we ALL understand that they would NOT replace the field from Norseman were the current HJ sits. Even the Counsulting team and City Staff said that would NOT would end up a 'mixed use' playground. We are not building a Hospital here....this is a swimming pool we are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Wish some candidates would spend the energy they seem to have so much of on more serious topics such as density, affordable housing, the social issues the youth on the North Shore are experiencing to name a few. Pam, Bob and Guy please start focusing again on the topics that impact our daily lives and your desperate battle to get relected.

Anonymous said...

That is certainly a biased comment. Is the Mayor dealing with those issues? His answer in an ACM about affordable housing, was that the definition is 30% of income - when will he pull his head out of the sand? In Vancouver the consensus is that most people spend up to 70%. What solutions is he providing? His answer about staff salaries and the appalling increase in expenses is that the staff work hard. So? Time for a change!!!!! We need positive leadership. The report from staff about HJ was misguided to say the least, and again all for the developers.

Anonymous said...

Rebuild or renovate BUT leave the Park and fields alone. The City's own Master Parks Plan says -Page 40 –
“The City will need to work hard to retain a sufficient supply of parkland, given increasing densities and limited availability of land.”

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:10, send your topics to to start a new discussion thread.

Pam Bookham said...

“The City will need to work hard to retain a sufficient supply of parkland, given increasing densities and limited availability of land.”

Anonymous 7:52 meet Guy Heywood.

"Anyone can do the math on the green space issue and see that when you consolidate 4 old buildings into one better organized new one AND put parking underground you will end up with MORE green space than you had before. Maybe in different places....but more. (See my blog on the topic:"

Imagine the breadth of community discussion we might have had in the last year if we had a Mayor who could actually deliver on the promise of "positive leadership" and "respect" for all points of view.

Anonymous said...

"Green space . . . maybe in different places . . but more".

EXACTLY the point . . we don't want to trade a large open park to be cut up into little jigsaw pieces and dropped here and there all over the community. We have many little mini pocket green spaces right now but very few wide open large spaces. Hands off our North Van City Parks ! Figure out another way to fund HJC and leave the park and field alone!

Anonymous said...

8.54am.. you sound entrenched and not willing to consider options .. too bad for everybody who doesn't align with your views

Paulette said...

Pam, Bob and Guy,
How can you say that the HJ needs to be razed and rebuilt - before you've meaningfully engaged the public? In fact the referendum question was a joke - build new or renovate - because the voters do not have any information about options, costs and timelines. The discussions at council were a farce and only served to polarize the members.
The reality is that you three are intent on building new and in order to do this are prepared to horse trade with developers in exchange for 800,000 square feet of high-rise density. You were all part of that until we, the people, brought in delegations to council and stopped you in your tracks. It is premature for you or any other council member to prescribe remedies for HJ until you have a meaningful public consultation process. So stop grandstanding Bob; quit flip-flopping Pam; and get your story straight Guy. We are the people and whether its before or after the election, you will have to hear us. Count on it.

Paulette said...

I live near the Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre, which some present councillors would like rebuilt at a cost of $60 million. In their view, the funds would come from selling Norsemen field and track and other parkland to developers who would be allowed to construct a village of high rises and townhouses with about 800,000 square feet of new residential units.

As municipal elections approach, one lesson learned is that a good councillor is one who can listen to residents rather than one who tries to impose what he/she thinks is "best" for the citizenry.

When neighborhood residents appeared before council to ask for consideration of renovation of Harry Jerome rather than a $60 million rebuild, they were met with counter-arguments and glares of contempt. We tried to be helpful, pointing out that University of British Columbia is renovating its aging buildings with a projected savings of $470 million over the period of 2004 to 2023. We told council how Chilliwack did a major renovation of a substandard recreation centre for $9 million. We provided the name and contact information for the Chilliwack project manager. We were not thanked for our efforts, but told flatly by the pro-development councillors that renovation is impossible. We were never told why. We also asked for financial information to assure that in the case of developer default, we city taxpayers would not end up with an Olympic Village North Vancouver scenario. We never received that information.

Listen to what candidates are saying, but keep an eye out as well for how receptive they are to citizen opinions because, in the end, that is what will count.

Rosemary Eng, North Vancouver

Read more:

Tony Simon said...

The first thing that strikes me when reading opinion pieces from the "park pavers" (Bookham, Fearnley, Heywood) is how not one of them acknowledges the difference between a park and a green space.

They all need to learn to respect the word and concept "PARK" (part of the Official Community Plan), and to distinguish it from "green space" that could be whatever developers tell them it would be...

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for Counsellors Bookham, Fearnley, Heywood - if we lose the track at Norseman Field, the bowling greens and tennis courts as well as the fields adjacent McDougall, what guarantee do we have that they will be replaced within the scheme of a new HJ? Will they be relocated as near to their present locations as possible? Will we even see a running track, tennis courts and bowling green in the new scheme? These are all facilities used by people in the central Lonsdale neighbourhood. Will they stay in the neighbourhood, or will we be forced to get in our cars to go elsewhere? We've already lost the fields associated with the now gone Lonsdale Elementary School. How many more of our fields are you prepared to trade to get what you want?

We need to see options and then those options need to go to referendum. Stop paying for a single consultant to develop these options - open it up to an open call for proposals. Why pay a consultant, when we can get more (and probably better) ideas from our local design and construction community in the form of competition? Come on folks get with the program!

Pam Bookham said...

Tony, Paulette, Rosemary and others: your comments serve to reinforce the main message: we, the community as a whole needs to have a conversation. That is exaclty what Guy, Bob and I have advocated consistantly.

It troubles me greatly that you are perpetuating a scenario that none of us has advocated: that the renewal of HJ must be financed by creating 800,000 square feet of density in the form of highrises in the immediate vicinity. This is fearmongering and serves no useful purpose. I heard Councillor Keating say the same thing on CBC today. Now I wonder who might benefit by whipping up this frenzy of misinformation?

Paulette said...

You say you are open to public consultation but you have already made up your mind that HJ must be a new building. So do you think the consultation should only be about where the new building will be situated how we will pay for it? Not good enough!

And for the record, we are supporting candidates who we believe are independent and critical thinkers because there will be a lot more issues coming to the City than just one 60-year old recreation centre. God help us if we get another polarized council.

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about misinformation fearmongering.. it's too bad that the Council delegation appearance was so mishandled because once again, there are things behind the scenes with planning and staff. And it's easy to make promises for some councillors - the ones that you say are independent but funnily enough are all the CUPE group that you support. If only we had a Mayor that provided leadership. Critical thinkers, give me a break.

Anonymous said...

When and where did Pam/Bob/Guy say that they supported only new? They have said that proper consultation needs to be done with the community and costs established. Talk about civility and polarizing behaviour being advocated by this group around HJ.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:42:00 PM, wake up and read Bob's article from which this discussion is based. He's very clear in what he wrote that he prefers a new building over a renovation. Further read Guy's post at 12:05 AM and pay particular attention to his last paragraph. And I've seen no evidence that Pam supports a renovation - she really hasn't specifically stated what her preference would be or how she would vote. How are we to trust any of these politicians if they don't let us know exactly where they stand?

Anonymous said...

Judging by the pace of the city hall renovations does the city have the resources and expertise to take on a project like HJRC, I think not.

Tony Simon said...

“For starters I recommend that the "park pavers" (Bookham, Fearnley, Heywood) take the time to study and respect the City's Official Community Plan and the Parks Master Plan Review.

Here are a couple of quotes that show how offside their current opinions are:

"The City's Official Community Plan outlines the long range vision for the City, as well as the role that parks and open space play in creating a more liveable, sustainable community."

"The City will need to work hard to retain a sufficient supply of parkland, given increasing densities and limited availability of land."

sue lakes cook said...

The question is how much all the new condos and high rises are going to cost? If North Vancouver real estate keeps going sky high it is very doubtful you will have young families and seniors wealthy enough to live here.
The question then becomes, who the heck will use the facilities, and what kind of facilites will be needed by an extremely wealthy, probably mainly childess community?

Anonymous said...

Once again, no one has said there will be a net decrease in park land, it may just look different.

Anonymous said...

And no one has said that playing fields will be replaced with playing fields. I think there is a very real concern that playing fields will be replaced with small, useless pocket parks scattered across the city. We should be focused on keeping/maintaining our open spaces. Remember they belong to us, the citizens, and we should have a voice in their fate. They do not belong to a handful of counsel members to do with as they will.

Tony Simon said...

to 800am Anonymous:
Have you read the City's Master Parks Plan?
Do you understand what a park is? (let me answer both questions for you - obviously 'no').

Anonymous said...

Can the councillors tell me what the purpose is of an Official Community Plan if it can't be relied upon or is constantly being revised? Why spend the City's time or money on doing it at all? I thought the purpose was to give assurance to the City's residents of a stable, reliable blueprint where SOME areas (such as Parks, playing fields, transportation hubs, commercial areas) would be designated as "set" with minor revisions okayed around that "set" OCP. To constantly revise the OCP with unexpected "mega-complexes" undercuts the confidence of residents as they make decisions to purchase property based on their preferred neighbourhood lifestyle choices and leads to division, angst and community neighbour conflicts.

Anonymous said...

The OCP is not a static document. It plainly says as much within its body.

Anonymous said...

To quote from the City's website:

"The OCP is intended to provide a degree of certainty for the future of our community. As a result, it is expected that revisions will not be made on a frequent basis".

"Once adopted, all other municipal bylaws and works undertaken by the City must be consistent with the Plan."

"The 1991 Parks and Recreation Master Plan identified parkland deficiencies in Lower Lonsdale, Moodyville, Central
Lonsdale, and Lonsdale above the Upper Levels Highway. These deficiencies were not for parkland
in general, but for a specific type – flat, active play space in the neighbourhood park scale (3-5 acres)."

Tony Simon said...

Anonymous 12:10pm, who obviously lets opinion get in the way of logic and either can't or won't read, just got obliterated by Anonymous 3:33pm.

To Anonymous 3:33pm ~ congratulations.

To Anonymous 12:10pm ~ please read and think before you post time-wasting drivel.

Anonymous said...

Rod Clark has just posted some very interesting statistics on the website under the heading Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

3.6% growth last year. 2nd highest of BC municipalities.

Not what we're planning for.

Tony Simon said...

Referring to HJ but applicable to everything in the CNV: Here is a quote from Guy Heywood's website that has the potential to be acceptable to almost everyone. All it needs is one common sense addition.

“The whole cost could be paid out of any one of the following: 1) reserves, 2) borrowing or 3) amenity charges on developments at HJ or across the city. Obviously it would be some combination of these various sources that would be used, not just one of them.”
The common sense addition: "...and PARKS are NOT on the table." How about it, Guy?

Anonymous said...

Anon Wednesday, November 16, 2011 3:33:00 PM,
If you're going to quote the OCP, don't just pick and chose what suits you. Where it does say:

"The OCP is intended to provide a degree of certainty for the future of our community. As a result, it is expected that revisions will not be made on a frequent basis".

You failed to include the rest of the paragraph that says:

"Changes are warranted from time to time however, and it must be expected that revisions will occur. Like the community, it must be flexible in responding to changing conditions and values.

Additionally, the current OCP was intended to take us to 2007, so we are in fact past due for a review and update of the document.

So I stand by what I said about the OCP not being a static document.

Tony Simon, you're free to apologize now. And I would suggest that you read the document in question before accusing others of being unfamiliar with it. Have a lovely evening.

Tony Simon said...

trodstto Anon 656pm: no apology warranted. Your posting "The OCP is not a static document. It plainly says as much within its body." was absolutely inappropriate as an answer to Anonymous 11:32am.

Anonymous said...

How was it inappropriate? The OCP is not a static document and I provided the portion of the OCP that say as much.

Anonymous said...

In fact, I am not Mr. Simon and my residence is on E. 14th so not technically the HJC area, however, I am near the Safeway site. The OCP has more than one challenged area.

To re-iterate the quote from the City's website: "The OCP is intended to provide a degree of certainty for the future of our community. As a result, it is expected that revisions will not be made on a frequent basis".

There was no claim that revisions could not be made but what is the point of an OCP if it is significantly changed and recommendations (ie. height restrictions) are ignored or precious parks are lost?

With growth at 3.6% last year (over 3X what we were told) and no respect for the OCP, I fear we City residents will have mostly concrete and buildings jammed tight into our neighbourhoods.

Anonymous said...

If you missed the CBC interview with Bob Fearnley and Craig Keating go to
Bob has also posted photos showing why we need to move quickly on renewing HJ.

Anonymous said...

How much have all these estimates

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