Downtown New Westminster resembled a cement truck convention on Thursday.
Cement trucks descended on the area around the site of New Westminster's future civic centre.
While a number of footings have already been poured for the future civic centre in the past few weeks, Thursday's pour required a lot of cement. More cement will be poured at the site as the project proceeds, but the June 28 pour was an all-day affair.
"They were pouring all day," said Terry Atherton, the city's manager of civic buildings and properties. "This was a big one."
Atherton said the concrete pour was for the large raft foundation of the office core that extends from the top of the office down to the bottom of the parkade.
"There were about 120 concrete mixer trucks, total volume of concrete was approximately 1,000 cubic metres, with 350 tonnes of rebar," he said. "This will be the largest single pour of concrete on the project. It took approximately 10 hours to complete, even with using three concrete pump trucks."
In addition to being at the civic centre site at Eighth and Columbia, the concrete mixer trucks were staged in front of the Keg, the northbound lane of Eighth Street and Alexander Street.
Work is underway on the $94 million project that includes a civic centre and an office tower. The civic centre will include a 350-seat theatre with flexible seating to accommodate a variety of productions, conference and meeting space, art studios, an art gallery, tourist information centre and the city's museum and the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Several weeks ago, the portion of Columbia Street between Eighth and Begbie streets was closed to traffic for several days so tower cranes could be erected at the civic centre site. The street closure was required because the only way to lay the cranes down flat was to close off a section of Columbia Street.
Atherton said both cranes were placed at the site at the same time to limit the disruption to traffic. At the same time, a large excavator in the "hole" at the civic centre site was removed because it's no longer needed.
The crane now located on the east end of the site has a hook that's about 170 feet high, while the crane on the west side of the construction site has a hook that's about 230 feet high. The crane on the east side has a higher load capacity.
The $94 million project being undertaken by the City of New Westminster includes $41.5 million for the civic centre, $12.5 million of the underground parking structure and $40 million for the office development. Casino revenues, debt financing, and reserves will fund the project.
The city announced April 30 that it would proceed with construction of the office tower component of the new multiuse civic centre facility on Columbia Street. Although the Uptown Property Group had planned to build the office tower, it later withdrew from the project.
Mayor Wayne Wright says the city isn't rushing to find a partner for its civic centre project.
"We are not rushing on that. What we are doing is making sure we are building it properly," he told The Record. "It is in good shape. Everything is right on schedule."
Wright is confident in the city's decision to move forward on construction of the office tower and the city's ability to lease or sell the office space.
"Sites like this are gems," he said. "There are not many of them around. We are right on SkyTrain, we are right in a downtown. We have to makes sure ours is the best - that is what we are working toward."