The new concession building at Centennial Beach is still ironing out a few wrinkles, but it has been enormously popular.
The building houses washrooms and change rooms as well an eatery called Centennial Beach Café. The café has indoor seating for 16 and outdoor seating for 40.
Costing over $2 million, the long awaited Metro Vancouver facility had a "soft" opening on Father's Day and a full opening July 4.
"Business has been great and for the most part the public has been awesome.
They understand that we opened at a super busy time and it's a new building and we went through our bumps and bruises," said Paul Roberts, a Tsawwassen resident who operates the café.
Those bumps and bruises included computer issues, the refrigeration system shutting down, having to train an entirely new staff during the busiest time of year and running out of product.
One thing Roberts wasn't counting on was having to close for a couple of days after a septic pump failed in the building last Wednesday, resulting in backed up toilets.
"We had some issues and there's continuing issues that you have to sort out with a new building, but we're getting there," Roberts said.
Saying he would have liked to open sooner and
had everything ironed out by Canada Day, Roberts, whose previous experience includes owning a pub and nightclub, noted things are on track after those first few bumpy days.
Saying business has been overwhelming, he plans to also open a full espresso bar and have breakfast items. He said his staff is getting up to speed and he's lucky to have an amazingly hard working group.
Metro Vancouver area parks manager Mitch Sokalski said both the primary and secondary pump system failed last week, but the problem was fixed in time for the building to reopen for the weekend.
He said the building is well utilized and business at the café has been steady, strong and well received.
"We've had several very positive comments about the facility and the food and the operator. We received some comments from people upset we were not open on Canada Day for full servicing," he said.
"Overall, it's thumbs up and people are positive and fairly understanding that you have teething pains at the beginning of opening a new facility."
The new facility paved the way for the regional district to finally shut down the old and dilapidated concession/washroom building at the beach. Fortunately, the old building hasn't been torn down yet as the washrooms there had to re-open when the toilets in the new building backed up.
The old building will be demolished within the next couple weeks, said Sokalski
A regional district news release last week noted the building is a showcase of sustainable technology, including a green roof and solar hot water. The café's food containers and cutlery are made of biodegradable materials, while food waste will be composted and cooking oil will be recycled.
Centennial Beach is municipally-owned land that is leased to Metro Vancouver to manage as part of Boundary Bay Regional Park.
The new concession building is part of a series of improvements in a site master plan approved by Delta.