I know some people out there aren’t on board with the City of New Westminster’s decision a while back to purchase the land along the waterfront of the Fraser River. But, like the Olympics, the decision was made, it’s inevitable, and you either have to quietly rage about it or just get on with trying to enjoy it.
Admittedly, I’ve always been one of the supporters of the decision to purchase the land and do something – anything – with it. I can’t stand looking at the wasteland that is that stretch of the Fraser, and I can’t stand the idea that it was just going to sit there and rot. So, I’ve always been “Yay City!” about the whole thing. Yes, I know it cost a lot of money. But so does more or less anything these days, and the addition of park space is win win.
So when we here at Tenth to the Fraser got an email from the very helpful Carolyn Armanini from the Planing Department at the City, with info about the open houses and links and all sorts of other stuff, I had to drop what I was doing and go have a good look.
Here’s a page with all sorts of linky goodness about the project. The important info missing from that page is that there is an Open House and Workshop to finalize the Park Master Plan scheduled for March 17th, 2010 and if you want to have questions answered or find out more or have your say, that’s your chance to do it.
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Time: Open House 4:30-6:00 pm (drop-in, Front foyer)
Workshop 6:00-8:30 pm (Council Chamber)
Location: City Hall, 511 Royal Avenue, New Westminster
Now. Let’s talk about the design. Here’s the current proposed design concept and rationale, and if you go and have a look at that, you’ll see a few interesting things. They’re running with a thematic design of three areas: “Front Porch”, “City Living Room”, and “City Play Room” (check out page 11 of the proposed design package), with activities and structures to accommodate that theme. They’ve incorporated historical elements, ecological elements and places for festivals or play. Can you imagine a summer music festival there? Where you can bring your kids and play at the playground as the sounds of music and the river fill the air?
I grew up on the Island, and Nanaimo has Swy-a-lana Lagoon near the centre of the city as their nod to an oceanfront town. Swy-a-lana is always busy and features, among other things, a tidal pool, terraced tidal steps, lawns for bocce and other games, and a playground. It’s always been a nice, downtown park in a city laid out like a hub.
But New Westminster is a riverfront city, first and foremost, and the Westminster Pier Park design reflects that. First, and most obviously, it’s on the river. Second, it contains elements of history, ecology, and the future. And third, its proposed elements are actually useful – playing fields, water parks, day moorage places, children’s play areas… these are all things the City desperately needs more of as the demographic of New Westminster changes.
Today, I’m in love with my city.
What do you think?