Can we do something with the giant paved lot near Westminster Pier Park (where the shipping container W is)? It’s such a waste of space. Westminster Pier Park is amazing but i think the area could really use more grass space to lay down, play some bocce, toss a football around etc…Another suggestion would be providing additional basketball court(s), tennis courts. There is a real dearth of outdoor sport facilities in the downtown area. Could this empty lot not be temporarily re-purposed into any of these things rather than just the empty black surface it is now? Love what the city has done by putting volleyball courts adjacent to that lot, but are there plans to re-purpose the other lot as well?
We call that part of the park the “Timber Wharf”. My understanding of the history of the space (and this was before my time on Council) is that it was originally going to be programmed as part of the Pier Park project, but that got scaled back during the park development because of unexpected environmental remediation costs that stressed the budget, and generally unfavorable geotechnical assessments for that part of the wharf. The underpinnings are not in great shape, and are going to need some repairs and upgrades before the space is permanently programmed or anything heavy is placed on it, hence the temporary installations there now.
The longer-term plan is to program that space, which will make it more amenable for some of the uses you describe, but I think the priorities for spending right now are in trying to connect the park to the east to complete that part of the waterfront connection to Sapperton Landing and the Brunette River. The capital cost of upgrading the timber wharf isn’t in the budget right now, so I suspect the “permanent” fix is going to have to wait a few years.
In the shorter term, I would love to hear suggestions about temporary programming. We are pretty limited in regards to installing anything of significant mass (the engineering hassles with WOW New West were… substantial), and are even unlikely to be able to smooth the asphalt surface much, but paint and temporary installations are possible if we can find a bit of room the Parks budget.
This also gives me a chance to promote two cool things going on in that area in the very short term – like right now!.
Through a partnership with Live 5-2-1-0, Kids New West, Fraser Health, and School District 40, a Play box is being installed at the Timber Wharf. This is a box full of toys, balls, and outdoor games to help kids get active and have fun in the relatively un-programmed space. It is free to use, and will be opened every morning and re-secured at night. This is the first time this public playbox program has come to New West, although it has been successful in a few other nearby municipalities. If you have kids, take them down and see what may emerge!
There is no better time to go down to the Timber Wharf and check it out than during the Pier2Landing street party coming up on June 19th. We are going to be encouraging people to take advantage of the currently-closed stretch of Front Street that connects the east end of the Pier Park with the west end of Sapperton Landing Park. There will be live entertainment and arts and booths and a BBQ and the usual street festival stuff, but there will also be a lot of open road space on Front where you can bring your own entertainment (road hockey, anyone?). We can look ahead to a me when these two waterfront parks are connected by an urban greenway. Or we can dream of a time when Front Street is no longer a regional through-fare, but is an active street connecting residents to the waterfront – even those who choose to not strap themselves to a couple of tonnes of carbon-spewing steel and plastic first…
Dare to dream.