Queen's Park draft master plans unveiled by New Westminster
Significant changes, including a second sheet of ice, are being proposed for Queen’s Park in a draft master plan the city has developed for its iconic recreational area.
The city presented its ideas to an open house attended by about 300 people in the arena lobby last Wednesday.
It’s a long-range plan the city consultants say will take about 20 years to implement, but project coordinator Jay Young figures will actually take more like 40 to 50 years.
Young said about 150 feedback surveys were filled out Wednesday, but the city will take feedback online and mail up until July 13.
The results will be discussed by the city’s parks and recreation committee, chaired by Coun. Jonathan Coté, at its next meeting in September.
“There’s a lot of interesting ideas. Some, I think, will be accepted quite broadly, and some will be quite controversial, and we need to have these community discussions to see exactly what the community wants to see,” said Coté.
Along with adding a regulation-sized rink, the plan calls for restoring the original historic facade and adding a new lobby to the arena.
Other suggestions include: taking down the baseball stadium grandstand and replacing it with smaller-scale seating; a “celebration plaza” across from the arena; relocating the rose garden closer to Centennial Lodge; and removing the bandshell from the picnic area and creating an amphitheatre on the other side of the road that cuts through the park.
The plan also includes suggestions for upgrading parking and circulation throughout the park including a transit stop between the arena and stadium.
Young said the second sheet of ice wasn’t even on the city’s radar when it started the process, but the feedback the city received in two earlier sessions indicated an appetite for it.
Coté said with the city’s population growing another surface will be needed to meet the demand, and putting it beside the current arena makes sense because it is more efficient to combine the facilities. In addition, the arena is still sound structurally.
One element of the plan Coté believes will create a lot of discussion is the baseball stadium. He said there are some good reasons to remove the stands, but there are a lot of community events that use it.
The Celebration Plaza that would replace the asphalt tennis courts and works yard area is another suggestion that may be fought over. Coté said the baseball community is eyeing it for winterized batting cages and a practice facility.
Before this process began, Mayor Wayne Wright suggested a private building that would lease to recreational-oriented organizations and businesses would create some revenue for the city.
Coté says that area’s current use is not ideal but has potential for much more with a plaza.
“Queen’s Park is one of the most important parks in the city, but when you enter from Third Avenue all is you see a vast, unattractive parking lot, I think there’s a huge opportunity to maintain parking, but make it a much more park-like setting,” said Coté.
Young said moving the rose garden, which frequently is a spot for weddings, to between the tree nursery and Centennial Lodge would make it a natural because of all the wedding receptions at the lodge as well as the surrounding flora.
“The backdrop in the current garden is a parking lot. This would be a little more conducive for what we want it for,” said Young.
Coté said the present location of the bandshell frequently conflicts with the picnic area and playground activity. “In some cases have to turn down some people to perform because a family reunion has been booked into the picnic area.”
Creating an amphitheatre on the slope leading down to the Sixth and McBride entrance would eliminate the clash of activity.
Coté said, “nothing is set in stone at this point.” The draft plan is available at the city’s parks and recreation site, www.newwestpcr.ca, where there is access to an online survey form and an email address to send comments to until July 13.
Queen’s Park plan highlights:
Feature changes being proposed to Queen’s Park in the draft master plan include:
• A second ice sheet for Queen’s Park Arena which would be regulation sized, a restoration of the historic facade and a new lobby
• Relocating the rose garden to beside the tree nursery
• Possible spectator seating for the new artificial turf east field
• Elimination of the asphalt tennis courts across from the arena to make way for a celebration plaza for community events
• Tear down of the stadium and replace it with a small-scale grandstand, with historical cues, that better suits the use of the baseball field.
• Remove the bandshell from the picnic area, build a natural amphitheatre into the slope on the other side of the road
• Moving the maintenance yard be moved to between the arena and First Street
• A new conservatory next to the arena
• Upgrading existing fields with better drainage and possible picnic areas adjacent to them
• Increased vegetation to provide a buffer along McBride Boulevard and eco-system work near the entrance at McBride and Sixth Avenue
• Upgrading of spray park and petting farm
• Transit stop inside the park