19 November 2015

Vancouver to create a new parks and recreation master plan

The Vancouver Park Board is seeking experienced consultants to help it dream up a new, long-term master plan for all of the city’s parks and recreation facilities.

It’s been 23 years since the park board last updated the master plan that governs the more than 230 public parks and 55 recreation facilities enjoyed by more than 600,000 residents and an unknown number of visitors from neighbouring municipalities and around the world.

And given a lot has changed since 1992 – the year the Blue Jays won their first World Series, Justin Trudeau was an 18-year-old camp councillor and Vancouver councillors approved the design of the central library – the park board believes it’s time for a plan that reflects a new reality, said research and planning manager Dave Hutch.

“Our demographics are changing, we’re becoming an older city, and trends in park use and recreation are changing as well,” Hutch said Monday. “It will make sure we’re investing in the right things in the right places in the city.”

Fewer people play racquetball. Skateboarders have sanctioned city parks. Parkour exists. Baby boomers are more interested in walking instead of activities. 

But more drastic is the change in where people live given geography will shape where the park board focuses its resources, Hutch said. He cited the 60,000 additional people living on the downtown peninsula and the explosion of growth along the Cambie corridor as examples.

The park board wants to hire outside help because of the workload anticipated in refreshing the plan, which will involve significant consultation with the community, Hutch said.

It’s also looking for experts that have experience planning parks and recreation in other major centres in North America or even around the world.

It’s a competitive bid process so Hutch could not reveal how much the park board hopes to pay these consultants, but there is $1.5 million set aside for planning in the park board’s three-year capital plan.

It will take several months for the park board to select a consultant. If all goes well, it will start the anticipated 18-month master planning process by summer 2016. 

(c) 2015  Metro 

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