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Changes coming to Belmont Street parklet in uptown New West in 2023/2024

Belmont Street parklet refresh is set to begin in 2023, but a $4.2-million makeover is planned for 2024.

The Belmont Street parklet is getting a bit of a touch-up in 2023 but it will undergo a full makeover in 2024.

The City of New Westminster’s capital budget includes $290,070 in 2023 and $4.2-million in 2024 for streetscape improvements on Belmont Street, Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue, including intersection improvements at Sixth and Sixth. The work is part of the Sixth Street Great Street initiative, which envisions a people-centred public realm.

At a recent budget workshop, Coun. Daniel Fontaine question if the city was able to hold off on spending the $290,070 this year and include it in next year’s work on the project.

“The bulk of the 2023 expenditure is actually for design of the permanent plaza on Belmont Street,” said Mike Anderson, the city’s manager of transportation. “So that will get us ready to spend the $4.2 million next year by preparing the design this year, the detailed design work. A portion of the money in 2023 would be spent on the interim plaza.”

Lisa Leblanc, the city’s director of engineering, noted some interim changes on Belmont Street are planned for 2023.

“It will not remain as it currently is,” she said. “In 2023, there will be a temporary improvement made in order to bridge the time between now and when the permanent construction is done.”

Anderson said some “relatively light interventions” are planned for the space as part of this year’s interim works.

“There will be some additional tables, picnic tables along Belmont Street, with some additional barriers. There is not a lot of significant changes, but expanding the plaza that's there today,” he said. “Then, the remainder of that funding will be for consulting fees for the design of the perimeter plaza for construction next year.”

Fontaine questioned if the Uptown Business Association supports the interim measures being taken this summer.

“We have been discussing with the BIA the plans for this year,” Anderson said. “We've made some adjustments to the interim plaza to address some of their concerns and their needs, and so we're working with them. And as far as we know, we have their support. But we will be reaching out to them again before we proceed.”

Anderson said the city is trying to address the business group’s concerns and to meet its needs, but it’s also trying to address the needs of the community members who participated in last year’s engagement process.

A work in progress

The Belmont Street parklet opened up uptown New West (on a section of the road next to the Tim Horton’s at Sixth and Belmont streets) in July 2016. In July 2019, the city redesigned and completed new works on the parklet in response to neighbourhood concerns about undesirable activities in parklet.

More than 120 residents, businesses and business patrons signed the petition, expressing “distress” over the activities in the parklet and seeking action from the city to address their concerns. In response, the city revamped the space to include a smaller deck area, expanded greenspace, including more planted areas and trees, the replacement of tables and chairs with fixed seating, and the replacement of concrete barriers around the parklet with tree planters.

In November 2020, city council endorsed the Uptown Streetscape vision. In November 2021, the city began engaging with the community about public realm design elements proposed on Sixth Street, from Sixth Avenue to Belmont Street.

According to, the city heard a lot of community excitement about plans for an expanded and improved public plaza on Belmont Street, but it also heard some concerns about smoking, sidewalk gatherings (i.e. creating an obstacle for people walking by), loud motorcycles, litter, the misuse of adjacent parking stalls, street closures and nighttime noise levels.

“The project team recognizes that design of the plaza can help address some of these challenges, but the engagement findings have highlighted the need for collaboration with maintenance staff, bylaw enforcement, and community champions to create a comfortable space for everyone,” stated BeHeardNewWest page. “We are working with multiple city departments to consider how plaza management – and community stewardship of the plaza – may work in conjunction with the future plaza design.”

According to the city, consultation with community members found that the following features are priorities for a refreshed parklet until the permanent plaza is constructed in 2024: more seating (including flexible/movable seating); shade/weather protection; additional greenery; a welcoming environment; events and activations such as music, food trucks, etc.; and ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

📢 SOUND OFF: Do you use the Belmont Street parklet? What would you like to see in its refresh? How should the city best create people-friendly public spaces? Share your thoughts — send us a letter.