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Do you have thoughts on parks and rec offerings in New Westminster?

Pop-ups and an online survey are among the ways folks in New West can provide input into the city’s new parks and recreation plan.
Bike Skills Queen's Park 1
A bike skills area was created in Queen's Park in late 2021. What are your dreams for parks and rec in New West?

The City of New Westminster has launched public engagement on its new parks and recreation plan – People, Parks and Play: Connections for All.

The plan will guide priorities and investment in parks and recreation for the next 10 years and will outline aspirational plans to 2050. It updates the parks and recreation comprehensive plan that was completed in 2008.

“Access to parks and recreation is vital to the well-being of individuals and the community as a whole,” said Dean Gibson, the city’s director of parks and recreation. “The updated parks and recreation plan for the City of New Westminster will set the course for our growing and changing community, ensuring everyone experiences the benefits of connecting and contributing, be it with their friends, neighbours, or to the natural environment.”

At Monday’s city council meeting, Gibson noted the city had launched the People, Parks and Play: Connecting Communities plan that day.

“This is the initiative to update our long-range parks and recreation plan in the community,” he said at Monday’s meeting. “We say we are launching today, but we've actually been at work behind the scenes preparing for the launch, which is primarily the engagement with the community phase of work, … for a number of months now.”

Gibson said the city encourages community members to provide input through the engagement process that’s now underway.

“Individual households are invited to participate in an online survey that asks and invites information from households in terms of things that they're satisfied with, areas where they think there's room for improvement, what their usage patterns are,” he said. “There's also a series of pop-up events that will be taking place over the next three or four weeks around town, so that we can speak to folks in person at various locations where they may ordinarily find themselves.”

Gibson said the city will also be having workshops with interest groups around specific issues.

City staff are working with B.C.-based consultants, Urban Systems and Happy Cities, on the new plan.  People, Parks and Play: Connections for All will highlight the essential role that parks and recreation play in building connected, healthy, resilient communities. 

Through the engagement process, the city is asking residents of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to describe how they're currently using parks and recreation services and facilities, to provide feedback on how well the city has been doing, and to help identify where the gaps are.

Get engaged

The first round of public engagement for People, Parks and Play: Connections for All is now underway and will run until late May 2024.

An online survey is now available on Be Heard New West. Community members can complete the survey until Tuesday, May 28.

In addition, the city is hosting a virtual workshop about the plan on Monday, May 22. Residents are invited to register for the workshop, which runs from 7 to 8 p.m.

Community members can also share their thoughts and priorities in-person at one of the following pop-up events:

  • River Market boardwalk (near the Tugger play area): Saturday, April 27, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre: Monday, April 29, 3 to 7 p.m. (This is the day of the opening of the community centre portion of the building)
  • Ryall Park/Queensborough Community Centre: Thursday, May 9, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Sapperton Plaza: Saturday, May 11, 12 to 3 p.m.
  • Simcoe Park: Wednesday, May 15, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • New West Farmers Market (Tipperary Park): Thursday, June 6, 3 to 7 p.m.

Additionally, the city will be hosting a family-friendly Fun and Games Fest event where residents will have the opportunity to provide input on the plan while connecting with other community members and enjoying ping pong, mini sports, a photo booth, bubbles, snacks, and more.

The Fun and Games Fest is on Saturday, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Moody Park south field, located between the outdoor pool and the youth centre. 

A press release from the city said the community will have another opportunity to provide feedback on the developing plan in winter 2024/2025. The final plan is anticipated to be completed by summer 2025.

“Our engagement process will be underway for this phase up until about June and then we'll be reporting, doing some preliminary and have a second round of opportunity for people to respond back to the findings that we've heard from that work,” Gibson said.

According to the City of New Westminster, parks and recreation programs and spaces help everyone stay active and connected to their community, but they can do more to meet the diverse needs of the community. In addition to community health and connections, the city said parks and recreation play a key role in supporting climate resilience, reconciliation, equity, and inclusion in New Westminster.

“New Westminster has so much to offer residents and visitors, from destination parks and natural areas, to a diverse range of recreational facilities and programs,” Mayor Patrick Johnstone said in a news release. “As the city has a limited land base and continues to grow, we want to make sure we keep innovating and expanding our parks and recreation offerings to continue to meet the needs and desires of the community.”

Details on the project and opportunities to get involved in the plan are available online.

In May 2023, council provided staff with feedback about the key themes being explored as part of the update to the parks and recreation comprehensive plan. At that time, Gibson noted that  “much has changed” since the city developed its 2008 plan, including an increased population density in a land-constrained boundary, demographic and cultural shifts, an urgency to respond to climate change, a greater understanding of the economic disparities that exist in the community, and increased efforts to advance issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism, as well as truth and reconciliation.