New Westminster seeks input on plans for park on historic site

The city is set to unveil plans for a downtown park on the former home of the Chinese Benevolent Society.

The site, located at 824 Agnes St., is currently home to the downtown dog off-leash area. The lower portion of the off-leash area facing Carnarvon Street is privately owned and will become part of a high-density mixed-use development, but the top half of the park is slated to become a park.

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The Chinese Benevolent Society gifted the upper part of the site to the city, which plans to create a small park on the property. Some people have suggested a dog park isn’t a respectful use for the former Chinese Benevolent Society site.

According to the city, the park designs were developed from the input provided by stakeholder groups including the Canadians for Reconciliation Society, the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver, the New Westminster Chinese Society, the New Westminster Multiculturalism Advisory Committee, the New Westminster Downtown Residents’ Association and the New Westminster parks and recreation committee.

The city is holding an open house later this month to present preliminary design options and get feedback on options for the new park. The open house is taking place on Wednesday, Jan. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the upper hall at Holy Trinity Cathedral, 514 Carnarvon St.

In addition to presenting the proposed plans for the new park on Agnes Street, the city will be seeking input about potential sites for relocation of the off-leash area now located on the property. With a large number of dogs calling the downtown home, the city wants to create an off-leash area where dog owners can exercise and socialize their pups.

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