After several years of delays, construction is set to begin on a new downtown city park at Smithe and Richards.
The Park Board has retained Smith Bros. & Wilson (B.C.) Ltd. as construction manager and general contractor for the upcoming park, designed by DIALOG.
It will replace a city-owned EasyPark lot, which will close January 1, 2020.
A park on this site has been in the works since 2007. Part of the community amenity contribution from the nearby Telus Garden mixed-use development was earmarked for construction of the park.
The Park Board expects the new park to be well-used with over 30,000 individuals living and working within a five-minute walk of the site.
It will include:
- a public plaza that will be a multi-use space containing a seasonal water feature that reuses potable water for irrigation and public toilets;
- a small café to serve food and beverages; will anchor the corner of Smithe and Richards Streets, activate the public space, and provide passive oversight (operator to be sought through Park Board led RFP process);
- a playground area;
- a community table designed for various programming;
- seating terraces for sun lounging and taking in plaza events;
- lush landscaping, including a variety of trees and plants to provide shade and buffer the park from nearby buildings and traffic;
- a rainwater infiltration channel to filter runoff from the laneway and act as a buffer;
- fully accessible paths for all ages and abilities;
- and overhead “sky-frames” to provide overhead enclosure and a sense of vertical scale relative to adjacent buildings; these structures, inspired by historical cues, will support overhead lighting and art installations or banners.
Annual operating costs are estimated at $500,000, according to Park Board documents.
Construction will begin on January 6, 2020 and will take approximately one year to complete.