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Construction begins January 1 on new park at Smithe & Richards

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.

Lot closes Jan 2020
The EasyPark lot at Smithe and Richards will close January 1, 2020.
Signage reads "coming in 2019."
Signage reads “coming in 2019.”

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.

Birds eye view of Smithe and Richards park
Birds eye view of Smithe and Richards park. Credit: Vancouver Park Board/DIALOG

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.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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