PROTECT THE ORIGINAL CREEKSIDE PARK EXTENSION
DID YOU KNOW? That based on current city planning we will lose a significant amount of park space compared to what was promised to the community years ago. The original mapped boundaries of the new Creekside Park extension, also referenced as NEFC park (we will call it “park extension”) were existing Carrall Street to the west, Quebec Street to the east, False Creek to the south and the “new” Pacific Blvd to the north which ultimately would connect to the existing Andy Livingstone Park. This new park extension would be a critical addition as the density of the area continues to grow.
HOW DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL? Hopefully, you support the idea of protecting our parks, including more park space. Based on Park Board promises, this is what our citizens should expect. Parks are important in helping with the ongoing battle against climate change. Parks help provide a refuge and some solitude which contributes to improved mental health. Parks celebrate the communities that surround them, along with their history, like Chinatown and First Nations, among others. The cultural Traditions of First Nations reflect their unique relationship with the natural environment, one that is based on community, spirituality, and stewardship. We currently recognize this in Andy Livingstone Park with First Nation Elders during events like “Art in the Park” this summer. This Park provides a story of its own and the character of it should be protected. Finally, our parks are like our “back yard” because our living spaces are small downtown. Parks need to be protected and new ones need to be added!
WHY DO WE CARE? THE FALSE CREEK RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION is dedicated to improving the quality of life for everyone that lives in the community around Northeast False Creek. We also want to make this area, in the heart of the City of Vancouver, spectacular for all who visit.
The False Creek Residents Association works to collaborate and provide advocacy to capture collective concerns and suggested improvements to enhance livability in the community that surrounds False Creek.
The FCRA focuses on 4 key areas, important to the community.
1. Member Building and Community Engagement: keeping members informed.
2. Community Safety and area Cleanliness.
3. False Creek and the surrounding shoreline.
…. And last, but not least:
4. Community parks, and related areas of public park development.
We appreciate the importance of Andy Livingstone Park and Creekside Park to the community. We support initiatives and programming to make our public parks safer. The promised park extension, linking Creekside with Andy Livingstone continues to be important. This includes topics like the viaduct removal, replacement of road infrastructure, and the temporary Concord Community Pop up Park. Community parks, and related areas of public park development.
Our parks our important! We learned this is especially true during a pandemic where space in nature allows for a safe retreat from being indoors. The Creekside Park extension, also referred to as the Northeast False Creek Park extension is a key topic; knowing the history here is important. The link below provides information as part of a collaboration between the SFU History Department, City of Vancouver and City studio.
This history can be celebrated by protecting the promised park extension.
Moving into more recent years, in 2016, Park Board passed a motion which was CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY. See the link below. The motion resolved that the park extension “….be delivered on an expedited basis in order to alleviate the critical shortage of available green space for residents in the Northeast False Creek area.”
Although it is important to recognize that we moved into a period where we experienced an unprecedented pandemic which created issues with the timeline, the decision helps inform us on past agreements which were not honoured. Note areas called out in points 9 and 11, for example, as it references the size of the park space.
This past Park Board decision making, as well as the history, can be celebrated by protecting the promised park extension. Below is an image which ideally represents the imagined park boundaries.
Based on the motion (link above) which includes a viaduct removal plan, the new park extension area would be adjacent to Andy Livingstone Park with only the new Pacific Boulevard between this existing park and the new park extension. Keep in mind Expo Blvd (shown in the image) will be replaced with the new proposed Pacific Blvd. Also, there will be new infrastructure for cycling, pedestrians and the skytrain remains in the area where the viaducts once were.
With all that background in mind, most recently (pre-pandemic), design planning was underway on the revised 9.06-acre waterfront park extension. The original agreement on size and shape of the Creekside Park extension is still very much in question and we think it is imperative that we continue to ask for the historical boundaries to be honoured by the Park Board and city planning. The original mapped boundaries were existing Carrall St to the west, Quebec St to the east, False Creek to the south and Pacific Blvd to the north which would be directly adjacent to existing Andy Livingstone Park so that the entire new 9.06-acre park extension would be an east/west waterfront park. What appears to be happening now is that the city wants to move the Western boundary to the east of the Concord Pacific sales centre by moving Carrall St to the east thus freeing up approx 2.5 acres more for non park development and the park extension then becomes a much smaller north/south park extending under the skytrain tracks and under the new elevated bikeway. We have asked, on several occasions for a full audit/survey of the park land but, to date, the majority of Park Board Commissioners have voted not in favour of this audit. You would think that the Park Board Commissioners would also want to know if there was an overall loss of green space. There will be many additional residents that the new NEFC developments as well as False Creek Flats and St. Paul’s Hospital will bring to the area who will be wanting to enjoy waterfront park space. This means there is a need for more much more park space to satisfy the increased density of residents and park users in the community.
We want to make sure that all FCRA members as well as people who live, visit and care about the area know that moving Carrall St to the east is an issue for the community. The current plan also suggests that there are possible changes coming to Andy Livingstone Park as well – removal of the tennis courts, baseball diamond, and field house as well as the possible reconfiguration of the existing soccer fields in order to facilitate the change in the new roadway. We need to be adding park amenities not removing them, or at minimum please let’s keep what we have. As a community we must remain vigilant!
Concord Pacific is a community partner. It is worth noting the temporary Concord Community Pop Up Park. This area has, so far, been successful and gets a lot of community use. Concord Pacific has their sales centre on the park land for its upcoming development, so they worked with the community to provide an asset, albeit temporary. They have followed through with the FCRA community by providing planning, designing, construction and ongoing maintenance of the park space. Although it remains private land the park is open from dawn to dusk most days and is becoming a highly used neighbourhood asset. It is used for some special events but mostly it is open to the public. Hopefully we can finally have the permanent park delivered soon and Concord Pacific can proceed with their development work, as we do need the housing.
The FCRA, working with the City and Park Board works to provide positive experiences for residents and all visitors to Andy Livingstone Park, Creekside Park as well as private parks, like the Concord Pacific pop-up park. We look to foster inclusive community use, along with active programs as a good way to encourage the best use of any park.
DID YOU KNOW? …about the park extension? well now you hopefully know more.
Thank you for caring and learning about an important community topic.
A simple message which expresses two main points would help:
1) The need to maintain the original park boundaries as existing Carrall Street to the west, Quebec Street to the east, False Creek to the south and the “new” Pacific Blvd to the north which ultimately would connect to the existing Andy Livingstone Park.
2) City Planning along with Park Board need to work with Concord Pacific to expedite the process and allow this overall important development work to happen.
We would welcome any support, action, communication, voting, to help support our parks and establishing our promised Northeast False Creek Park Extension.
Thank you and you’re always welcome to please connect with us and share your perspective.