Concerns raised over proposed redevelopment of Hastings Park

Vancouver city council began discussion on a master plan for Hastings Park Thursday (December 2) that proposes to make the area a “significantly greener, more public fair.”

The redevelopment proposal, which could cost up to $208 million over a 20-year period, includes plans for a bigger Playland site, construction of new buildings, parking expansion, a network of pedestrian and bike paths throughout the area, 18 acres of habitat, meadows and gardens and 16 acres of “urban plaza”.

But council members questioned what portion of the proposed expansion is actual green space.

“We’ve now astro-turfed the playing field, what’s left that’s actually green?” Coun. David Cadman asked Hastings Park project manager Dave Hutch.

Coun. Suzanne Anton questioned the expansion of the Playland site.

“To me it looks too big” she said, which was greeted with applause from the crowd of waiting presenters in the council chambers.

Georgina Nicholson, a representative of the citizens group Friends of Hastings Park, said the group is looking for a delay of six months to a year in order to allow more consultation on the proposed expansion.

“We think that the community has really not totally been heard,” she said.

Georgina Nicholson, a representative of the Friends of Hastings Park group, explained her concerns to city council over proposed redevelopment of the Hastings Park/PNE area.

Nicholson called the green spaces that have been proposed “inferior corridors” for bike riders and pedestrians.

“The problem with these spaces is they’re very close to major traffic corridors—there’s going to be noise, and there’s going to be pollution from traffic,” she told council.

Hutch told council that 26 open houses were held on the plan, with 600 questionnaires completed. Fifty six percent of survey respondents supported the overall park concept, while 34 percent opposed the plan.

Concerns that Hutch said were identified in the consultation process included a concern with the expansion size of Playland, a desire for equal investment in park space to PNE expansion, a concern about increased commercialization of the area, worries of increased traffic and noise and a call to “get on with it”.

The debate around the site is nearly 20 years old—council began discussing the location of the PNE site in the early 1990s.

In 2004, council directed staff to develop a new plan for Hastings Park and the Pacific National Exhibition that would maximize green space, include a 17-day annual summer fair and a 14-acre seasonal Playland.

Mike Jackson, the president of CUPE 1004, said the PNE has been a valuable source of employment for the workers his union represents.

“There are thousands of kids who get an opportunity to work there,” he said.

“We agree that change is good,” he added. “We see that as a great revenue generating opportunity for the city.”

Council's standing committee on planning and environment will re-convene on the proposed plan on Tuesday (December 7). A list of about 60 people are scheduled to speak on the proposal.




Dec 3, 2010 at 12:32am

Please build this park is named Exhibition Park. I luv it

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Dec 3, 2010 at 1:10am

I live directly across the street from the park,and i would love to see it expanded to a year round facility.The Casino was debated by saying it would bring increased traffic in the neighbourhood.Well,wheres that? never happened.Building the football stadium would be a disaster. Guess again.Its awesome having this much activity around here again!
Bring on the concerts,the expanded playland and PNE, the fright nights,sporting events and all of it.
All these negative dicks dont even live anywhere near here. Go back to kits,and focus on banning any remaining fun activities there. Myself,and my neighbours that I informally polled dont have issues with it.Neither should you.

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Ken Lawson

Dec 3, 2010 at 1:39am

Do not forget to include the Horse Race Track expansion at the PNE from a 5/8 of a mile to a grade 1 standard track, sounds to me this friends of Hasting Park are limited in size, when 56% are infavour, she needs more supports to hold this up for another year get on with it your wasting taxpayers money in all parts of the City. stop chirping.

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Dec 3, 2010 at 3:50pm

These people are still complaining even though City Council gave them exactly what they wanted a few years ago...a park at the PNE

That park is now little used and is a spot for drug dealing at night.

The "Friends" of Hastings Park tried to have the PNE shut down. They cried doom and gloom over the racetrack, and were wrong. They cried doom and gloom over the BC Lions, and were wrong again.

It's time to stop listening to these elitists who don't want anyone trampling over a spot that was meant for everyone in this city...not just them!

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Gale Tyler

Dec 3, 2010 at 4:23pm

The proposed Master Plan for Hastings Park is taking the park into a new realm of commercialization. The hope of the community has been that the natural habitat of biodiversity would be expanded right across the park from south to north leading to an overpass to New Brighton Park. The plan, instead features an almost doubled Playland that will be completely fenced off for pay and enter only and venues throughout the site for event rentals. The PNE is a 17 day fair. The community wants a freely accessed park for the other 50 weeks of the year. The community wants a Roundhouse like Community Centre in the Park for arts, culture and recreation. This plan denies the community of this.

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Dec 3, 2010 at 5:08pm

@Gale Tyler...

Every public consultation shows that the people of this city want the PNE & Playland to prosper in it's current or expanded form. It's only the small number of people in your little special interest group that want to steal the PNE from the people of Vancouver.

Shame on you!

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Dec 3, 2010 at 6:56pm

Take a look at this park on google maps, it should be called Hasting's Parking Lot:
I don't live in Kits Nick, if I want to take my daughter to the park we have to walk through acres of parking lot before we can find any green space. If its the summer then forget about accessing the Sanctuary you either have to walk through all the PNE setup or it's completely cut off during the fair.

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R U Kiddingme

Dec 4, 2010 at 9:51pm

RealityCheck is right. Regardless of what the Friends were expecting, the PNE/Playland/track/Empire is the historical use of the site (well that and processing Japanese people). The city wants to give the east side more parkland, and that's good, but I think they have realized that they don't want to give the PNE to Surrey after all. And that too is good.

I've been to the park bit of that area and it is a dismal, boggy swamp. Bring back the Challenger Map!

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East Side Pride

Dec 8, 2010 at 2:47pm

The real issue here is who controls the park. The People or the PNE. Just because a wrong is historical doesn't make it OK. This is the only large piece of parkland on the East Side and it has been brutally mistreated since its inception. We, the residents of Hastings-Sunrise are fed up and fighting mad. Why is it that our park has to pay it's own way while every other park gets a free ride. As for the morons that say things like "Bring back the Challenger map!" they can have it. Just let us know what part of Surrey we need to deliver it to!

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