Vancouver city council will put a proposed $208 million redevelopment plan for Hastings Park to vote next week after a third public session wrapped up late in the evening Thursday (December 9).
The master plan continued to draw criticism from residents who live near Hastings Park, as many of the speakers at the public meeting Thursday voiced concerns about commercialization of the site, governance of the park and public consultation on the proposal.
Some community members are calling for council to delay its decision on the master plan by a year to allow more consultation.
“I, as other people have indicated, feel very concerned that there really hasn’t been adequate consultation with our community, especially about the size and scope of the changes that are envisioned as part of this master plan,” Hastings Sunrise resident John Calvert told council.
“There is a sense that the plan is being pushed through too quickly and without serious thought about the impact [on] the community,” he said.
Hastings Park project manager Dave Hutch told council a series of open houses and focus groups were held on the proposed redevelopment.
Calvert called the current vision outlined in the master plan “largely a commercial one”.
Critics of the plan say they want to see preservation of natural park space and better access for the community.
Many residents who addressed council Thursday also said they’d like Hastings Park to be governed by the Vancouver park board instead of the PNE board.
Colleen Fuller said the need for a governance plan for Hastings Park has been a “long-standing concern” for concerned residents.
“Deferring governance to some distant future is just not acceptable,” she said.
Some speakers at Thursday’s public meeting expressed support for the master plan, including Chris Simpson of the board of directors for Tourism Vancouver.
Simpson said the proposal brings “a balanced approach to the future of the site.”
“We were particularly encouraged to see the continuation of Hastings Park as a multi-use site, keeping it an active celebration site, with improved park amenities, as well as tripling the green space,” he told council.
Development proposals under the 20-year master plan include relocating and expanding Playland, constructing new buildings, creating 16 acres of “urban plaza”, expanding greenways and creating 5.4 km of pedestrian and bicycle trails.
Council will debate and vote on the master plan on Tuesday at 2 p.m.