Changes coming to Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park amid growing neighbourhood

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      The City of Vancouver prides itself in having one of the most beautiful public parks in the world.

      That would be Queen Elizabeth Park, which the city describes as its horticultural jewel.

      With the ongoing densification of neighbourhoods near the 52-hectare park, huge changes are likely coming to this former quarry that provided rock to build the city’s first streets.

      Work for a masterplan for Queen Elizabeth Park is set to start this year, and is anticipated to be completed in 2022.

      A staff report to the Vancouver board of parks and recreation notes that the “most recent decade has seen significant changes to the Cambie Corridor, including the opening of the Canada Line in 2009 and the subsequent rezoning and densification of surrounding neighbourhoods”.

      “The majority of new and anticipated development around Queen Elizabeth Park consists of multi-unit residential buildings with little or no access to their own outdoor spaces,” the report states.

      It continues that the park “needs to adapt and respond to an ever-changing context and consider how it will serve a rapidly growing neighbourhood of new and local park users”.

      The report notes that the population on the Cambie Corridor is expected to increase by 55,000 by 2040.

      “This rise in population, compounded with both regional and tourism growth at roughly 4% annually, will result in a significant increase in the demand of green spaces,” according to the report.

      The report also mentions two nearby sites that will see more residents settling in.

      One is the 6.2-hectare Little Mountain property. Located east of the park, the former social housing location is now being transformed by a private developer into a new community.

      Also nearby is Heather Lands, an 8.5-hectare property that used to serve as the headquarters of the RCMP in the province. It will be developed into a predominantly residential community.

      “The purpose of the project is to develop a comprehensive master plan that anticipates growth and increased demand while preserving and enhancing the qualities of Queen Elizabeth Park,” states the report to the park board.

      According to the report, the park needs to “transition to its emerging role within a high-density context”.

      “Surrounding residents with little or no access to outdoor space will result in increased need for open space,” the report notes.

      The report goes on to state that as the “surrounding population increases, trends will change and demands will increase, along with the need to renew and upgrade services for infrastructure that is already aging as it stands in the Park today”.

      It notes that Queen Elizabeth Park has many recreation facilities such as the pitch and putt course, disc golf course, roller hockey courts, lawn bowling greens, and tennis courts.

      The report also cites the presence of the Bloedel Conservatory, Celebration Pavilion, Seasons in the Park Restaurant, Lawn Bowling Club buildings, Pitch and Putt building, a fieldhouse, two washroom buildings, and the service yard.

      With the “growth in the surrounding neighbourhoods, many potential new amenities for the park will need to be explored, along with services that a growing and diverse population will necessitate”, the report states.

      "The need for a more legible, connected system of well as for children’s play facilities and outdoor workout elements, which the park lacks, are some of the examples of amenities to address services needed," according to the report.