Blakeburn Lagoons Park

Blakeburn Lagoons

Blakeburn Lagoons Park opened on April 28, 2018, a peaceful oasis where people can go to commune with nature and experience a functioning wildlife habitat.

The 11-hectare (27-acre) park in northeast Port Coquitlam was formerly the site of two waste settling ponds, and was redeveloped in 2017 and early 2018. Work included:

  • remediating contaminated soils,
  • reshaping and deepening the lagoons to serve as a wetland habitat for aquatic, bird and other wildlife
  • creating spaces for the public to interact with nature, and
  • addressing stormwater runoff issues for the site and neighbourhood.

The project is the largest addition to Port Coquitlam’s parks network in decades. The redevelopment of the site was made possible with $1.9 million in funding from the federal-provincial Small Communities Fund, covering two-thirds of the cost.

Winner of 2018 National Award

Port Coquitlam was proud to win a 2018 Sustainable Communities Award in the brownfields category from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the development of Blakeburn Lagoons Park. (A brownfield is an under-utilized former commercial or industrial site with redevelopment potential).

Watch: Video of the completion of Blakeburn Lagoons

Watch: Video of Park Development

 

Park Features

  • 1.6 kilometres of looped walking trails
  • A reflective space designated as a place to reflect, heal and honour, with seating, plantings and views of the lagoons,
  • Seating, educational signage and a picnic area
  • Viewing platforms at key vantage points
  • Varied ecological habitat zones (e.g. woodland, grassland, wetland, aquatic) providing diverse wildlife habitat
  • More than 100,000 indigenous shrubs and groundcover plants, more than 1,300 indigenous trees and two acres of native grasses
  • Four wildlife-only habitat islands, and
  • Vegetative buffers and fencing to protect environmentally sensitive areas from public access.

The park was also designed to help manage stormwater runoff in the Riverwood neighbourhood.

Project Background

Until the opening in late April 2018, the site had been closed to the public since the 1978, when the two sanitary waste settling ponds (totaling seven hectares, or 14.8 acres in size) were decommissioned.

The City considered developing the unused site into a passive community park in the late 1990s, but the project was deferred due to the high cost of rehabilitation work, including removing the hazardous substances in the soil. The project was included in the 2006 Parks, Recreation and Culture Plan as a future passive park, pending funding.

Funding in 2015 of $1.9 million from the federal-provincial Small Communities Fund program, covering two-thirds of the project cost, enabled the project to proceed. The remainder was funded by City parkland and development cost charge reserve funds.

The contract was awarded to Western Watershed Ltd, which began work in April 2017.

Park Design

The design of the park included extensive public consultation in 2016, including the presentation of two park design concepts to the public. Based on feedback, the city moved forward with a Nature’s Renewal concept, which focuses on enhancing the wildlife habitat and ecological function of the site.

The plan also improved stormwater runoff in the Riverwood neighbourhood and addressed issues caused by the dikes surrounding the former settling ponds, including stagnant water, shallow lagoon levels, algae growth, neighbourhood flooding and other problems. 

The final design reflected feedback from 518 survey respondents and more than 150 people who attended an open house in 2016. Sixty-five per cent of the survey respondents preferred a wildlife-oriented design over a more traditional people-oriented park design, and most indicated they would use the park for walking or running, viewing nature and bird watching.

Also based on public feedback, a reflective space was added to provide park visitors an opportunity to reflect, heal and honour any person or circumstance of their choice.

Construction Activities

Work in 2017 included the following:

  • The site was cleared and grubbed.
  • Soil amender brought to the site and mixed with native materials and spread around the site.
  • The lagoons were deepened and reshaped, and four wildlife habitat islands created.
  • Earthworks and site grading was completed and the site graded to its final elevation.
  • Storm sewer from Riverside Drive was tied in to outlet to the lagoons.
  • Culverts were installed to link the two ponds.
  • The pond outlet structure was installed.
  • Plantings were conducted throughout the site, which will include over 100,000 indigenous shrubs and groundcover plants, over 1,300 indigenous trees and two acres of native grasses.
  • Construction of viewing platforms, trails and wooden fencing.

The work in early 2018 included final completion of the trails, plantings, signs, benches and fencing.

Project Timeline
  • June 2015: Provincial/federal funding announced
  • Early fall 2015: Research and planning begin for site remediation, infrastructure removal and construction, habitat restoration and landscaping and park features
  • May 2016: Early concepts presented at open house
  • July 2016: Preliminary designs presented at information session
  • Fall 2016: Park design concept finalized based on feedback
  • Early 2017: Project tendered
  • Spring 2017: Start of construction
  • Spring 2018: Project completion and park opening on April 28

 

Background Drawings

Contact

Engineering & Public Works Department
Jason Daviduk, P. Eng
Manager of Capital Projects
Tel.: 604.927.5327
Email:  davidukj@portcoquitlam.ca