Major Revitalization Planned for Port Coquitlam Civic Centre
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Mar. 5, 2021…The concept for Port Coquitlam’s downtown revitalization continues to take shape, with major upgrades to Leigh Square and Veterans Park set to start as early as next year.
On Tuesday, Council will consider a conceptual design to transform the Civic Centre – including Veterans Park, Leigh Square and an extension of Donald Pathway – into an accessible, safe and inviting place with an open-concept design that encourages residents and visitors to stroll, relax, socialize and celebrate.
Approval of the concept will launch a detailed planning process this year that will set the stage for construction to begin in 2022. The City will collect public feedback from Mar. 10 to 24 through portcoquitlam.ca/downtown.
“Our downtown is a special and iconic place and has a lot to offer, but it needs some updates and TLC to live up to its full potential,” Mayor Brad West. “Our residents have been asking for improvements to make downtown a welcoming and lively destination for families and people of all ages, and we’re going to deliver. The improvements we’re planning will double our festival space and capacity – providing us so many more options of what we can do and unleashing the creativity of our residents and community for the types of events we can host.”
Based on public and stakeholder feedback and public space best practices, the draft concept intends to:
- Attract families and people of all ages to the downtown and give them a reason to stay, whether it be through improved event space, performances, public art or park space,
- Improve safety, visual sightlines and connectivity, and
- Create an atmosphere that is fun, lively and green, with lighting for night-time enjoyment.
Key updates will include:
- Opening up Veterans Park to the street, pathways and Leigh Square, and relocating the cenotaph and plaza to a more accessible and prominent location in the park to enable more significant Remembrance Day events,
- Expanding Leigh Square into an open-concept festival space for events and day-to-day social use, including relocating the bandshell to back onto City Hall, and adding an interactive water feature, improved lighting and variety of ground-level and tiered seating,
- Opening up the Outlet’s west wall with sliding glass doors or storefronts to create a lively space between the building and City Hall, and redeveloping the square south of the Outlet for additional parking, event space and food truck staging,
- Expanding Donald Pathway north from Wilson Avenue to weave through the Civic Centre and downtown, and
- Reconstructing Donald Street and Leigh Square Place into one-way corridors, allowing for improved movement of pedestrians and cyclists and more green space.
“Even at this early stage in the design process, we can see how the updated Civic Centre will not only improve services to our residents and community as a whole, but boost area businesses and investment in the downtown,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for downtown matters. “These enhancements can’t come soon enough.”
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 133 President Drew Lydiard said the Legion executive supports the project and will be working with the City on the cenotaph relocation. “We’re pleased that the new Veterans Park design honours and respects our veterans, with the more prominent cenotaph location and more space for our annual Remembrance Day ceremony which draws out thousands of people.”
Area businesses have a lot to look forward to as the downtown revitalization rolls out, noted Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association (PoCo BIA) Executive Director Jennifer McKinnon. “The design for the Civic Centre will draw more people and activity into the downtown greatly benefitting our local businesses. We’re looking forward to being part of this exciting transformation.”
Kicking off the physical changes to the downtown is the reconstruction of McAllister Avenue, coming soon, into a world-class walkable and tree-lined streetscape. Information on that related project can be found at portcoquitlam.ca/mcallister.
The draft downtown design concept – available at portcoquitlam.ca/downtown – reflects a variety of planning exercises over the years, including the 2016 Cultural Plan, 2017 Recommendations for a Downtown Action Plan and 2018 Downtown Concept Plan.
Public consultation has included public surveys, workshops, a Downtown Action Plan Advisory Group and the City’s annual budget survey. Targeted engagement of stakeholders – including area property owners, residents, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 133, arts groups and the PoCo BIA – has also taken place and will continue throughout the process. Public feedback will be collected from Mar. 10 to 24 through portcoquitlam.ca/downtown.
Updates will be posted at portcoquitlam.ca/downtown as the project progresses.
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Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533