Port Coquitlam Moves Forward With Veterans Park Improvements
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Mar. 2, 2022… Port Coquitlam Council has approved the design for a major upgrade to Veterans Park, allowing for work to commence soon.
With site preparation starting next week and construction from summer to fall, the project will bring an open concept design to Veterans Park that creates safe and welcoming spaces for visitors and residents of all ages to stroll and relax. The work is part of the planned transformation of the Civic Centre – which also includes Leigh Square and the Donald Pathway – intended to spur the revitalization of Port Coquitlam’s charming, authentic downtown.
“This is just the start of unlocking the enormous potential of Port Coquitlam’s special and unique downtown,” Mayor Brad West said. “It’s gratifying to be moving forward with these Veterans Park improvements as the first step in our ambitious and exciting initiative. In keeping with the rest of the improvements planned for our Civic Centre, we can’t wait to see Veterans Park opened up and become a lively, inviting and safe space that everyone can enjoy – starting with this year’s Remembrance Day.”
Funded through the City’s 2022 Capital Plan, the renovated Veterans Park will include a large circular central plaza, various types of seating, open lawn areas and an enhanced and featured lighting.
The current surrounding fences will be removed, opening up the park and providing clear views through the space from Shaughnessy Street and McAllister Avenue. Accessible pathways crisscrossing the park will enhance pedestrian traffic through the area. The iconic clock tower will be retained.
In consultation with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 133, the cenotaph will be centered in a prominent location in the central plaza. The City is also reviewing ideas for accent lighting and a plinth to raise the cenotaph.
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 133 President Drew Lydiard said the Legion is looking forward to seeing the cenotaph in its new home.
“We are pleased with the efforts being made to bring more prominence to this important tribute to veterans, in a centralized location in the park, the new plaza that can accommodate more people on Remembrance Day, and consideration of additional height and lighting,” Lydiard said. “We look forward to joining the community in the new space on Nov. 11 this year.”
Work on the rest of the Civic Centre is also set to begin this year, after the Veterans Park construction begins. The design for the spaces, posted at portcoquitlam.ca/downtown, was informed by best practices in public space design, a variety of City planning exercises over the years – including the 2016 Cultural Plan, 2017 Recommendations for a Downtown Action Plan and 2018 Downtown Concept Plan – and public engagement through surveys, workshops, a Downtown Action Plan Advisory Group and direct consultation with stakeholders such as the Legion and Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association.
“We’re already getting a look at what’s to come for our downtown with the near completion of the McAllister Avenue upgrades and new Port Coquitlam Community Centre,” said Cllr. Dean Washington, Council’s designate for downtown matters. “The investment we’re making in our downtown will pay off dividends for our residents, businesses and our local economy for many years to come.”
Some site preparation at Veterans Park and Leigh Square will begin in the coming weeks, with tree removal that must take place in March to avoid nesting season and minimize the impact on birds.
While tree removal has been minimized as much as possible, 21 trees must be removed and will be replaced with 45 new trees on the site, in keeping with the City’s Tree Bylaw.
The trees are not viable for replanting due to health or size; the City is currently investigating ways to reuse the wood.
As construction timelines and details are finalized, updates will be posted at portcoquitlam.ca/downtown.
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam