New Westminster’s New Waterfront Park

New Westminister transforms an industrial brownfield into an urban waterfront parkland benefiting the environment and enhancing community livability.

Opened to the public on June 16th, 2012, Westminster Pier Park connects people to their community, their environment, and their history. The Park is the result of a goal set by the City to revitalize the industrial waterfront by creating an urban park that connects to the City’s historic downtown core; it is also a key component in “Experience the Fraser” initiative, which connects the Salish Sea to Hope along a series of riverfront trails. An award-winning “brownfield” remediation and development site, Westminster Pier Park offers space for the public, businesses, and tourists to connect and engage.

Success Story Snapshot

Energy Savings / GHG Reductions: The City estimates that with parkland rezoning, about 1,800 tonnes of GHG’s will be avoided annually= 135,000 tonnes over the park’s estimated 75-year lifespan.
Business case: Local economic benefits are estimated at $70 million; this includes the attraction of new business to the area.
Co-benefits: Park land promotes a healthy, family-friendly social environment while replacing contaminated or potentially hazardous land. In addition, less concrete means decreased run-off and more water absorption.
Total project cost: The total budget for the project was estimated at 33M Budget; $25.1M for projected construction costs and $8M for land purchase. Two-thirds of the park construction was funded by grants.

Project Summary

The New Westminster Pier Park area of 3.6 hectares had once been the hub for shipping, commercial and heavy industrial uses. As part of the City’s plan to revitalize the downtown core, the park was purchased, remediated and rezoned as parkland. Opened to the public on June 16th, 2012, it will contribute to increasing the vibrancy of New Westminster’s downtown district by providing new spaces for festivals and outdoor events, and walkable connections along the city’s waterfront and downtown neighbourhoods. The City anticipates that these amenities will improve investment, tourism, residential and commercial development, and employment.

Westminster Pier Park connects people to their community, their environment, and their history.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

Staff estimates that increasing green space will reduce CO2 emissions by about 1,800 tonnes annually.

Business Case

Two-thirds of the project was paid for in grants, and money borrowed by the City was through low-interest loan and financing programs.

Budget = $25.1M (projected Park construction costs) + $8M (land purchase)= $33M

By attracting business investment into the downtown as well as encouraging residents to come downtown to take part in physical, cultural, community and consumer oriented activities staff estimate local economic benefits to be $70 million.

Co-Benefits

  • Approximately 3,600 tonnes of contaminated soil were removed and remediated.
  • About 4,000 m2 of intertidal riparian land has been reclaimed using drought tolerant native and non-invasive plantings.
  • Less concrete means decreased run-off and more water absorption.
  • Almost all materials used in the park’s construction are recyclable.
  • Park land takes the place of contaminated or potentially hazardous land that could have posed health risks to the public, and creates a positive model for further brownfield remediation and development.

Westminster Pier Park will contribute to the revitalization of New Westminster’s vibrant downtown district by providing new spaces for festivals and outdoor events, and walkable connections along the city’s waterfront and downtown neighbourhoods. The City anticipates that these amenities will improve investment, tourism, residential and commercial development, and employment.

Lessons learned

Westminster Pier Park was built in a short time frame (from land acquisition to new construction took only 36 months). This timing presented some challenges in meeting the timing constraints of grant funding agencies. The approach to site remediation involved both financing and risk management, which created some delay in obtaining a loan agreement, since final risk management (completed near the end of the project) had to take place before funds could be advanced. Also, the approval time for railway crossings was considerable, and varied due to the number of companies involved. Developing a timeframe which overlaps processes (such as financing, safety, delivery, and approval timelines) with contingency plans and best/worst case scenarios would have helped anticipate some of the challenges.

Related Tools

Awards

  • (2012) Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Communities Award (Brownfield)
  • (2012) Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators Environment Award
  • (2011) Canadian Urban Institute Brownie Awards (Sustainable Remediation Technologies & Technological Innovation)

Local Government Contact

Jim Lowrie, Eng.L.,MBA
Director of Engineering Services
City of New Westminster
Phone: (604) 521-3711
Email: jlowrie@newwestcity.ca

Blair Fryer
Communications Manager
City of New Westminster
Phone: (604) 527-4559
Email: bfryer@newwestcity.ca

Gary Holowatiuk
Director, Financial Services & Information Technology
City of New Westminster
Phone: (604) 527-4514
Email: gholowatiuk@newwestcity.ca

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