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.
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.
Energy Savings/GHG reductions
Staff estimates that increasing green space will reduce CO2 emissions by about 1,800 tonnes annually.
Westminster Pier Park connects people to their community, their environment, and their history.
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
- $16.6 million – Building Canada Infrastructure Grant Program;
- $8.3 million – City of New Westminster;
- Financed through the CMHC Municipal Infrastructure Lending Program, Municipal Finance Authority and the FCM Green Municipal Fund low-interest loan program;
- $100 000- Brownfield Renewal Fund;
- $100 000 – Green Municipal Fund (FCM)
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.
- 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.
- (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)
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.
Local government contact
Jim Lowrie, Eng.L.,MBA
Director of Engineering Services
City of New Westminster
T: (604) 521-3711
City of New Westminster
T: (604) 527-4559
Director, Financial Services & Information Technology
City of New Westminster
T: (604) 527-4514