The City of New Westminster officially opened its newest park on what was likely one of the wettest days of the year.
Westminster Pier Park, a $25.1 million linear park located on New Westminster's waterfront between Sixth and Elliott streets, official opened on June 16. Representatives of three levels of government and local dignitaries attended the official opening ceremony, which took place amid a torrential downpour.
"Today is a great day for our city and one we'll remember for a very long time," said Mayor Wayne Wright. "With the opening of Westminster Pier Park, we've realized a significant goal for New Westminster and reconnected with our historic waterfront.
The City of New Westminster purchased the 3.8 hectare brownfield site on the waterfront in 2009 for $8 million. The city later received $16.6 in funding from provincial and federal governments through the Building Canada Fund and contributed more than $8.3 million toward the project.
"I am very proud that the province, along with the federal government, has contributed so significantly to make this wonderful park possible," said Surrey Tynehead MLA Dave Hayer, who attended on behalf of the province. "This project is one more jewel in a trail network to connect communities and families along both sides of the Fraser River from Hope to the Salish Sea."
Westminster Pier Par includes a 600-metre boardwalk, a large "festival lawn" gathering area, washroom facilities, benches, picnics tables, two playgrounds and a basketball court. Now open, the park can be accessed through the parking lot next to River Market at the Quay.
The grand opening celebration included an official opening and ribbon cutting, entertainment, street food vendors from River Market and activities such as a rock climbing wall and mini golf. While the torrential rains may have kept some residents from attending the day's events, several residents attending the grand opening told The Record they were impressed with the waterfront park.
Before the park had even opened to the public it had won three awards: a 2012 Environment Award from the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators, which recognized the innovation and administrative excellence demonstrated by the City of New Westminster in turning a contaminated brownfield into a usable greenfield; a Sustainable Communities Award in the brownfield category from the
Federation of Canadian Municipalities; and a national Brownie Award from the Canadian Urban Institute for sustainable remediation technologies.