City of New Westminster recognized with Parks and Open Spaces Award
New Westminster – The BC Recreation and Parks Association has recognized Saint Mary’s Park with the 2016 Parks and Open Spaces Award. This award was presented to the City of New Westminster during the BCRPA Symposium in Whistler, BC.
Saint Mary’s Park is located in downtown New Westminster, adjacent to the new École Qayqayt Elementary School. The site was formally occupied by Saint Mary’s Hospital and now serves as an important green space in the city.
“We are very honoured that Saint Mary’s Park is the winner of the BCRPA Parks and Open Spaces Award,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “This park has been a welcomed addition to the downtown neighbourhood and we are extremely proud that through our strong partnerships we were able to create a unique space that serves both students and local residents alike.”
Saint Mary’s Park was recognized for its innovative and creative design which includes play equipment for children of all ages, and the extensive use of recycled and local materials. The rubber safety surface is made from recycled tires and partially funded by the Tire Stewardship Community Grant, reclaimed granite bricks were salvaged from the historic streets of New Westminster, and a community garden was added allowing local residents to grow their own food.
“Saint Mary’s Park has been well-received by the community due largely in part to the meaningful engagement that took place with residents, the New Westminster School District, and community organizations throughout the planning and design process,” said Dean Gibson, Director of Parks and Recreation. “As a result, the design of the park is responsive to the needs of the community and enhances the play experience and educational opportunities for both the neighbourhood and elementary school.”
“The integration of natural systems and wildlife habitat is always a consideration when designing city parks and open spaces, especially in urban neighbourhoods,” said Erika Mashig, Parks and Open Space Planner for the City of New Westminster. “In keeping with this mandate, the large nature play area at Saint Mary’s Park encourages children to interact with natural features such as sand, logs, stumps, boulders and vegetation.”