New Westminster's Riverfront Vision

New Westminster has a vision to reconnect with the Fraser and Brunette Rivers through a continuous waterfront experience, improved neighbourhood connections and year-round public spaces.

Background

Over the last 20 years, New Westminster has made exceptional progress re-redefining the riverfront as a valuable asset. The City has started reconnecting residents, visitors and businesses with the two rivers that define our community - a transformation that’s being realized through the implementation of neighbourhood plans and policies plus public and private investments that bring new opportunities to the waterfront. In 2016, Council endorsed (in principle) the concept of an expanded Riverfront Vision that incorporates the full riverfront throughout the City. This vision is supported by three goals: 

  • Continuity. Creating a continuous network of attractive Greenways and parks.
  • Connectivity. Providing connections from all neighbourhoods to the river.
  • Activity. Programing and animating the riverfront with an active, engaging and dynamic series of experiences compatible with existing industrial uses that entice visitors to explore its many destinations and adjacent amenities.

Riverfront Vision

The riverfront is the City’s most significant cultural and economic asset. Home to vibrant public spaces, quality recreation and progressive business and housing, it’s an integral component of the local economy. A living link to the City’s past, the Waterfront provides New Westminster with employment, services and tourism opportunities.

What’s our Riverfront Vision? To seamlessly connect our riverfront through a system of parks and greenways running the length of the city and to provide improved connections from neighbourhoods to the river. Along with enhanced access and facilities, the riverfront’s recreation and tourism potential will be bolstered by public spaces and activities that generate interest for all demographics, all year long.

Supporting projects

Existing and proposed projects that support the proposed waterfront vision are outlined below. 

 

 

  • Encompassing the reaches of the river between North Road and its mouth on the Fraser River, the lower Brunette River is a fish-bearing stream that’s been severely affected by urban development and flood prevention projects. The Brunette Basin Watershed Plan was a 2001 collaboration between Metro Vancouver and various regional partners.

    Metro Vancouver owns lands designated for liquid waste along the Lower Brunette River and has responsibilities for managing designated drainage facilities in this watershed. Partners to the watershed plan include the Brunette Basin Coordinating Committee and the Sapperton Fish and Game Club – two organizations that respectively, have coordinated municipal stewardship and been instrumental in returning salmon to this river. Learn more about this restoration project through Metro Vancouver's Ecological Health Action Plan.

  • The Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway is a joint project of Metro Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. Once complete, it will connect New Westminster Quay to Burnaby Mountain and Downtown Vancouver and eventually to the broader regional trail system.

    New Westminster is currently working with TransLink to provide pedestrian and bicycle access to the Greenway and nearby employment area via Sapperton SkyTrain Station. The City has received a Canada 150 grant to complete the Braid Street section of the Greenway.

    Click here to review the original Metro Vancouver report and here to read the July 2018 update.

     

     

  • Located at the mouth of the Brunette River, this park will provide a picnic area and rest stop along the greenway. Two conceptual design options for Cumberland Point were developed in 2014.

    A public input processes was undertaken in 2015 to decide on these options, and construction of the nearby Sapperton Pump Station is ongoing. The full completion of the project is expected in 2020.

    The following Metro Vancouver report provides an update on the status of planning for the park. 

    Click here to view the Metro Vancouver report and for project updates, see Metro Vancouver’s project page.

     

     

  • Built in 2001 as a legacy of the Millennium SkyTrain Line, Sapperton Landing Park is a 9-acre green space that includes habitat restoration wetlands, walking/cycling paths, a picnic area, washrooms and parking. For more information, visit the park’s page through New Westminster’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

  • There is currently only one connection to the Riverfront between 4th Street and Braid Street at Cumberland Street. The City is exploring opportunities for other connections to the Riverfront, including an elevator connection to Sapperton SkyTrain Station.

  • There is currently no direct connection on the 800m-long span of waterfront between Westminster Pier Park and Sapperton Landing Park. Greenway users are required to use the Central Valley Greenway connection between Cumberland Street and the Downtown. The City is working with Metro Vancouver and other stakeholders to develop this connection.

    Learn more on the project webpage. 

  • Open since 2012, this award-winning park was built on former industrial riverfront property by the federal and provincial governments. Incorporating historic elements that celebrate the City’s history and Riverfront, the park includes a playground, basketball and volleyball courts, sitting areas and spaces for community gatherings. Planning is underway to create a pedestrian overpass to the park at Sixth Street, as part of the redevelopment of 660 Quayside Drive.

     

    For more information, visit the park’s page through New Westminster’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

  • As part of the interim development for the east end of Westminster Pier Park (“Timber Wharf” section), a series of inviting and fun park activities and features were developed based on community consultation.  These include volleyball courts, beach-side hammocks, kids’ water feature and sandy play area.

  • This fully-accessible overpass connects Columbia Street and the eastern side of the Downtown to Westminster Pier Park and the riverfront Greenway system via stairs and an elevator. The overpass incorporates a lookout platform and innovative lighting features.

    Learn more about the overpass here.

     

     

  • This large scale public art installation depicts songbirds resting on branches and is a playful counterpoint to the industrial façade of the Parkade and the working riverfront. These monumental fragments of the natural world introduce something lighthearted, gentle, and domestic.  The large scale mural transforms the façade of the utilitarian Parkade into an iconic image visible from Westminster Pier Park, the Fraser River and the Skybridge.

     

    Learn more about the artwork here.

  • The portion of the Front Street Parkade west of 6th Street has been removed, and the existing Frontage Road on this section of Front Street is being redesigned as a “Mews”. The Mews is envisioned to become an attractive, safe and pedestrian-friendly great street of which residents and merchants alike can be proud. The contemporary design for the mews will include a widened sidewalk, street furniture, lighting, street trees, traffic-calming, planters and angled parking to access local businesses. A continuous paving treatment for the street and sidewalk reinforces the idea of a ‘shared street’ (i.e. designed to facilitate a wide range of activities including local access, pedestrian and bicycle movement, social interaction, commercial and restaurant activity).

     

    To learn more, see the City’s Strategic Initiatives page on the Front Street Mews and the Front Street Parkage.

  • The portion of the Front Street Parkade west of 6th Street has been removed, and the existing Frontage Road on this section of Front Street is being redesigned as a “Mews”. The Mews is envisioned to become an attractive, safe and pedestrian-friendly great street of which residents and merchants alike can be proud. The Mews feature a widened sidewalk, street furniture, lighting, street trees, traffic-calming, planters and angled parking to access local businesses. A continuous paving treatment for the street and sidewalk reinforces the idea of a ‘shared street’ (i.e. designed to facilitate a wide range of activities including local access, pedestrian and bicycle movement, social interaction, commercial and restaurant activity).

     

    The site is now host to one of the City’s most exciting events, Fridays on Front.

     

    To learn more, see the City’s Strategic Initiatives page on the Front Street Mews and the Front Street Parkage.

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    The development at 660 Quayside Drive will include two residential towers, a three-storey commercial building with child care and retail, and approximately two acres of park. The park will include an extension to Westminster Pier Park, a public plaza, and esplanade space. The development will also include a pedestrian and cyclist overpass at Sixth Street and improved pedestrian and cyclist access to the riverfront.

     

    To learn more, visit the project page for this development.

  • Experience The Fraser Network (ETF) is a unique vision that will connect communities, historic and cultural sites and parks along the Lower Fraser River. The Canyon to Coast Trail and Recreational Blueway are the backbone of the project, connecting Hope to the Salish Sea by way of 550 kilometres of trail, 43% of which is already in place.

    The Fraser River Discovery Centre is ETF’s urban portal, providing a gateway to the network for Metro Vancouver.

  • New pedestrian connections are being developed from New Westminster SkyTrain Station to the Inn at the Quay and River Market on the McInnes Overpass and from 6th Street to Westminster Pier Park in conjunction with the redevelopment of 660 Quayside Drive and 1000 Quayside Drive. These connections will provide an attractive pedestrian experience with additional connections between the Downtown and the riverfront.

     

  • From unique trees and flower beds to the City’s famous hanging baskets, Riverfront Esplanade is known for its horticultural displays. Park benches, viewpoints, interpretive signage, public art and Riverfront Market make this walk a regional draw.

    The adjoining Quayside Park offers two playgrounds. The larger, which is located near the train bridge at the west end of the Esplanade, has water theme play features such as a submarine, lighthouse, swings, sand, lookout towers, water fountain, washrooms, park benches and picnic tables. The second features a single tugboat play structure located near the Riverfront Market and World's Tallest Tin Soldier.

    Learn more on our Parks and Recreation website.

     

     

  • “A direct pedestrian and bicycle link between the Quayside and Queensborough neighbourhoods is a long-standing City and Metro Vancouver priority, connecting a large number of local and regional destinations, including high density residential and employment centres, and providing better access to frequent transit service. The Q2Q Bridge has been identified as a long-range goal to enhance livability and community health through improved connectivity to available amenities on both sides of the river, while driving increased economic development and tourism opportunities in New Westminster. In the interim period, a trial ferry service has been developed, which will test the demand for service throughout the day and week.”

    To learn more, visit the Q2Q Ferry webpage.

     

  • In June of 2018, consultations were held over the potential for a new at Poplar Landing (formerly Muni Evers Park), which is a jointly held site by the City and Metro Vancouver. The consultation period has currently ended and Staff are sorting through feedback to work on next steps.

    To learn more about the consultation, please visit the project page.

     

     

     

     

  • The BC Parkway is a 26-kilometre, multi-use path that parallels the Expo SkyTrain Line, connecting Surrey City Centre, New Westminster’s Quay, South Burnaby and Vancouver. The New Westminster section of the Parkway has several scenic overlooks of the waterfront, connecting it to the redesigned Queensborough Bridge interchange, which allows access to both bridge sidewalks, Burnaby, Delta and Richmond. Learn more about the BC Parkway on TransLink's website.

  • As outlined in the Official Community Plan and Trail and Greenways Master Plan, there is a long range vision for a connection along the western portion of the city’s Waterfront and adjacent lands.  While this portion of the Waterfront remains an integral component of the working industrial Waterfront, as opportunities arise the City will work towards a trail in this area.
  • The City is investigating the potential of a pedestrian and cycle connection across Stewardson Way near Twentieth Street. This proposed connection would provide an important link by bringing residents from the west side of the city to the BC Parkway and down to the Waterfront. 
  • Ewen Avenue is the main east-west corridor that runs the length of Queensborough. It is the community's central spine, connecting residential areas to shops, schools, and recreation areas. Ewen Avenue also provides a key link for residents connecting to the Highway, the Queensborough Bridge, and the rest of the city. With the continued growth and expansion of Queensborough, a detailed and functional design concept was created in order to accommodate various modes of transportation including pedestrians, cyclists and transit. The design was broken down into 3 phases, with an anticipated completion for the fall of 2018.

    To learn more, see the project update webpage.

     

     

  • The City is developing a perimeter trail around Queensborough to promote active living and transportation, and connect the neighbourhood with the Fraser River and a broader regional Greenway network. 7.1 km of new trails were added in 2011, featuring river vistas, lookout points, wheelchair accessibility, trees, flowers, benches and a dock.

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    A branding and marketing plan has been developed to provide a cohesive and comprehensive brand and related marketing strategy for the City’s Riverfront.  This process will include focused stakeholder meetings to help inform the process and ensure it best reflects the values of the community, including residents, businesses, as well as other organizations and stakeholders.

  • In 2011, the City of New Westminster adopted the Downtown Community Plan as a response to the significant shift in the social, economic, and environmental landscape of Downtown New Westminster that resulted from recent land use changes. That document defines and celebrates the uniqueness of Downtown in numerous ways.

     

    In 2016, the City adopted the the Downtown Building and Public Realm Design Guidelines and Master Plan, which is intended to set forth a vision, lay out a masterplan, and provide a toolkit with which to build upon the Downtown Community Plan. These descriptive and illustrative guidelines are for design professionals, developers, City staff, Council, and the community to utilize when development occurs. They will inform a wide range of development projects within the Downtown Core.

    To learn more, see the Downtown Building Public Realm Guidelines and Master Plan here.

     

  • The City has protected existing industrial lands for economic development and employment purposes and been working with SFU on an research initiative that documents and celebrates the industrial and commercial heritage of New Westminster’s Waterfront. This project has included number of international speakers and a recent historical exhibit at the Anvil Centre.
  • The City and Tourism New West have been working to develop a new Tourism Plan, which will identify a series of actions to promote the riverfront as a tourism- related asset throughout the city, including additional events and animation. The results of this plan will be presented to the public upon its completion.
  • The Downtown Community Plan includes actions that promote water activities through amenities such as marinas and piers, and natural places along the foreshore for boating and kayaking, and places where people can interact with the water.  As opportunities arise through park and greenway development the City will work to safely incorporate these activities.
  • The Public Art Policy supports public art on city-owned public spaces and where appropriate would look at parks and other public spaces along the waterfront as potential locations for new installations.