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 Waterfront 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. Recently, Council endorsed (in principle) the concept of an expanded Waterfront 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 Waterfront 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.

Waterfront Vision

The Waterfront 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 Waterfront 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 Waterfront’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. The following Metro Vancouver report provides the current status of planning for the Greenway. 

    Click here to review the Metro Vancouver report.

  • 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 joint public input process is being planned for the design of the adjacent sewer pump station site, which will provide parking and washrooms facilities for both the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway and Cumberland Point Park. The following Metro Vancouver report provides an update on the status of planning for the park. 

    Click here to view the Metro Vancouver report

  • 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 New Westminster Parks and Recreation website.

  • 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 a design concept for this connection.

  • 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.

    Design concept for Waterfront Greenway Connection

  • Open since 2012, this award-winning park was built on former industrial waterfront property by the federal and provincial governments. Incorporating historic elements that celebrate the City’s history and Waterfront, 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. Learn more on the Parks and Recreation website.

  • 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 waterfront Greenway system via stairs and an elevator. The overpass incorporates a lookout platform and innovative lighting features. Learn more on our website.

  • In conjunction with the rehabilitation of the eastern section of the Front Street Parkade, the City has plans to beautify the remaining section of the parkade with a public art piece that will extend from Sixth Street to Fourth Street. Using chain link safety fencing as a canvas, it will transform the waterfront and create a lasting legacy. For more information, view the City Council Reports: 

  • The partial removal of the Front Street Parkade is a crucial step toward achieving connectivity to the Waterfront. Enhancements to the area will create an improved pedestrian experience. You can keep up to date on the parkade developments on our website.

  • Front Street Mews is a contemporary, pedestrian-friendly concept that will include a widened sidewalk, street furniture, lighting, street trees, traffic-calming, stormwater planters and angled parking to access. Learn more on our webpage.

  • Also known as the Larco property, this site was rezoned for the establishment of a Comprehensive Development Master Plan – the result of a collaboration between the City and the property owner. This Master Plan has greater provision for open space and views of the Fraser River, approximately 2 acres of land for an extension of the Westminster Pier Park, an extended waterfront esplanade, three high-rise towers and a mix of residential and commercial land uses. Learn more on our website.

  • 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.

  • Upgrades are being planned for the Hyack Square overpass to River Market and the McInnes Overpass from New Westminster SkyTrain Station in conjunction with the redevelopment of 660 Quayside Drive and 1000 Quayside Drive. These upgrades will provide an attractive pedestrian experience with additional connections between the Downtown and the waterfront.

  • From unique trees and flower beds to the City’s famous hanging baskets, Waterfront 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 pedestrian and cycling connection between Quayside and Queensborough has long been an important local and regional objective. The proposed plan for Quayside to Queensborough Bridge (Q2Q) connects residents, employees and tourists traveling between the Queensborough community, downtown New Westminster and points beyond. The bridge will link Greenways on the north and south side of the Fraser River and the New Westminster SkyTrain Station to Queensborough, while providing enhanced access along the scenic Fraser River. It will also complete a key missing link in the Experience the Fraser trail system running from Hope to the Salish Sea. Learn more on our website.

  • Jointly owned between City and Metro Vancouver, this site is located at the western end of the Waterfront Esplanade. It’s the future location for Muni Evers Park, which will be located along the North Arm of the Fraser River. The balance of the site will be used for medium density affordable housing and market housing and the operation of a Metro sewer and drainage district facilities.

  • 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. 
  • Connecting with the proposed Q2Q Bridge and the Queensborough Perimeter Trail, this multi-use path is being constructed on the south side of Ewen Avenue. The greenway will connect Queensborough’s Main Street to Boundary Road in Richmond, with new sidewalks on the north side and landscaping along the corridor. Read more on our website.

  • 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. Learn more at the Parks and Recreation website.

  • A branding and marketing plan is being developed to provide a cohesive and comprehensive brand and related marketing strategy for the City’s Waterfront.  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.
  • Guidelines are being developed that will provide the framework for designing and programming the public spaces in the Downtown area, including sidewalks, plazas, park, streets, and for detailing how buildings relate to, and interact with, those public spaces.
  • 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.
  • It is anticipated that the new Tourism Plan, to be developed in 2017, will identify a series of actions to promote the waterfront as a tourism- related asset throughout the city, including additional events and animation.
  • 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.