Lots of ideas for Pier Park wharf

The city of New West is soliciting ideas for the east end of Pier Park, which is currently an expanse of pavement. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER FILE
The city of New West is soliciting ideas for the east end of Pier Park, which is currently an expanse of pavement.

Outdoor games, a fitness area and social gathering places top the wish list for the undeveloped eastern portion of Westminster Pier Park.

The ideas for the wharf gleaned from community consultation were presented to city council on Tuesday before approval to hire a park designer to come up with three proposals for the blacktopped surface. The go-ahead was also given for a structural assessment to see how much weight the area could handle. Its current structural life expectancy is 25 years compared to 75 years for the $25 million developed portion of the park, which opened in June.

In her report, assistant director of parks Jennifer Wilson said community feedback showed the most support was for a versatile outdoor games area that could handle a variety of sports and activities. Second highest was activities, amenities or equipment for physical fitness followed by social gathering areas such as picnic tables or a festival area, and places to relax.

The feedback was solicited without consideration of any financial or technical implications.

Wilson said it’s hoped the designer would be able to come up with some ideas by December. The preferred options would go before council in February with open houses in March. The planned timeline also includes construction in April with the goal of having it up and running for next summer.

“The opportunities are endless even in its current configurations,” said Coun. Chuck Puchmayr, who also noted more people use the park at night than all of the other outdoor parks in the city combined.

Coun. Jonathan Coté would like to see the wharf be able to handle many different sports—such as ball hockey, basketball and lacrosse—and activities.

“It would be great if it was something that was flexible,” said Coté. “It would be a shame to put something there that would be just one particular use.”

A night market was suggested as a social gathering activity, but Coun. Bill Harper said it may not be possible to do even a small one because there would be difficult to get the vendors into the area.

Coun. Lorrie Williams said on a trip to Paris she noticed well-used areas along the Seine River where sand had been brought in. She suggested sand for beach volleyball or for picnicking or tanning.

Other suggested uses for the area that weren’t nearly as popular as the others were: horticulture and connection with the environment; public art; and information on the river and history.

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