Two park options for growing Brentwood

Burnaby's rapidly growing Brentwood town centre has over a dozen highrise towers either under construction or in the plans in addition to the several that already line Lougheed Highway.

The developments centre around Brentwood SkyTrain station, at Lougheed and Willingdon Avenue, which is key to the area's transportation plans, but what about meeting the recreation needs of the future residents?

Burnaby parks and recreation director Dave Ellenwood said the city is looking at two options for serving that population influx.

One is Willingdon Heights Park bounded by Gilmore and Carleton avenues and William Street and Douglas Road.

City hall is still trying to purchase the remaining properties on the Gilmore side of the triangular-shaped park, Ellenwood said. Once it has those parcels, the bigger footprint would allow the parks department greater flexibility in how it redevelops the park.

The second is the former site of the Willingdon Resource Centre at 250 Willingdon, next to Eileen Dailly Pool and the Confederation Seniors Centre.

A few years ago Burnaby developed a concept plan for the site, which looked at  integrating the pool with the seniors centre and possibly adding a community centre, he said. More feasibility studies will have to be done, likely over the next two to three years.

That site or the Willingdon Heights park site, or both, could be redeveloped to meet Brentwood's growth needs, he said.

As for timing, "it depends on how fast we want to serve that area and how fast that develops," as well as how soon the city can purchase the Gilmore properties and set aside the capital funding.

Similar planning work will have to be done around the Cameron Recreation Centre, since the area around Lougheed SkyTrain station is set to one day be significantly redeveloped with higher density projects, Ellenwood said.

A concept plan has also been done for Cameron looking at how it can be improved and identifying goals for the shorter term such as making more efficient and intense use of the facility.

Ellenwood noted that the property Cameron sits on is relatively large so if the city wanted to expand the rec centre that would be possible.

But that's all farther in the future compared to Bonsor Recreation Complex, which is higher up on the priority list as it's already seeing highrises under construction nearby.

"It's a longer term situation at Cameron because that area is not going to develop as fast as Metrotown."

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