New West to get own beach this summer

An example of an urban beach. - City of New Westminster report
An example of an urban beach.
— image credit: City of New Westminster report

New West residents should be able to dig their toes into the sand at their very own beach by the end of July.

The city is about to embark on installing several features to the Timber Wharf, the unfinished east end portion of Westminster Pier Park. The uses are supposed to be temporary until the city can afford to bolster the structural supports to match that of Pier Park.

The first two phases this summer will cost almost $310,000. That includes $65,000 for an elevated urban beach, something that's drawn a lot of interest within the city and from outside of it.

Parks director Dean Gibson said he's constantly questioned by the public about the urban beach, especially about when it's going to open.

"If we follow the timeline we should be under construction the second week of July, and operational by late in July," Gibson told council June 23. "We should be able to salvage as much as the summer as we can."

beach hammocks

'Family-sized' beach hammocks are to be installed at Westminster Pier Park's Timber Wharf this summer.
Image: City of New Westminster report

The sand will be piled about 12 to 18 inches above the wharf. The beach, though, will not go all the way to the edge because there's a four-foot fence to provide safety.

One of the beach's accessories will cost another $45,000. An informal sand play area at the west end will have permanent "family-sized" hammocks. The beach will also have permanent umbrellas.

beach umbrellas

Permanent umbrellas will also
be a feature of the Timber Wharf
urban beach.

The wharf will also have timber seating and shade trees at a cost of $105,000 to allow people to either watch the volleyball or look out over the Fraser River. A $62,000 sculptural water garden that will include play misters and a $20,000 off-leash dog park are also scheduled to be built this summer.

Gibson said the budget allows for a $15,000 space for activities such as fitness classes. It will have a two-tone surface painted to resemble waves, said Gibson.

A walking path that will cost less than $8,000 will wind its way through the wharf, although it will do double duty.

"We need to maintain about a four-metre wide access route through the site simply so we can move service vehicles through there," said Gibson.

The wharf already has two beach volleyball courts. "I was there this past weekend and both courts were going full steam which was very encouraging to see," said Gibson.

He noted the city still needs to find almost $48,000 to do the work but the city wants to start the tenders and improvements as soon as possible.

It's hoped the work in the first two phases will be completed sometime in September. Some of the $195,000 in future work being contemplated includes $20,000 for a games room area and $156,000 for a sports zone.

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