Update from third open house
by Deanna Cheng
Most residents are satisfied with the City of Vancouver’s master plan to improve Renfrew Community Park but with the Renfrew Ravine, many of them do not want extra paths going into the ravine itself.
That’s what the two dozen or so people who showed up on May 13 to the Slocan Park field house learned. They came to this third open house to review the updated plans and fill out feedback forms. A couple of them had ridden their bicycles through the light drizzle.
According to Ben Mulhall, landscape architect for Catherine Berris Associates, some people at the second open house held early March were against a path on the west side in fear of break-ins and the invasion of privacy. “It was about 50-50, for and against,” he said. “To compromise, we made the pathway only halfway through, ending it at 25th Avenue.”
Local resident Harvey Dueck said, “It’s great that they want to work on the park and restore natural areas in the park.” When he first moved here, he remembered oil floating on the stream (part of Still Creek that runs into Burnaby), possibly from the decommissioned gas station at 22nd and Renfrew.
“The ravine is relatively wild and a refuge in the city, especially for the birds,” Dueck noted. “A path along the stream would disrupt that.”
Michelle Baudais, another resident, agrees with him. “Increasing access to the ravine park is not compatible with the vision to preserve wildlife and restore habitat.” She points to the number-one objective listed on the vision plan. “Protect, enhance and restore habitats and the ecosystem resilience of the creek and forest,” meaning to maintain and encourage the living trees, plants and animals in the area.
Further access to the ravine may lead to pollution and more coyote encounters with the public. Another proposed change will create deeper ponds and put in culverts, channels or conduits for the drain crossing underneath the roads.
Mulhall said, “The fish and salmon can’t travel but with the local pools, small fish can live there. It will give greater diversity to the wildlife nearby. The insects, newts and salamanders.”
For Renfrew Community Park, one third of the parking lot off Renfrew Street will be converted to an off-leash dog park. The wading pool will be converted into a water spray park with a small platform facing the sloped grass eating area.
On the south side of Renfrew Park Community Centre and Renfrew Branch library, there will be community garden plots.
For additional changes or more details, visit Vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/improving-renfrew-ravine-and-renfrew-community-parks.aspx.
Deanna Cheng is a journalism student at Langara college.
Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News