Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Renfrew Ravine and Renfrew Park Master Plan moves forward

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

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Renfrew Ravine community consultation

Residents have their say at a Park Board open house

BY DEANNA CHENG

The City of Vancouver worked with local residents last month on developing a master plan to improve the Renfrew Ravine and the community park.

On November 15, about 30 people showed up to the open house and workshop at Firehall No. 15. They reviewed panels that stated the goal of the master plan is to increase recreational opportunities while preserving and enhancing wildlife habitat.

A few suggestions were to update the playground, create a community garden and more gathering/event spaces, and improve trail connections and accessibility to those trails.

The workshop was designed to gather community feedback and to figure out which amenities to put in and which ones to remove, said Ben Mulhall, landscape designer at Catherine Berris Associates.

The Park Board was pleased with the number of community members who attended and participated in the workshop.

“The community around Renfrew Ravine and Renfrew Ravine Park has been very positive and supportive over the years during open houses and events,” Tiina Mack, manager of park development of the Vancouver Park Board, wrote in an email. “The participants on November 15th were equally as enthusiastic about enhancing the ecology of Still Creek, and it appears ecosystem restoration continues to be a strong commitment in this neighbourhood.”

Carmen Rosen, artistic director of Still Moon Arts Society, said the riparian area (between the land and the stream) has been compromised from logging 100 years ago, but community groups have worked to restore that area, making it possible for salmon to live in the water.

Catherine Berris, landscape architect and planner, lead the workshop and engaged the audience, which had little problem speaking up and voicing their ideas.

A couple youths sat among the attentive crowd. Alex Leung and Jordon Lui, members of the Windermere Secondary School Leadership program, are in charge of their school’s Renfrew Ravine Cleanup program.

Leung found the workshop informative and helpful in learning what people think and what needs to be done.

The three needs that kept coming up were safety, nature education and removal of invasive plants.

People wanted to maintain the integrity of the Renfrew Ravine but develop better trails to get to the water. They also wanted signage to educate the public about the species in the area.

On the community park side, people wanted a picnic area or a band shell. Someone suggested taking the fence by the creek down to get closer to the water.

Renfrew resident Alex Chisholm appreciated the chance to give his opinion, but did have some skepticism. “Will [the city of Vancouver] take this meeting seriously?”

If you missed the open house but would like to provide input, go to the online survey that’s available until November 30: http://www.placespeak.com/topic/600/renfrew-park-and-renfrew-ravine-park-master-plan/.

The next open house is planned for February 2013. The exact date and location is to be determined. Check the city of Vancouver’s website to remain updated: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/improving-renfrew-ravine-and-renfrew-community-parks.aspx.

Deanna Cheng is a resident of Renfrew-Collingwood and a journalism student at Langara College.

© Copyright (c) 2012 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News