Glen Park options don't include organized sport

No organized sport for Glen Park. - tri-city newS FILE PHOTO
No organized sport for Glen Park.
— image credit: tri-city newS FILE PHOTO

A neighbourhood park in Coquitlam’s City Centre will be revamped, with a children’s playground, an outdoor fitness area, sports courts, walking trails, picnic spots and an off-leash dog run.

But there’s one thing the new Glen Park won’t have: fields for organized sports.

On Monday, the city’s recreation committee vetoed part of a conceptual master plan for the 16.7-acre park south of Glen elementary school, saying it didn’t want it to be a destination for sports teams.

The committee chair, Coun. Doug Macdonell — a past president of Coquitlam City Soccer and former head coach for the Coquitlam Minor Football Association — was the loudest critic of the staff plan and, on Monday, successfully lobbied fellow committee members to vote to decommission the Class C grass field at Glen to keep it for a general, passive use.

He said his aim is to send a strong message to sports groups, especially local rugby clubs that want to stake their claim at Glen Park.

Phasing out the Class C designation early in the park planning process, he argued, wouldn’t raise any hopes by organized sports groups. He pointed to last November’s open house on Glen Park’s future that saw 15 rugby representatives calling for the park to expand to two fields.

“This should be an urban park,” Macdonell said during Monday’s hour-long debate. “We can’t give expectations to portions of our community. Rugby wants to grow there... Rugby wants to make this their home.”

Other councillors were just as wary about designating Glen for formal uses and, as a result, also cut baseball diamonds from the plan.

Previously, Glen Park has been the site of games involving mini soccer, minor baseball and football teams.

Coun. Brent Asmundson said the field needs to accommodate community activities such as outdoor movie nights while Coun. Selina Robinson said the city has a growing multicultural population that wants space for badminton games and large picnics.

“We have a changing tapestry here and I want us to be ahead of the curve,” she said.

Coun. Linda Reimer said nearby residents are anxious to get the park redeveloped as it has been under-used and the forest can be a haven for “unsavoury characters.” She said someone was stabbed last year in the park and pressed the committee to have RCMP input on the park redevelopment.

Plans for Glen Park aim to serve the area — some 50,000 people living mostly in highrises — over the next 10 to 15 years.

Capital funding of $50,000 has been approved for the park’s redesign and $100,000 has been allotted in the 2011-’15 capital plan for the first phase of construction. As well, the city received $300,000 in parkland development cost charges from developer Polygon for a nearby townhouse complex.

City council is expected to ratify the park’s committee’s modified conceptual master plan for Glen Park at its March 7 meeting.


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