• Burnaby Beacon
  • Posts
  • New Central Park master plan goes to council Monday

New Central Park master plan goes to council Monday

Phase one will develop a “one of a kind, destination playground” plus festival space and new amenities

A new plan to develop Burnaby’s Central Park will be presented to council for approval on Monday, April 29. The plan, first presented to the city’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee (PRCC) on April 16, will develop the underutilized area near the SkyTrain entrance to the park. The area is currently an open field with a baseball diamond and lawn. 

Rubberized trail around the perimeter of Burnaby’s Central Park. Photo: Lubna El Elaimy

“Central Park is an incredible jewel within our park system. We also know that Central Park really needs a comprehensive master plan,” said Andre Isakov, director of parks, recreation, and culture planning with the city during the presentation to the PRCC on April 16. 

The Beacon spoke with Isakov about how the new plan will change the park and what residents can expect. While in its early stages, the city intends to implement the Central Park master plan over two phases. The first phase will develop the “triangle” area that currently contains a baseball field and is often used for outdoor events. 

Some planned amenities include a “one of a kind, destination playground” for the area, a possible concession stand, outdoor seating, washrooms, walking tracks, improved safety features, and lighting. 

After obtaining council approval and feedback, the city will gather input from park users and Burnaby residents. The first round of public engagement, expected to begin in June, will involve an online survey and in-person events in the park. A second round of public engagement will begin in the late summer and include engaging with specific groups of park users to gather feedback and ideas. 

Aerial photo showing the area to be developed in phase one of the Central Park master plan. Photo: City of Burnaby

“For example, on the playground we’re thinking of engaging with some students in the area just to make sure that the playground that we design is going to ultimately meet the needs of the users,” Isakov told the Beacon. 

The main driver for the master plan is the increasing densification of the Metrotown area and a growing need for outdoor spaces for residents. As more residents move into apartments with limited access to outdoor spaces, Isakov said there will be an increased need for parks. In the Metrotown area, Central Park is one of the few outdoor green spaces available to the public. 

“We generally know that Metrotown is rapidly growing, and we do know there’s a need and a desire for more amenities like playgrounds and play spaces,” Isakov said. 

During the PRCC meeting, committee members welcomed the new plan and provided feedback. 

Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said that while the park has been seeing a revival in recent years due to the annual Canada Day street festival, “It does need a facelift, it does need a proper redesign to host more events,” he added. 

Other committee members pointed out the importance of engaging with local Indigenous communities. 

“Acknowledging the Indigenous history of that space and in that preservation in a more holistic way, that would be an incredible thing for the city to take leadership from a reconciliation point of view,” said resident representative Hillary Bergshoeff. 

Isakov also said the triangle area will be integrated with the rest of the park, and the rubberized perimeter walking trail may be extended around it. He added that the area will be connected to the BC Parkway, which is currently undergoing its own development project.  

“We see that integration as being really important and Central Park itself as a really important node on the BC Parkway route,” Isakov said. 

Public engagement about the BC Parkway project is currently underway. 

If the design and concept plan are approved later this year, phase one will begin in 2025. However, whether it will be a one-year or multi-year project has yet to be determined. Isakov said the duration will depend on the scale of improvements. Planning for phase two will start in 2025 while the first phase is being implemented.

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

Like what you just read? Do you support local journalism? Help us keep going—and growing.

Sign up for our once a week newsletter, or become an Insider to show your love for local reporters and writers.