City's Pier Park Wins National Award

The Record, 15 February 2012 By Theresa McManus

The City of New Westminster has won another national award for its redevelopment of Westminster Pier Park.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has awarded the city a Sustainable Communities Award in the brownfield category for its Westminster Pier Park project. Last year, the project earned the city a national Brownie Award from the Canadian Urban Institute for sustainable remediation technologies.

Coun. Lorrie Williams and engineering director Jim Lowrie accepted the Sustainable Communities Award in a ceremony in Ottawa on Feb. 8. "To say we're proud that the Westminster Pier Park construction project has won this award would be an understatement," Williams said in a press release. "We're ecstatic that all of the hard work put into transforming a derelict site on our historic waterfront into a public amenity for everyone's enjoyment has been recognized nationally as a success."

The 2012 FCM Sustainable Community Awards recognize municipal projects that "demonstrate excellence in environmental responsibility" and are presented in several categories. Westminster Pier Park won in the brownfield category, where eligible initiatives include municipal-led programs that have succeeded in creating incentives for the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites, and brownfield projects that demonstrate leadership in soil remediation and redevelopment based on sustainability practices.

"This project has been embraced by the community since public consultation and planning activity got underway nearly three years ago, and this award further validates all of those efforts," said Mayor Wayne Wright. "Just as important, the FCM award underscores the City of New Westminster's commitment to sustainability and recognizes Westminster Pier Park as a tremendous asset for our community, both now and for future generations."

The City of New Westminster purchased the waterfront site for $8 million in 2009 and is building a $25.1million park. The city has received federal and provincial government contributions for two-thirds ($16.6 million) of the project funding through the Build Canada Fund and contributed $8.3 million in city funds to the park.

New Westminster also received a $105,500 brownfield grant from the province to help remediate the Westminster Pier Park site. While many residents are excited about the opening of the waterfront park, some have voiced concerns about the cost of the park. The city anticipates having a soft opening of Westminster Pier Park in April, at which time people will be allowed on the site. An official grand opening will take place in May.

New Westminster's members of Parliament were on hand to congratulate city officials on their win.

"On behalf of the Parliament of Canada, I offer congratulations to the City of New Westminster for demonstrating environmental responsibility and excellence," said New Westminster-Coquitlam MP Fin Donnelly. "This is a proud moment for the City of New Westminster and serves as inspiration to municipalities across Canada."

Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian also offered his congratulations to the City of New Westminster.

"For four generations, my family has called New Westminster home, a community rich in cooperation, spirit and pride," he said. "The transformation of Westminster Pier Park on nine acres of the Fraser River is a monumental achievement that will further enhance our community."

© New West Record