Memorial Park & Pier Washroom Upgrade

 

There’s no doubt about it – the pier-side lawn and panoramic ocean views that Memorial Park offers make the park a major tourist attraction and one of the City’s favourite gathering spaces! So, whether people gather for a picnic with the family, a day of soaking up the sun with friends, or for the perfect viewing spot for fireworks shows or one of the summer’s seaside concerts, Memorial Park is the place to be.

Because of the popularity of the park, and to accommodate the growth of White Rock, the City is upgrading the park space and adjacent pier washrooms. The approved concept design includes new washroom facilities, a useable space for concerts and other performances, a Splash Zone water feature, and more!

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Background

Tourism is a key economic driver for businesses in the City. The City is committed to supporting businesses in White Rock by creating opportunities through investments in capital projects, festivals and events to continue to attract residents and visitors throughout our beautiful seaside community. 

An area of focus for the City is our waterfront district, which is a major tourist attraction.

Memorial Park Committee

In 2016, a Memorial Park Committee was established in order to discuss and prepare development ideas for Council’s consideration regarding Memorial Park in the City.

Permitting

In 2016, the City also reached out to the Province of British Columbia’s Archaeology Branch to inform them of the Memorial Park project and inquire about permitting. The Archaeology Branch informed the City that it did not require a provincial archaeological permit as Memorial Park, owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railway, is excluded from provincial jurisdiction because it falls under federal jurisdiction.

Community Engagement

The City held two Open Houses, one on September 14, 2016 and one on September 24, 2016 to collect feedback from the community. Information boards, imagery, and a draft concept were on display. Residents dropped in and shared their ideas with the team. Session 1 focused on collecting initial thoughts to improve the "working draft" concept. Session 2 showcased the revised concept plan and offered the opportunity for the public to add further insight. 

If you were unable to attend the events, we encourage you to view the event materials from: 

The City encouraged the public to complete a survey after Session 2 to gather further feedback and to allow any other residents who could not attend Session 1 or 2 to provide their input. And, collectively, the feedback pushed the project to grow from a washroom renovation and small park revitalization into a complete rework of the entire space.

Building from the feedback the City received from the community engagement sessions, the final concept can be seen in the flythrough video above. 

Tender Process and Council Approval of Contractor

The tender for Memorial Park was advertised between June and July of 2017. The award of projects is governed by Council Policy #301, which requires Council, or if during Council recess, the August Contract Committee, authorizes approval for contracts with a value exceeding $250,000. The policy was adhered to in the tendering and awarding of this project.

Council awarded the contract to Fricia Construction on July 24, 2017, at the Regular Council Meeting.


Project Delay and First Nation Consultation

The construction of Memorial Park was to begin in Fall of 2017 with the vision of having a Summer 2018 opening. Although project information and public engagement were carried out for this project and the City received approval from the Province’s Archaeology Branch, the project was delayed because Semiahmoo First Nation expressed concerns and wanted time to review the project and consult with the City. Out of respect for Semiahmoo First Nation, the City delayed the project in order for consultation to occur.  Completion of the Memorial Park project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.

Below is a quick summary of some of the actions the City has taken to address the Semiahmoo First Nation’s concerns around consultation regarding Memorial Park:

  • September 26, 2017: City of White Rock's Acting Director of Engineering and Municipal Operations as well as the Manager of Parks both met with Don Welsh of the Semiahmoo First Nation Archaeology Services and discussed the Memorial Park project and project drawings in detail.

  • October 6, 2017: City of White Rock provided follow up details regarding the Memorial Park to the Semiahmoo First Nation.

  • October 12, 2017: City of White Rock's Director of Engineering and Municipal Operations discussed some of the City’s capital projects, including the Memorial Park project with the Semiahmoo First Nation’s Administrator.

  • October 17, 2017: City of White Rock's Director of Engineering and Municipal Services met with the Semiahmoo First Nation and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to discuss some of the City’s capital projects, including the Memorial Park project.
  • October 23, 2017: As a sign of goodwill and respect for First Nations, the City submitted a permit application under the Province’s Heritage Conservation Act for the Memorial Park project, even though, as previously noted above, the Province advised the City that one was not required. (City received the provincial archaeological permit received on December 13, 2017.)

White Rock staff will continue to engage and consult with Semiahmoo First Nation regarding archaeological concerns as it relates to Memorial Park and other capital projects.

Present Day

As mentioned above, as a sign of goodwill and respect for First Nations, the City submitted a permit application under the Province’s Heritage Conservation Act for the Memorial Park project, even though, as previously noted above, the Province advised the City that one was not required.

After, three months of consultations with the Semiahmoo First Nation and the Province, the City received a provincial archaeological permit on December 13, 2017.

In early January 2018, the City began non-destructive testing for underground utilities, which started on January 3, 2018. The following are the “Next Steps” that the City has taken, or will be taking in regards to the Memorial Park project:

January 2018:

  • Scheduled Archaeological Impact Assessment for Thursday, January 4th and Friday, January 5th. Observed by Don Welsh of Semiahmoo First Nation.

  • Construction work on Memorial Park commenced on Monday, January 8th:
    • Excavation was and will continue to be performed in accordance with the Archaeological permit issued by the Province.
    • Excavation is expected to be somewhat slower than it otherwise would be under the permit requirements.
    • Current fencing on the site is such that there will be no access to the stairs or washrooms; and
      there is a piece of art (Metamorphosis) that was removed from the site and is scheduled to be relocated towards the end of the project to ensure it is not damaged.

The City of White Rock will continue to engage and consult with Semiahmoo First Nation and other First Nations regarding archaeological concerns in relation to Memorial Park and other capital projects.