British Columbia

Future of Vancouver's golf courses up for review in 25-year parks plan

The City of Vancouver is welcoming feedback and input from the public about what parks and other green space should look like over the next two and a half decades.

More demand for connection to nature, adventure playgrounds

The Langara Golf Course is one of three in South Vancouver that are under review as the City of Vancouver plans for the future of its parks. (Vancouver Park Board)

The City of Vancouver is reviewing its entire system of parks and recreation facilities including how it will use three public golf courses on the city's south side, according to the manager of parks, planning and research.

The future of the city's golf courses will be part of a rethink of Vancouver's parks last conducted in 1992, according to Dave Hutch, the manager of park planning and research for the city.

"Things have changed quite a bit for Vancouver since that time," Hutch told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's On the Coast

"It was time for us to take a thorough city-wide scan and update what our vision is for the next 25 years." 

The golf courses under scrutiny are Langara, Fraserview and McCleery. 

Empire Fields at Hastings Park are mainly used for team sports, but the area also includes a parkour obstacle course, a track for mountain bikes and a playground. The city says demand is growing for riskier, adventure-type recreation facilities around Vancouver. (Vancouver Park Board)

'More risky play'

The process has been dubbed VanPlay and is the city's answer to calls for better park planning as the demand for public recreational space increases with the city's growing population and as more people live in apartments and condos with few outdoor areas.

But the review is about more than the number of parks, it includes new ways to use public spaces such as adding concrete ping-pong tables, parkour courses and more interactive playgrounds such as the recently completed Empire Fields in Hastings Park.

Hutch said these new plans align with demand for "more risky play, more connection to nature, more adventure playgrounds.

"The other thing we're hearing through this VanPlay process is people really want to connect to nature more. They want to see more biodiversity in their parks," said Hutch.

Understated lawns

Not everyone wants or needs fancy outdoor exercise equipment or zip-lines. Some prefer simplicity, like a lawn, Hutch said.

"People use it for sunbathing, for kicking a ball around, flying a kite and that's one piece of park infrastructure I think will always be going forward."

As for those golf courses, Hutch said the long-term plan will include reviewing the way they are used, but he said the city understands they are loved by many and important for wildlife.

He said there are opportunities to integrate more public access like the existing perimeter trail at Langara Golf Course.

Hutch was on hand at a community consultation Wednesday night at the Roundhouse Community Centre. 

The review is expected to be complete by July 2018.