Hastings Park/PNE Master Plan
Over the spring and summer of 2010, information about the Hastings Park/PNE Master Plan has been presented at public consultation and information-sharing events within the City of Vancouver. A final draft of the Plan will be presented for approval to Vancouver City Council by December, 2010. The Master Plan is a comprehensive long term plan (with a 20 year implementation time frame) regarding the redevelopment and transformation of Hastings Park into a greener, more active environment with an enhanced connection to surrounding streets and New Brighton Park at Burrard Inlet. While updating, greening and reconfiguring the PNE Fair and Playland, the Plan also proposes improved building sites, a new multi-purpose commercial and community use building, a pedestrian/bicycle east/west and perimeter park Greenway, gardens, lawns, food venues, and a variety of year-round outdoor and indoor recreational and educational activity sites.
On August 27, 2010 at Tonari Gumi, Tonari Gumi President Derek Iwanaka, Tonari Gumi executive director David Iwaasa, past NAJC president and current director Grace Thomson, community activist Leslie Komori, GVJCCA president Ron Nishimura, and GVJCCA Human Rights Committee member Judy Hanazawa met to discuss the inclusion of Japanese Canadian historical content in the Hastings Park/PNE Redevelopment Master Plan. Our common perspective was that the Japanese Canadian community should have input and participate in developing educational and commemorative content and signage regarding the Plan’s reference to our wartime history at Hastings Park. We were later joined by Dave Hutch, Project Manager for the Hastings Park/PNE Master Plan. Dave provided comprehensive general information about the Master Plan including its proposed redevelopment at Momiji Gardens and surrounding area, and commemorative and educational content, and signage regarding the Hastings Park wartime detention of Japanese Canadians.
We learned from Dave that the Livestock Building, site of the wartime detention, has been approved by the City of Vancouver as a heritage site. The Plan’s proposal concerning the Livestock Building included developing a public gathering place around it (the Festival Plaza), upgrading it for seasonal use, and retrofittiing for overhead doors to facilitate openness and indoor/ourdoor activity around the Plaza. Dave explained that the Master Plan includes reference to the wartime function of the Livestock Building. We discussed developing learning and display sites about the detention of Japanese Canadians at the Livestock Building. He acknowledged our community’s keen interest in this aspect of the Plan and encouraged participation of the Japanese Canadian community in its ongoing development. We shared with Dave that it would be important to meet with various Japanese Canadian groups and organize meetings to consult with community members regarding the representation of our history at the Park.
Our meeting also included an interesting discussion about the Plan’s concept of a welcoming Japanese-style gateway to mark the entrance to Momiji Garden. Momiji is situated at one end of a tree lined corridor/walkway toward the Agridome and Livestock Building. Currently there is nothing to define the Garden as one approaches it. The concept of a Japanese style gateway at Momiji Gardens also requires community input and feedback. Would a Torii be an appropriate symbol? What would appropriately represent and symbolize the Japanese Canadian community? How do we commemorate the families who were detained at Hastings Park?
According to Dave, the projected budget for implementing the Plan would be around 200 million dollars. At this stage of the Plan, there is no direct allocation of dollars toward developing Japanese Canadian commemorative and educational content at Hastings Park.
At the conclusion of the meeting it was clear there were further steps to take regarding our community input concerning the Hastings Park Master Plan. As an initial step, a letter to Vancouver City Council should be written by representatives of the Japanese Canadian community to present our vested interest and intent to participate in the Hastings Park Master Plan in view of the historical relationship between Japanese Canadians and Hastings Park.
Community consultations meetings would need to be quickly scheduled over the fall so that community members could provide feedback about the Plan’s Japanese Canadian historical and cultural representation before its final drafting and submission to Vancouver City Council by November, 2010. As stated previously, City Council would be deciding upon approving the Plan by December, 2010.
As the Greater Vancouver JCCA is assuming responsibility to organize community consultation meetings regarding the Hastings Park/PNE Redevelopment Master Plan, all community groups and organizations as well as interested community members are invited to consultation meetings. The Bulletin will be providing notice about scheduled meetings and further developments regarding our community’s participation in the Hastings Park/PNE Redevelopment Plan and its ongoing progress. Please come to these consultation meetings and give us your input.
By Judy Hanazawa