Final Report Submitted for the Recreational Area Master Plan: Project History, Next Steps and Revised Architectural Drawings are Presented
Van der Zalm + Associates Inc. and Newline Skate parks were retained by the Redwood
Meadows Townsite in April of 2010 to prepare an overall vision for the future development of
Curtis Park. Curtis Park is a community-scale park that serves the needs of all residents
through promotion of both active and passive recreation. Over many years, the park program
has expanded to include: a playground, picnic areas, sports fields, outdoor rink, concession
building, tennis courts, and various passive areas for sitting or walking. Many of these
program elements were integrated without an overall vision for how various activities
compliment or negatively impact upon one another. The purpose of the parks master plan, is to
re-visit the various program elements currently serving residents, and to propose some possible
additional elements to support youth recreation. In particular, a water park and skateboard park
were proposed as new elements. The Recreation Area Master Plan Project (RAMP) committee –
a group of citizens leading the master plan review process – was also successful in achieving a
financial grant for the creation of the skateboard park and therefore the specific location of the
skate park has become an important aspect of the master planning process.
Through the months of May-June 2010, VDZ/NLS staff worked with members of the RAMP. Our
combined efforts resulted in several schematic plans for the development of the site. Our key
concerns and priorities in looking at the overall site are:
1. SITE LEGIBILITY: program elements do not relate well to one another, or opportunities
to create greater cohesion and legibility were not realized in the current development.
2. CPTED: Crime prevention through Environmental Design – create a greater sense of
safety in the park – both for users and for residents who live adjacent to the park and
frequently complain of late night activity in the park.
3. PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: Few pedestrian routes must be clearly articulated and given
priority over vehicle movements.
4. OPERATIONS: Ease of function for the ‘snack shack’ and support for special events at
the park. Currently there are limited means whereby a special event can be run without
moving vehicles through the active recreation portion of the park and directly across the
5. COMMUNITY: promote community gatherings with spectator viewing areas, and
complimentary association of youth/child activities so that parents can provide
supervision from key points without having to traverse the park.
6. NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION: Review existing mature vegetation and locate
new amenity spaces so as to protect trees and take advantage of forest canopy, shade,
Initial Community Review:
On July 8th at 6pm, members of the community were invited to attend a public open house to
discuss the concept development. Mark van der Zalm – Landscape Architect and Principal with
vdz+associates inc. was on hand to discuss community concerns, questions, and statements.
After a period of social interaction and casual conversation related to the concepts, Mark
presented two options for re-developing Curtis park.
Option A: provided a curved or organically formed design that includes seating development for
public viewing of the outdoor arena and the adjacent ball fields. In addition, greater
formalization of pedestrian access to the centre of the park, and vehicle access through a gate
off Manyhorses Park (road). A water park and skateboard park were also located in the plan. A
significant vehicle pull-out/drop off was also articulated across from Redwood House.
Option B: provided a more structured and rigid plan that clearly articulated a drop-off adjacent
to the Town administrative building. Vehicle access was also shown off Manyhorses Park with
an expanded drop-off within the park and adjacent to the Snack Shack. A waterpark and
skateboard park were also added to this development option. A vehicle drop-off is provided
across from the town administrative office, but is less intrusive into the park – with only parallel
There was good discussion and review from all present. About 22 attendees provided 12 written
responses to the consultants and the RAMP committee. Additional comments followed this
meeting with greater opportunity extended for public review. In total – 57 formal responses were
provided by the end of July. Of the 57 submissions from the public, 13 favoured Option B, with
22 preferring Option A. The remaining respondents indicated no preference. Open house
attendees provided their opinions on a feedback form prepared by VDZ. Specific comments
were recorded and included in the appendix of this report.
Much of the discussion related to both plans related to their level of ‘appropriateness’ to the
town of Redwood Meadows. There was general consensus that the plan should be more
organic and less ‘urban’- looking. In addition, much discussion related to park noise and
inappropriate behaviour in the park after hours and by people not from the community. There
was general concern that providing greater youth amenities within the park could promote
inappropriate after-hours use of the park and lead to greater nuisance activities: vandalism,
fires, litter, drugs, sex.
On July 20th, 2010, the RAMP committee received a letter from residents along Manyhorses
park. These specific residents had met separately to review options A and B and provided their
feedback to Catherin Watson – Chairperson of the Redwood Meadows Community Association.
A copy of their letter is included in the appendix to this report. In summary: The residents felt
that the two options compromised too much green space within the park, and that the
skateboard park would exacerbate existing after hours problems along their street. The RAMP
committee directed the consulting team to consider all comments in the formulation of an
amended park master plan for consideration by the community.
Working with the comments from the community and direct feedback to the RAMP, VDZ/NLS
revised the development concept in the following ways:
1. Moved the skateboard park and waterpark facilities to the interior of the park and out of
conflict with mature vegetation.
2. Reduced the scope of the vehicle drop off access from Manyhorses park to be a
controlled/gated access with a permeable surface.
3. Moved the hard surface areas to the central interior of the park to directly service the
snack shack and limit hard surfaces in all ‘natural areas’ of the park.
4. Reduced the scope of the vehicle/pedestrian drop off across from the town
administrative offices – however a more understated drop-off was maintained.
5. Develop the spectator seating adjacent to the ball field and outdoor rink.
6. Provide a pedestrian connection to Manyhorses park from the tennis courts.
7. Expand parking to the north of the town administrative offices and consider relocation
and redevelopment of the bmx/dirt jump biking area.
8. Provide a community fire pit in close proximity to the rink and in clear view of exterior
roads for limitation of inappropriate uses.
9. Provide some physical vehicle barrier at the park exterior to limit unwarranted traffic
through the park.
10. Consider a pedestrian cross walk to Redwood House.
The design development sketches considering public input, were sent back to the RAMP
committee for their consideration in August. Comments back from the RAMP committee
directed consultants to change two significant elements:
1. Eliminate the waterpark as there was no strong community support for this program
2. Further reduce hard surfaces and pull the vehicle drop-off area into the centre of the
park to avoid conflict with mature vegetation as much as possible.
3. Clearly indicated locking gate on Manyhorses Park (road).
Second Community Review:
On September 29th, 2010, Mark van der Zalm and Trevor Morgan conducted a public open
house with assistance from RAMP committee members and town council. The revised option A
was presented to the community, along with 3dimensional blow-ups of key areas within the park
and precedent images of the various park program elements – including a more detailed review
of the potential skate park options for Redwood meadows.
From 6pm – 8pm, members of the public engaged the consulting team, RAMP, and attending
councillors. The discussion was respectful and productive with many community members
acknowledging that their comments and concerns had been heard and acted upon. The revised
concepts did not alleviate all concerns from residents about noise and inappropriate use of the
park after hours, but the new location for key park elements – such as the skate park were better
received. The residents along Manyhorses Park (road) continue to show concern for vehicle
access to a drop-off circle at the parks centre. Many parents voiced support for this program
element and were equally supportive of the pedestrian drop-off across from the town administrative office. Among park elements that seemed to draw the largest support:
1. Preservation of the open green space and mature conifer trees.
2. Vehicle barrier fence or other restrictive element at the park perimeter
3. Improved surfacing around the snack shack
4. Pedestrian drop-off and clear pedestrian routes within the park.
Among issues that continue to require discussion and resolution:
1. Operational responsibilities for opening and closing a park gate.
2. Removal of people acting inappropriately in the park after hours
3. Potential noise generated by increased activity in the park.
The RAMP committee asked for minor revisions to the concept plan AAA – as presented in
September. Basic adjustments included:
1. Clearly articulate that the vehicle drop-off from Manyhorses park be ‘permeable ‘and not
concrete or asphalt. The surfacing should read graphically as gravel or crushed granite
2. The plaza areas around the central drop-off should read graphically as gravel or other
Once the RAMP committee achieves council endorsement of the plan, additional design
development can be conducted on specific aspects of the master plan. It is important to note
that council and the RAMP committee can endorse the master plan as prepared by VDZ/NLS
without accepting all specific aspects or details of the design. The overall design direction and
organization of elements is important however and should be respected in future design
development work associated with individual components of the park. The purpose of any
Master Plan is to provide a ‘framework’ from which future budgets and design can emerge.
With grant money being available to design and build a skate park facility in 2011, it is important
to move decisively so as not to lose the funds allocated to the town. A development scheme for
the skate park should respect the park location within the preferred master plan concept, and
should respect the size and configuration in relation to other park program elements, i.e. – future pedestrian pathways, playground, sports fields, central plaza, etc.
The community association should identify priorities within the master plan for development and
costing. A consulting team can be engaged with key parameters of the master plan document
presented as ‘guiding principals’ for all proposed solutions. Additional public meetings should
be part of any phased development that clearly shows how various program elements and
community priorities can be integrated with Curtis park without compromising the overall vision
established by the master plan process.