August 31, 2021
Based on the input we received from our May 2021 survey, the SRA would like to make the following recommendations for improvements to Strathcona Park.
- PRIORITIZE THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE. The current park prioritizes weekend baseball leagues, most from outside the neighbourhood. We recommend removing the diamond on the east side of the park, along with the gravel soccer field and using this space to create a more inviting environment for other park users. We suggest breaking the park into sections dedicated to nature, socializing, exercise, dog walking, kids playing and teens hanging out.
- MAKE THE PARK MORE INVITING TO WALKERS, ESPECIALLY SENIORS. The #1 motivation for coming to a park is to walk and commune with nature. We recommend an improved walking trail around the entire perimeter of the park, adding many more trees and other natural features, especially to the east side of the park, and adding inviting places to sit, such as Adirondack chairs and benches.
- ADD PLACES TO SOCIALIZE. The #2 reason people told us they go to a park is to socialize. There are currently few places people can sit and socialize in small groups. Options for having a picnic in the park are limited to three worn unshaded picnic tables. We recommend creating an area of the park that has a variety of seating and tables as well as shade or shelter, a place where a few people can have a conversation and a family can have a picnic.
- MAKE IT AN INVITING PLACE TO EXERCISE. Create a sports quadrant. Refurbish the oval track. Install outdoor fitness equipment. Keep the oval field open for casual sports. Resurface the existing tennis courts and add a pickleball option.
- MAKE THE PARK MORE INVITING TO TEENAGERS. Teenagers are the least well-served group in our community in terms of outdoor amenities. We recommend the park board connect with youth groups at both community centres to get a better sense of what teens want. What we hear from their parents suggests expanding the existing skate park to include a bike park/pump track, and adding seating. We also recommend this article about designing park spaces for teenage girls
- CREATE AN OFF-LEASH DOG AREA that’s clearly marked and fenced off, that gives dogs room to run (as opposed to a small enclosed corral), but also keeps them out of areas being used by kids, seniors, picnickers, and sports teams.
- MAKE IT MORE FUN FOR KIDS. The current playground is outdated, uninspiring, and not much fun. It’s also in the blazing sun. We recommend that it be surrounded by trees and re-built from the ground up.
- CREATE A COMMUNITY GATHERING PLACE. Strathcona is a lively and diverse community that has always welcomed opportunities to get together: concerts, outdoor festivals, long table dinners, ethnic gatherings. We recommend creating a space that lends itself to a wide range of community activities. Perhaps a covered stage. An open lawn. Access to electricity. Lighting.
- CREATE A GREEN BARRIER BETWEEN THE PARK AND PRIOR STREET. A busy park should not be located beside an arterial road. The negative health effect caused by emissions from vehicles, especially diesel trucks, is well documented. We’re working with the city to reduce traffic volume and speeds, but we also recommend that the park board create a green barrier that shields park users from noise and pollution.
- IMPROVE THE DRAINAGE. The park is built on land reclaimed from draining False Creek. During the rainy season, it is often excessively muddy. We would recommend improving drainage, perhaps even creating a creekbed, that would use excess water to enhance the park rather than flood it.