The Relocation of Kits Beach’s Playground: Unexplained and Unpopular

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The reasoning behind the decision by the Boffins at the Vancouver Board of Park and Recreation is murky but the reaction of local parents to the decision to relocate the playground at Kits Beach Park is clear, and it’s not favourable.

Along with a refurbishment of the playground at Kits Beach Park and the inclusion of equipment making it “a world class, accessible playground designed to enable all children, including children with disabilities, to play side-by-side with their siblings, friends and families, including caregivers with disabilities” the Parks Board has decided that parents and kids are better off a little closer to the action at Kits Beach, right up against the side of the building housing Watermark.

The playground’s current location further north, a safe and (relatively) quiet spot with plenty of shade, removed from the crowds at Kits Beach Park (either one of the “10 Sexiest Beaches in North America,” Forbes Magazine or “the most notorious summer party/pick-up spot” according to a letter to the editor in last week’s Courier) and a truly pleasant and safe place to spend time is well liked, has plenty of options for improved access by special needs children and their families. The proposed location gives those families little choice but to fight it out amongst the summer crowds in the main parking lot several hundred feet away, making it a non-starter for many families. It also places the children within feet of the loading zone and garbage bins at Watermark and the dangerous intersection at Arbutus and Creelman not to mention the crowds that make Kits Beach a great summertime happening but aren’t what parents look for in a safe playground environment.

The Parks Board conducted a “public consultation” of sorts though it was advertised as regarding a refurbishment of the existing playground, a well supported idea, and meetings were held in the dark of winter. 13 people attended and left written responses. The Parks Board Commissioners were subsequently told that the proposed move was “well supported.”

Those wishing to let the Parks Board and several donors involved know how they feel about this and hopefully stimulate a more thoughtful look at the decision can send an email to playsafekitsbeach@gmail.com and receive an auto-reply with more information as well as email addressed for all involved.

Last modified: May 5, 2010

15 Responses to " The Relocation of Kits Beach’s Playground: Unexplained and Unpopular "

  1. Wendy says:

    I hope this can be changed. The playground is in a wonderful location, why change it. We avoid the area they want to put the playground in the summer because of all the creeps.

  2. Neil says:

    Sometimes I feel as if I’m a member of the dumbest and ignorant species to ever exist.

    Will the basketball courts be moving too? If I actually had the choice to place a playground next to a restaurant/public washrooms/garbage bins OR the courts, the decision would be simple. For those of you who do not think this is a simple decision, the answer is the courts.

    Why?

    The Pros of keeping the playground where it is:
    -young kids will have exposure to older people playing both basketball and volleyball. This is at the least silent encouragement for the young ones to grow into activity oriented adults.
    -the kids have a good view of the beach, water, trees, and grass. There is no grey building to block 90• of visual enjoyment.
    -there is less risk of kids interacting with people who are not too positive.

    Keep the playground in the beautiful, safe, and fun spot that it is. Find somebody who is a tad bit more creative so he/she may adjust the current equipment to suit the needs of all kids, physically limited or not. Allow all the kids to interact with the teens and adults who like to have fun on the courts.

  3. Lynda S. says:

    Over the past twenty years I have had the pleasure of supervising my six grandchildren at Kits park playground. From this perspective I konw that the present location of the playground is ideal. It is near the north parking lot, shade trees surround it, older children can learn
    bike skills on the courts while younger siblings play on the slides, the view is unimpeded in all directions,it is removed from the DANGEROUS intersection at Creelman and Arbutus and a safe distance from the delivery trucks and garbage bins at the restaurant. As well it is far enough away from the sometimes less than desirable activities that take place near the restaurant and washrooms. It makes NO SENSE to move it to the proposed location. Whose idea is this, anyway!

  4. Jane says:

    Hello,

    I am not in favour of moving the playground next to the restaurant (which is now going to be much busier as it is becoming part of the Boathouse chain) There will be many more trucks and having an accessible playground nearby a truck entrance is very unsafe. As well, there are many ‘strange’ people that hang around the concession stand and would be nearer the children. The location of the current playground is perfect for all. The parents have a lovely view of the ocean while the children play and all can enjoy the breezes. Locating a playground adjacent to a restaurant is plain foolish. As usual, the PArks Board has not thought through the implications in advance.

  5. NC says:

    What a bizarre decision. A quick look at the link to the park board web site provided in the post and I found the Board’s reasoning, well that word isn’t right, the Board’s ridiculously fallacious arguments in favour of this proposal. C’mon Commissioners, we expect a little critical thinking and not blind following of what staff tell you….

    According to Park Board staff, the uncritical Commissioners apparently agreed that lifeguards are now expected to watch over the kids, the basketball courts are to be feared by parents (if this is so then why don’t you fix that. in reality its not so, those courts are well used by kids, mine included), that moving the playground far from any parking lot provided what they call “universal access to parking” and that parents care about being close to the concession more than they care about safety and access.

    Reading the minutes and the staff report you get the idea that these people think we are better off parking in the big and always tough to find a spot parking lot, walking several hundred of feet to the playground, grabbing an overpriced hot dog and then standing downwind of all the weed smokers at the beach and the garbage cans is a good family outing. Earth to Commissioners, ITS NOT. If this is all about propping up revenues at the faltering concession it wont work and that it awfully cynical way to treat families. We stopped feeding that “hot dog-can of pop garbage” to our kids a generation ago and forcing us to walk by the concession to get to a playground won’t change that.

    Keep it where it is. Add some parking reserved for the the families that need it in the small lot that mere feet from the courts and playground. Now, was that so hard to think of?!?

  6. Catherine V. Fraser says:

    Notice of meetings in the fall and a chance to add my opinions never got to me at my house, in the first block east from the park at Creelman and Arbutus.

    That intersection is Very Dangerous- I estimate 25% of the times I’ve crossed it over many years there are cars going right through the stop.

    The new tower blocked out a view of the sea which all drivers had when going west on Creelman, and a relocation would continue that blockage affecting residents of that street. The open space RIGHT THERE is a big deal- it somewhat mitigates the development which I still don’t agree with of the restaurant.

    People really use that green space for high-movement activity.

    The playground is in a fine place where it is! Its remove from the beach action and pot smoke is a big deal for parents

  7. Ann says:

    Kits Beach Park. Doesn\’t a park mean green space anymore? Soon there will no grassy area to walk on. No green space to sit and relax on. No room to toss a ball. No grass for a picnic. No space to play Frisbee. No park lawn for a family get-together. No quiet grassed area to lie down on your beach blanket and daydream. The old playground should be removed and the new one erected in the same space for the reasons that have already been stated as well as the fact that moving it will diminish green space. We have no guarantee if/when the old playground will be removed, if/when it will be grassed over or what will take its place.

  8. […] also found an article at kitsilano.ca (“The Relocation of Kits Beach\’s Playground: Unexplained and Unpopular“) which contains some of  the same text, so Adam may be quoting from them (or vice […]

  9. Mel Barker says:

    Go to playsafekitsbeach@gmail.com
    Copy and paste all the people to contact from the list they send you.

    Then send your notes you just wrote in the comments here to the powers that be and make your voice heard before it’s too late.

    Thats what I did…I hope someone is listening!

  10. Lynne says:

    Another inexplicable bureaucratic decision that ruins family enjoyment of our park and adds cost to the improvements. Which causes me to think there must be a reason and quite likely based on bureaucratic self interest – as many such decisions seem to be.
    What is the plan for the current space they are proposing to vacate? Why move little kids closer to the beach action, drugs and creepy predators often seen hanging about the bushes. The current location is perfect. It is open and visible. Traffic is tamer. Parking is readily available. A better section of the beach for little children is accessible. Yes, improve the equipment – some of which is dangerous – but LEAVE THE LOCATION ALONE.
    Who do we need to yell at to make this clear?

  11. Simon says:

    Posting here cause it won’t let me post on June 3rd article!

    On the City of Vancouver site it says that
    1. there was extensive public consultation with residents…
    http://vancouver.ca/parks/board/2010/100118/KitsilanoBeachPlaygroundConcept.pdf
    “The concept plan presented at the open house in December was reviewed and well received by Kitsilano residents as well as parents and children of all abilities from neighbourhoodsacross Vancouver. The comments received were generally positive and the community\’s
    suggestions informed further refinement of the concept plan.”

    This is news to me!!

    2. The budget for the project is $500K!

    3. The approved designs are available at :
    Appendix 1

    Kitisilano Beach Park Playground Concept Plan Jan 08 10 – presented to Board.pdf
    Appendix 2
    Proposed New Location of Kitisilano Beach Park Playground – presented to Board.pdf

    Oh….they do not appear to be available on the site or anywhere else on the internet 🙁

    So we appear to have an expensive project that not many people know about with plans we can’t see…what the heck is going on?????

    Simon

  12. Kits Folks says:

    I live in the area and was just reading a related blog and one proposal was maybe converting the old space into a daycare incorporating “green” concepts into the design. Something useful and that provides a community service for working families in the hood. Better than another upscaled MacDonalds!

  13. […] inclusive and somewhat controversial playground, which is a 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games legacy, enables children of all […]

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