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What is the Buena Vista/Sir Wilfred Laurier Park Master Plan?

The Buena Vista / Laurier Park Master Plan will guide the development, use and management of the park area over the next ten years. It will also provide strategic direction and guidelines to address increasing user demands being placed on the park, and the need to upgrade or replace ageing infrastructure.

A park master plan is a high level strategic document that:

  • Provides a vision and clear sense of direction for the park
  • Incorporates the City’s Vision, strategic planning initiatives and policies
  • Integrates with other City plans and initiatives
  • Identifies public needs and priorities and guides the City to achieve high standards for public parks and green spaces
  • Provides direction for environmental protection
Are changes really needed to the park – why we can’t just keep it as it is?

The City is moving towards having master plans for each of its parks. A master plan for Laurier and Buena Vista park areas was noted as a priority from the 1992 Ribbon of Green Master Plan. The reason for the park changes include:

  • Increases in population of the City of Edmonton means increased park use with more demands on existing facilities and impacts on the natural environment.
  • Specific proposed changes will:
    • Increase barrier free access.
    • Determine the future use of the Yorath Property.
    • Improve signage and wayfinding.
    • Provide improved definition of use areas and the boundaries between them.
    • Address improvements to ageing park facilities and infrastructure.
    • Provide improved facilities and amenities for users.
    • Protect and enhance natural areas.
    • Improve river access and views.
    • Provide more opportunities for year round use.

Will safety be a consideration in the new plan?

Safety is a very important part of parks planning. Key safety considerations for urban park safety include safe sight lines, lighting in key locations, formal and informal surveillance, signage and blue call phones.

How does the master plan address the needs of the River Valley ecosystem (i.e. wildlife, habitat)?

The master planning process includes an environmental review and assessment. Information from this assessment and input with Spencer Environmental, the design team’s biophysical assessment consultant , has been used to develop the three concept plans The final master plan will address issues including:

  1. Invasive species control
  2. Shoreline improvements
  3. Improving trails and managing access to sensitive areas.
  4. Adding plantings to increase habitat areas.
  5. Defining the boundary at the north edge of the park between preservation and off leash uses.
What is the logic for putting the two parks together?

Both parks provide unique recreation opportunities and are viewed by users as two separate parks. They also function in many ways as a single unit that share amenities such as parking and pathways and natural systems, such as shoreline and vegetation that link them together. Both parks are dealing with similar issues such as ageing infrastructure and increased impacts on natural habitat and use areas.

During the June 23 meeting, ISL Engineering and Land Services provided information regarding the naming of the Buena Vista area. Further clarification was requested, asking what is meant by the ‘park is technically not designated as a park.”

The Buena Vista area of the site is designated as parkland, but has not been officially named ‘Buena Vista Park’. It is commonly referred to as such, but remains to be given an official name.

What will happen to Yorath House?

The master plan process will consider options regarding re-development of the former Yorath House and grounds, as well as its ongoing use, management and operation.

What criteria will you use to determine what uses should be included in the master plan?

The design team and the City of Edmonton reviewed current use patterns and anticipated use patterns and we are evaluating these uses with the following criteria:

  1. Is the use compatible with other uses with in the park?
  2. Is the recreational use a unique within the City and found only in this park?
  3. Is the use compatible with the environmental goal found within the Urban Parks Master Plan and other background planning documents?

During development of the master plan we are reviewing existing uses along with potential uses to continue to increase the profile of the Buena Vista and Laurier Park area within the City’s river park system while balancing the needs of the local ecology in an effort to manage increased use and the parks natural systems.

For More Information

Buena Vista / Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park Master Plan Team


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