City of Vernon published a public tender to procure a design team for a new park

Park designer wanted

Wanted: someone to design a new park in Vernon.

On Jan. 15, the City of Vernon published a request for proposal (RFP) to find a design team for a park at the former Civic Arena site.

“The park site is in an area hosting a mixture of land uses where the surrounding area is designated for intensified infill residential and commercial development. It is a short walking distance from the centre of the City’s downtown core, near the site of a future cultural centre, one block from City Hall, and within a vibrant and unique neighbourhood in one of the oldest areas of Vernon,” the tender states.

According to the RFP, the city is looking for a landscape architect led team to provide design and prime consulting services for the park.

The new park site comprises a city block encompassing approximately 2.5 acres, located within an area of mixed land uses and ongoing urban densification.

The new park will become an important community space and gathering hub within the City Centre. It is located beside the Polson Greenway, a multi-use trail which ultimately connects to the North Okanagan Rail Trail. The park site comprises a flat and mostly vacant 2.25-acre parcel with four road frontages. This provides a unique opportunity to develop an entirely new stand-alone amenity site which reflects the community vision and incorporates modern park design. There is currently no name for this new park.

The final park design must include, at minimum:

  • A least one structure for shelter from weather;
  • Areas of shade;
  • Areas for children;
  • Multi-generational design elements;
  • Hardscape pathways;
  • Naturalized landscape areas for informal recreational activity;
  • Outdoor seating; and
  • Limited on-site parking.

More than 1,000 people responded to a survey that indicated strong support for greenery, trees/shade, water features, playgrounds, family activity areas, and naturalized open space.

These were themes that were consistent amongst the majority of survey responses. The themes were reinforced by participants’ top five chosen preferences for possible activities.

Survey participants were asked to suggest a possible name for the new park. Popular words included “city,” “civic” and “central.”

A large number of respondents indicated a preference for a memorial or historical name, and there was also a desire for input from local indigenous leaders.

The bid closes Feb. 5 with a consulting contract scheduled for the end of February. Construction is scheduled to start in September 2021 and be completed in November.

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