Local residents now have a new place to commune with nature in north Port Coquitlam, following the opening of Blakeburn Lagoons Park today.
The largest addition to Port Coquitlam’s parks network in decades, the 11-hectare (27-acre) urban oasis and nature preserve was developed over the last year on the site of two former waste settling ponds. The extensive redevelopment and cleanup of the site were made possible with $1.9 million in funding from the federal-provincial Small Communities Fund, which covered two-thirds of the project’s $2.8 million cost.
Accessed from the south end of Elbow Place or Fremont Street, the new park features walking trails looping around the lagoons, seating, viewing areas and other amenities.
“It’s exciting to see this site reborn into a community asset and destination after being closed to the public for more than three decades,” Mayor Greg Moore said. “This project was on the books for many years – we couldn’t have done it without the provincial and federal funding.”
The transformation of the site earned the City a Sustainable Communities Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities earlier this year. Construction began in spring 2017 and has included remediation of contaminated soils, reshaping the lagoons to serve as a wetland habitat, and creating spaces for the public to interact with nature.
“The Government of Canada is very proud to have contributed to the transformation of the Blakeburn lagoons,” said Ron McKinnon, Member of Parliament for Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “We are committed to investing in infrastructure that helps build cleaner, stronger communities and this project is an impressive example of green thinking that will benefit residents for years to come.”
The park opening on Apr. 28 was attended by about close to 500 people and included opening remarks, refreshments, face painting, hands-on planting, guided walks and other activities.
“It’s exciting to see the completion of this award-winning rejuvenated land, from a closed contaminated site to a stunning greenspace with walking trails and beautiful views,” said Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth. “It has been inspiring to see so much dedication and hard work over the last year, resulting in the creation of a park that everyone can spend time in and enjoy.”
Blakeburn Lagoons Park is now open dawn to dusk and features:
- 1.6 kilometres of looped walking trails,
- A reflective space designated as a place to reflect, heal and honour, with seating, plantings and views of the lagoons,
- Seating, educational signage and a picnic area,
- Viewing platforms at key vantage points,
- Six ecological habitat zones, including more than 100,000 indigenous shrubs and groundcover plants, more than 1,300 indigenous trees and two acres of native grasses,
- Four wildlife-only habitat islands, and
- Vegetative buffers and fencing to protect environmentally sensitive areas from public access.
For more information about the project, visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/blakeburn
Grand Opening Celebration of Blakeburn Lagoons Park