Thursday, June 27, 2019

Concept plan revealed for the Nicomekl River District

For the last two days, Langley City’s proposed Nicomekl River District has been going through a “charrette” to come up with a concept plan to enhance the Nicomekl River, its tributaries, surrounding protected areas, and adjoining neighbourhoods. This “charrette” was an intense two-day process involving the participation of members of the public, council, city staff, and technical experts to develop a concept plan which will be refined over the next year.

Yesterday, I posted about the public workshop which was held on Tuesday to launch the “charrette”. That post provides the context for today’s post about last night’s open house which was held at City Hall.

I was happy to see that the open house was well attended. People were able to learn about the workshop process, and see the work of the technical team in consolidating the ideas from the workshop into one concept plan.

People attending the open house for the Nicomekl River District. Select image to enlarge.

The original plan was to have two concepts, but it became apparent early on that their was strong consensus amount all the workshop participants on how to best enhance the areas around the Nicomekl River. This is pretty amazing as during the workshop people where split into different tables that worked independently.

At the open house, people were encouraged to provide feedback.

Nicomekl River District Design Principles. Select image to enlarge.

The proceeding photo shows the design principles for the Nicomekl River District. The photo was taken early during the open house. I kept my eyes on this board, and while the intensity of the dots increased, the distribution did not change much. The five design principles are:

Walkable & Accessible
People-oriented street designs and inviting pathway connections will make walking a delightful activity and allow people of all abilities to move around safely and comfortably.

Mix of Uses
A mix of uses, including small-scale shops and cafes within the neighbourhood will help create a complete community. A place where individuals and families can get their daily needs all within a short walking-distance from home.

Ecologically Sensitive
Careful stewardship of the Nicomekl River and its floodplain will ensure it stays healthy and full of bio-diverse life for generations to come.

Heritage Conscious
Recollecting the past and animating the landscape with the stories and imagery of those who inhabited the area prior to us will help us understand the present and provide context for the future.

Playful & Safe
Planning and designing for fun and whimsy across all ages will help bring people together and foster a sense of security and ownership in the community.

The following board from the open house provides a brief overview of the workshop.

An overview of the workshop held on Tuesday. Select image to enlarge.

The concept for the Nicomekl River District is split into four different rooms. Each of these rooms has a different focus on how to connect people with the river system, but all include enhancing the natural systems.

The Nicomekl River District concept plan. Select image to enlarge.

The four rooms of the Nicomekl River District. Select image to enlarge.

To help build a complete community, village centres for small-scale shops were proposed for the areas at 200th Street and 50th Avenue, and 208th Street and 48th Avenue. This could be mixed-use areas with shops on the ground level and housing above. The areas highlighted in orange represent places where there is an opportunity to increase the mix of housing types by introducing low-rise apartments, townhouses, and/or rowhouses. This could even include low-rise mixed-use buildings in some areas to improve walkability and enhance the small-town feeling of our community.

One of the other important features of this concept is to start connecting Langley City together. Today, our community can almost feel like it is two different places. This concept looks at connecting our downtown with the Nicomekl River system, and with our southern neighbourhoods.

Based on feedback gathered from the open house, this concept will now start the refinement process. As I noted, this process will take about a year, and there will be further opportunities to help shape the Nicomekl River District.

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