New underwater-themed public park planned for space under Cambie Bridge

Sep 17 2019, 12:04 pm

After gauging initial public interest a year ago, the Vancouver Park Board has returned to the public with a proposed conceptual design for the Coopers Park expansion within an under-utilized space under the north end of the Cambie Street Bridge.

The pocket of space, wedged between the seawall bike lane and Cooperage Way, is covered by the bridge deck.

Vancouver Coopers Park

Site of the Coopers Park expansion under the Cambie Street Bridge. (Vancouver Park Board)

Vancouver Coopers Park

Site of the Coopers Park expansion under the Cambie Street Bridge. (Vancouver Park Board)

Public consultation materials show a design that uniquely revolves around an underwater aquatic life theme, with a blue whale skeleton-inspired bar framework serving as the centrepiece of the space. There would also be a large rocky outcrop, and fixtures that resemble glass sponge reefs and bull kelp.

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All of these elements also have a functional exercise purpose; the whale bar at different heights can be used for parkour and calisthenics, the rocky outcrop can be used for climbing and stretching, and the glass sponges can be used for jumping, dips, split squats, and step-ups.

Vancouver Coopers Park

Artistic rendering of the Coopers Park expansion under the Cambie Street Bridge. (Vancouver Park Board)

Vancouver Coopers Park

Site of the Coopers Park expansion under the Cambie Street Bridge. (Vancouver Park Board)

Another key component of this space is its lighting, which will help enable its year-round use and turn it into a safe and inviting space.

“The lighting strategy will emphasize the coastal theme, and elevate the space into an exciting destination throughout the year by animating the underside of the bridge with shifting water patterns, and highlighting the surface features with a warm glow,” reads the description.

“The design will take into account the need to prevent glare or ‘light-spill’ into adjacent properties, and the need to conform with existing lighting bylaws.”

Vancouver Coopers Park

Artistic rendering of the Coopers Park expansion under the Cambie Street Bridge. (Vancouver Park Board)

In addition to the new fitness gym-like space, there are plans to rebuild the existing playground, located adjacently under the bridge. Due to the positive feedback the park board received last year, the giant red octopus from last year’s first round of ideas will be incorporated as the centrepiece of the new playground. Kids can even slide down one of the octopus’ tentacles.

The existing covered basketball court under the bridge will remain.

Vancouver Coopers Park

Artistic rendering of the new Coopers Park playground under the Cambie Street Bridge. (Vancouver Park Board)

Feedback from the current consultation will be used to create a refined design ahead of the park board’s consideration of the project this winter. If approved, construction could begin sometime next year, but the exact timing depends on the seismic upgrades planned for the bridge.

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