Young children and big kids, aka adults, will have to wait longer for the expansion and transformation of Playland into a theme park.
Two years ago, officials with the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) unveiled a sweeping $120-million vision to revitalize the amusement park over 10 years and expand its footprint from 15 acres to 22 acres, occupying space currently used by Hastings Racecourse’s barns and parking facilities on the northeast corner of Hastings Park.
Preliminary conceptual plans show the redevelopment would elevate the amusement park into a theme park, with six different themed lands, including a Main Street entrance, a forest-themed Adventure Land, a Coastal Village centred around a new lake, an urban-themed district, a green space called The Park, and a so-called Kids Playce with bright and oversized objects meant to entertain young kids.
There would also be many new rides and activities, with early concepts showing new, large roller coasters and a river rapids ride.
In June 2016, Vancouver City Council granted the PNE a $1.5-million budget to develop a detailed design and financial report on the project. At the time, PNE staff were expected to return to City Council with a full report on the detailed design and cost analysis by the summer or fall of 2017, but that did not occur.
The municipal government now says City Council is not scheduled to review the detailed design of the Playland redevelopment before the October election. The timeline for this review has been revised to mid-2019.
“This extended timeframe was considered necessary to thoroughly evaluate the fundamentals requested by Council and develop the optimal delivery strategy for the project before commencing with the detailed design phase,” City spokesperson Jag Sandhu told Daily Hive.
At the time of the approval of the process for the detailed design, City councillors were highly in support of the expansion and stated the need of the project in order to retain Playland’s relevance.
Once fully approved, the project will be built in two overlapping phases, with years one to five focused on renovating the existing footprint of Playland and years three to ten on the seven-acre expansion. Attendance has dropped over the years from the ageing and dated rides and attraction.
The construction cost will initially be funded by the municipal government, with the PNE paying the city through the new revenues generated by the expanded Playland.
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