Parks: What is a park? What is a green space?

almost 6 years ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

In the OCP survey, you said that you value Richmond's GREEN SPACES as well as Parks (see the OCP survey questions and answers below).  Green spaces is not a term that the City typically uses to refer to its parks. We use the terms "parks" and "open spaces" and definitions for both are provided below.  We are seeking clarification on what you mean by the terms "parks and "green spaces".  Are they the same thing or different?

City definitions for parks and open space

Parks: all traditional outdoor spaces that are used by the public primarily for recreational and leisure uses. They range in size and function from destination parks (Garry Point), environmental parks (Nature Park), athletic parks (Hugh Boyd), school/parks in a neighbourhood to small City Centre parks (Land Park).

Open Spaces: public spaces such as dyke trails, greenways, small urban plazas, undeveloped road right-of-ways, boulevard, and spaces between buildings.

OCP SURVEY questions:

Question 22 "my top three exciting changes that I would like to see in Richmond in the future are"...The No. 1 answer was "increase the number of parks" and "more green space". 

Question 23 "my top three favorite things that I wouldn't want to see changed in Richmond are:"... Again, the No. 1 answer was dyke trails and green spaces. 

  • Olga over 9 years ago
    In my opinion green space includes parks as a subtype, but also community gardens and dyke trials and greenways - these are overlaying areas that have in common the key element - the greenery, as is opposed to paved surface. Whoever prepared the questions for the OCP survey did a poor job (and the council did not check its content) as it was confusing, predetermined and now you can not even understand what people wanted.
  • Yew over 9 years ago
    The “Open Space” display boards for a City Centre Area Plan open house state: “Current policy requires that City and School District open space serve City Centre residents at a ratio of 7.66 acres/1,000 people, of which 3.25 acres/1,000 people must be situated within the downtown.”In view of that definition, it is obvious that the term “open space” on the City Centre display boards refers to all green space owned by the City of Richmond or Richmond School District. That definition is consistent with council decisions that are reflected in various places on the City of Richmond website. In contrast, the definition accompanying this question is highly inconsistent with the genuine City of Richmond definition of “open space”, which certainly does not refer only to odds and ends of space.When a supposed means to gather public input is actually misleading the citizens, the effect is very harmful.What is obvious is that citizens want more greenspace that is publicly owned and publicly accessible. They want more “parks” if that word means “parkland.” And there is no reason to think that they particularly care whether the parkland is officially a park or named “park.” For instance, the Terra Nova Natural Area is not named “park” and may not be owned by the city, but the citizens would only care that it is greenspace that is publicly owned and publicly accessible, i.e., “open space”.According to the existing policy, there will need to be more open space (publicly owned greenspace) since there is not currently enough for the projected population. The only way to have it available is to obtain it now, since there will be no way to add it later without using ALR land, which is likely to become increasingly unacceptable as the food security issue grows.Please stop writing misleading, confusing, harmful questions and instead honor what the citizens have already requested.Source of City Centre display board quotation:http://www.richmond.ca/__shared/assets/CCAP_Open_Space___Amenity_Display_Boards16489.pdf
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    • Daisies over 9 years ago
      In the www.richmond.ca definition of sustainability, "Working towards sustainability means living within limits". Does that not include living within the limit of 7.66 acres of open space per thousand residents? I followed the URL to the City Center display boards, and that policy is clear. City staff should have mentioned it in this discussion instead of confusing the open space issue because they do not know the policy or do not want to inform the forum about the policy. It is inconsistent to ask citizens to work toward living within limits unless council and staff are committed enough to that ideal to know and follow a precise limit like the 7.66 acres/1,000 one.
  • carol Day over 9 years ago
    Green space is green not pavement , not buildings, just green, this isn't rocket science but l feel this city has lost trck of that.When you vist older townhouse developments in Richmond there are large open area's where kids can run and play with water toys and to see them out there running around brings back fond memories for me growing up in Richmond. The new Townhouse complexes are sad sad places with a 20' by 20' area designated as a PLAYGROUND , these are covered with bark mulch and often right out to the main roads with cars racing by. The back yards these townhouses have are also sad little excuses for green space. I worry that the developments we are allowing are not going to allow for outside activities and will not be healthy environments for the next generation of children.Parks need to be close to where these developments are to offset the non existant green space in these new developments. While water features and sculptures are lovely they are no replacement for open space space where you can feel the grass in between your toes.As long as this council contnues to approve these concrete developments they then also owe it to society to provide public GREEN space that is green . KIds need to fly kites and run around, Seniors need to get out and move, Hard working adults need to stretch out and read a book under the open sky . Create more parks and do not depend on the Richmond Board of Education to provide that park space. The board will require more and more land for additions to schools and there is little or no affordable land available for development of new schools. The down town area is being developed with incredibly high density but where is the land for new schools ?Park land needs to be set aside now where the people live not a car ride away, this is the responsibility of this council.
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    • Yew over 9 years ago
      Yes. Incredibly, I see from the OCP map that there are no public schools in the City Centre north of Cook Road, even though the City Centre goes north to the Fraser River, and I haven't heard of any plans for any. There are also no community centres anywhere in the City Centre other than the tiny little Lang Centre and the proposed community centre within a future development on the north side of London Drugs (No. 3 Road north of Westminster Highway). With a projected City Centre population of 120,000, the elementary schools and community centres should be in the core, central to the areas where people will live, not off on the periphery and not across arterial roads like Gilbert Road and Garden City Road. The inadequate planning for central elementary schools and community centres in the City Centre must be resolved ASAP, even though it will now be more expensive. And it should happen without the destruction of existing open spaces, which means that existing redevelopment sites will need to be obtained. As Olga has implied, there is a cultural reason why City Centre people are less active in standing up for what they need than people in the more suburban areas (like South Arm, where residents with a huge park are still militant about the details). On top of that, since the City Centre population is expected to multipy, the people who will find themselves without sufficient centrally-located schools and community centres do not live in the City Centre yet and therefore are not in a position to be campaigning for more attention to basic City Centre services.The 120,000 projected residents of the City Centre will also need a great deal of green space for community gardens, and they will need additional tranquil settings within walking distance of the core of the City Centre. Those are essentials if we are really aiming to maintain and enhance livability. They require "open space" as genuinely defined (not as phonily defined in this survey) and as described by Carol Day, who makes the good point that open space should be essentially green space.
  • Admin Commented June over 9 years ago
    Thank you for all your comments on this subject.The intent of this discussion topic was for the city to understand what Richmond residents means when they use the terms "park" and "green space" since these are common terms that people identify with. While "green space" and "park" are often used to mean the same thing, the Official Community Plan and the City Centre Plan use ther term "Parks and Open Space" to describe the following:1. City-owned park land (parks, natural areas plazas;2. City-owned rights-of-way that include pubilc recreational uses (dike trails and other trails such as Shell Road Trail;3. Priveately owned, publicly accessible open spaces secured through legal agreement (plazas, neighbourhood green links through development sites, tot lots;4. Public open spaces owned by other agencies such (e.g., Richmond School District and Metro Vancouver's Iona Beach).The suggestions in the postings about how public parks and open spaces are and how green are important points to consider. When calculating how much area is required for parks and open space purposes, the City includes all of the types listed above because they are all publicly accessible and provide the desired social, environmental and recreational services. The "greenness", which may refer to grass, trees or other "green" features such as community gardens, is dependent on the use of the park or open space and the context. For example, spaces on the urban edges may have a different character and composition compared to a downtown location.Please continue sharing your thoughts. We appreciate it.
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    • Olga over 9 years ago
      I disagree with the policy that "3. Priveately owned, publicly accessible open spaces secured through legal agreement (plazas, neighbourhood green links through development sites, tot lots" should be included in the "Parks and Open Space" footage because by its nature they are of the temporary character and the owner is only under the obligation to keep these patches green as long as the legal agreement is in effect. If it expires then the land can be used otherwise and be not green anymore but by then there will be no land in that area to substitute for the loss so the city puts these areas at risk to be short in Parks and Open Space footage with the resulting loss of the quality of life.I am actually not sure how often the reassessment of the current ratio (Parks and Open Space/number of people) is done and if we are still OK in the City Center area and other places with the subdivisions and resonings from the single family lots to the townhouses lots and the River Green starting development. I would appreciate if richmond1 OCP: Senior Planner can answer this question here for everyone interested to read.
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      • Daisies over 9 years ago
        I agree with Olga. The different drafts of City Centre Community Plan did not define open space the way that richmond1 OCP: Senior Planner defines it. The plan already reduces the amount of open space for City Centre population that is required to be downtown (just 3.5 acres per thousand instead of 7.66 acres.) My way to picture that this people who live in the City Centre having to travel to luckier parts of Richmond to use the rest of their park. Now the City Centre population will have its space cut back again because the planner is now counting "Privately owned, publicly accessible open spaces". That was not counted in the "open space" definition used in public consultation was followed.
    • Richmondman over 9 years ago
      Could you please clarify the followings:1. Do you count the rooftop garden as open spaces? It is locked for owners use only, it is the roof of garage or living area. Can you double count the area of this piece of land?2. When you count the public open spaces owned by the other agencis. How to ensure the public use when they sell the land for other use. (e.g. School District is selling a high school).
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      • Daisies over 9 years ago
        I agree with Richmondman about the school district selling a high school. They are trying to do that with the Steveston Seconary property. If some of that becomes a development it will reduce the area of open space. The safeguards of open space need to be tightened so that it will not be lost when a change of use happens.
  • Sparky over 9 years ago
    Green space is a large open green area to be used for the quiet enjoyment of the residents of Richmond and not just a sports field. Other spaces can be provided for sports and entertainment. Green space should be similar to the north end of Minoru Park east of the hospital.
  • Admin Commented June over 9 years ago
    Thank you very much for your comments on this discussion topic. Several of the comments and questions relate to the City's ability to accommodate population growth while maintaining sufficient parks and open space. The City re- assesses the ratio of parks and open space to the population every five years. The ratio provides a target, but more important, is the type and distribution of parks and open space throughout the city's neighbourhoods. For example, every resident should have access to a neighbourhood park within walking distance of their home. In older Richmond neighbourhoods, a neighbourhood park (typically combined with a school) is located in each quarter section. In the City Centre Area Plan, the distribution of new parks will complement the existing parks and address areas where growth is occuring. While rooftop space represents an opportunity to provide open space, it is not included in the City's public open space planning because it is not publicly accessible. Again, thank you very much for your input.