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Misused parklets in New Westminster to be addressed by city

The Belmont parklet has had noise complaints since it’s installation in the summer. Photo by Ashley Singh

Reported by Ashley Singh

New Westminster is bringing in new rules to control rowdy behaviour in the new street parklets it has introduced recently, in an effort to reduce complaints as it moves ahead with more of the popular additions.

Over the summer, two parklets were created. One is on East Columbia and the other on Belmont Street. However, one of them is causing disturbances due to people drinking and using drugs.

Issues with parklets are noted

Erika Mashig, the parks planner for New Westminster, said that she and her team are aware people are misusing the seating spaces.

“There have been some noise complaints,” she said.

Some local residents believe that the Belmont Street parklet should be taken out all together.

“I think the idea was in the right place, but honestly it’s just attracting more trouble than we would like,” said resident Shantyl Jattan.

According the Mashig, the specifics of what will be in a new code of conduct for the parklets is still being discussed. Limited hours for parklets will be implemented and reminders about being respectful to surroundings will be put in place.

The parklets started as pilot project as an initiative aimed to making commercial districts into more welcoming places. Three more parklets are going to be built by 2019.

New Westminster resident Bob Rideout supports making the parklets permanent.

“I hang out here often and I haven’t come across any problems,” Rideout said.

Parklets have been successful in other areas

Parklets have been a popular and inexpensive new feature for streets that urban planners have taken to in recent years, creating small seating areas on streets or sidewalks.

The parklet program was launched during 2010 in San Francisco and has become a popular trend in cities such as Chicago, New York, Seattle, and now in Vancouver.

Bart Slotman, the vice-president of Uptown Business Association, said most of the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and he supports the idea of enlarging the parklets.

A third parklet is expected to be placed on Columbia Street downtown in 2017.



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