LEES+Associates (with Groundswell Planning, lead consultant) were retained by the Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) and the Government of Yukon to develop a Master Plan for two adjoining parcels of land in the Range Point Neighbourhood of Whitehorse, Yukon.
LEES+Associates worked closely with team members to prepare mapping for the overall neighbourhood master plan, as well as concept graphics for open space improvements including park spaces, trail connections, recreational features, and site amenities.
Our firm prepared conceptual design for the central neighbourhood park space and a pocket park incorporating distinctive placemaking features reflective of Kwanlin Dün cultural and heritage values. Graphically appealing concept plans and before and after renderings were developed to communicate the proposed designs and neighbourhood character.
Park elements include traditional plantings, a natural playground, a gathering space/fire circle, pathways, viewpoints, and interpretive elements.
The Tse’k’wa Heritage Society commissioned LEES+Associates to design an amphitheatre at the Tse’k’wa National Historic Site, as part of their initiative to plan and design interpretive infrastructure at the site. The piece of land was purchased by three First Nations (Doig River, West Moberly, Prophet River First Nations) that are working together to develop an interpretive centre and surrounding landscape.
The amphitheatre provides a storytelling and performance space for gathering, drumming, interpretive events, outdoor classrooms, and presentations. Natural materials including local stone, wood, canvas and native plants are featured in the design. The centrepiece of the amphitheatre is a weathering steel shell which provides a backdrop to the performance stage. Canvas sails mounted on timber poles provide shade to the amphitheatre seating, inspired by the drum as a central emblem of Dane-Zaa culture.
The following considerations were incorporated into the design:
- Reflecting the Dane-Zaa world view and culture;
- Minimizing the impact on the earth by using local and natural materials,
- Being accessible and welcoming for all visitors, and
- Considering site features including natural slope, and providing buffers from adjacent land uses.
LEES provided conceptual design, detailed design, issued for tender documents, and assisted with contract administration during the construction phase.
With the objective that all people and communities in Vancouver deserve the right to access quality parks, recreation, and nature, the City of Vancouver sought a new vision of General Brock Park to address the challenge of social inequity and serve the current and future communities in the neighbourhood. Brock Park lacked accessibility, had minimal urban forest canopy, and was not meeting demands for low-barrier recreation. The City retained LEES + Associates to develop and implement a vision for the park and its existing park features of passive open space, a traditional playground, and a perimeter walking trail.
Informed by a thorough public engagement strategy, our team developed a new park design to enhance biodiversity, improve ecosystem viability, and expand Vancouver’s urban forest. The design was also informed by CPTED principles, universal accessible design, and landscape resiliency strategies.
In continued involvement with Metro Vancouver’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR) projects, LEES+Associates was retained to support detailed East Area trail planning, as well as to provide RFP Support and Construction Observation for work on the CBC, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Cambodia, and TNT trails.
The LSCR required a detailed plan for improving a number of east area mountain bike primary trails. The goals of this work include:
- Improving the overall user experience and flow for all trail users;
- Creating a top-to-bottom experience;
- Creating features more appealing to contemporary MTB riders;
- Retaining certain heritage or character aspects of the trails;
- Minimizing impacts to sensitive ecosystem areas, such as wetlands and old-growth forest stands;
- Bringing the main lines of all trails in line with single black diamond standards, and
- Drawing riders away from unsanctioned trails and ‘loamers.’
LEES+Associates was commissioned by The City of Regina to develop a Parks Master Plan focused on policy that established a clear path to sustain, improve, and develop Regina’s parks in the future. The LEES+Associates team worked closely with City of Regina staff across multiple departments to ensure the plan was cohesive with other existing and emerging plans and strategies. The development of the plan included a review of existing policies and research on relevant policies in other municipalities.
Feedback from the public, community organizations, and Regina City staff was gathered during two rounds of engagement. Feedback from Indigenous communities was also gathered concurrently. Engagement activities included:
- 15 online interviews and workshops with community groups
- Two online surveys
The Parks Master Plan builds on existing Regina plans and policies and provides a set of principles, goals, and policy recommendations to guide parks and open spaces in Regina including:
- Reducing intensive maintenance approaches in parks such as irrigation and mowing;
- Ensuring stormwater infrastructure supports park uses;
- Increasing natural areas in parks and recognizing these areas as an important part of the park experience;
- Expanding interpretation in natural areas;
- Ensuring parks are inclusive, accessible, and safe for all;
- Fostering four-season park use, and
- Ensuring equitable distribution of parks and park resources across the city.
LEES+Associates worked closely with Zoetica Wildlife Research Inc. to develop the City of Surrey’s Biodiversity Design Guidelines. The Biodiversity Design Guidelines provide recommended actions to support the implementation of Surrey’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. These guidelines are designed for public and private land use and support land use planning and development activities within the City’s Green Infrastructure Network (GIN) and the Urban Matrix (lands outside of the GIN). The BDGs are intended for implementation primarily at the site level.
Organized into eight modules, the BDGs incorporate available research, guidance and best management practices related to biodiversity conservation for different topic areas: habitat structures, light and noise abatement, road ecology, drainage, green roofs and walls, maintained landscapes, trails, and signage.
The Biodiversity Design Guidelines address current management needs and are adaptable to future conditions. The guidelines are prioritized to ensure that the selected actions support City objectives and are feasible to implement on the ground while considering organizational capacity.
LEES+Associates was commissioned by the City of Whitehorse to update the community’s Trail Plan which will guide the City in developing and maintaining trails to the highest standards of user enjoyment and sustainability. The project included the development of an extensive engagement program with specific methods to engage government partners, First Nations, stakeholders, and the public. The engagement received a significant response with over 1,500 individuals and groups participating in the planning process.
The Trail Plan outlines a road map for the City’s trails network over the next 10 years by:
- Establishing a community vision for the Whitehorse trail network;
- Building upon and integrating existing policies, bylaws and memoranda of understanding;
- Identifying key issues and opportunities for the existing trail network;
- Improving connectivity between neighbourhoods and community amenities;
- Exploring opportunities to increase recreational uses and active transportation;
- Identifying opportunities for new trail development and growth;
- Outlining strategies for developing an extensive inventory of trails, amenities and wayfinding signage;
- Mitigating impacts on environmentally sensitive areas through thoughtful planning processes, and
- Providing practical and innovative recommendations that ensure the success of future trail planning and management initiatives.
LEES+Associates worked closely with Design Workshop (prime consultant) to support the first Parks & Recreation Master Plan undertaken by the Vancouver Park Board. Through a multi-year project, LEES staff were responsible for the review and analysis of the level of service for parks and recreation amenities and determining asset targets to guide planning and budget allocations over the next 20 years.
With an extensive and complex system of parks and recreation amenities, our assessment tool took into account the quantity, quality, capacity, and distribution of outdoor recreation amenities and facilities in the City of Vancouver within the context of development patterns and population projections over the next 20 years. Through data analysis and mapping for each amenity, we determined where there was a need for an increase in supply, an increase in the renewal rate (i.e. aging facilities), and/or where improved access was needed (i.e. inequitable distribution).
LEES+Associates, in support of Binnie, was a major contributor to the Track and Field Strategy recently unanimously adopted by the Vancouver Park Board. The strategy guides short-term and long-term investment, management, and programming at Vancouver’s track and field facilities. The strategy provides recommendations under four themes: design and infrastructure, access and participation, programming and cooperation, and management and operations for Vancouver’s 14 existing facilities, and for future expansion.
LEES+Associates led the community and stakeholder engagement for the project and contributed to the background research and development of recommendations for this first-ever city-wide strategy for enhancing track and field facilities.
Public and stakeholder engagement included the assembly of a stakeholder advisory group, outreach and communications content development, two public online surveys, two stakeholder workshops, and two public open houses. For each of the three rounds of engagement, our team developed Discussion Guide and Engagement Summaries. The final report drew in the key findings from the public engagement process and highlighted how that feedback was used in developing the recommendations.
LEES+Associates was commissioned to develop a Parks & Trails Master Plan for the City of Powell River. The goal of the plan was to provide guidance for Council, staff and stakeholders in the acquisition, improvement and maintenance of parks, natural areas, open spaces, active transportation infrastructure, and trails over the next 15 years.
The process included three rounds of public, staff, stakeholder and intergovernmental engagement that provided a strong foundation for the plan. Key short, medium, and long term recommendations included:
- Improve accessibility in key parks and trails
- Secure continuous public shore access
- Consolidate and improve existing sports fields
- Implement trail accession process and trail design guidelines
- Add signage at key intersections and trailheads
LEES+Associates worked with Richard Drdul of Drdul Community Transportation Planning to develop an Active Transportation Plan addressing active transportation facilities and routes.
The Plan identified a network of bicycle routes and bicycle/pedestrian crossings to enable and encourage people to walk and cycle throughout Powell River.