VIA This City Life:

Several months ago, I took my son to a friend’s birthday party at her new home in River District, a recently developed community along the Fraser River in South Vancouver. The day started with Halloween crafts offered at River District’s community centre, which is operated by the developer, Wesgroup. Within five minutes walking distance, we then visited the local farmer’s market (hosted by Wesgroup), played at the playground, strolled along the seawall, and went back to their two-bedroom condo to celebrate with drinks and cake. Later that evening, we went to a Halloween drive-in movie (also organized by the Wesgroup).

This is how you experience a community where the developer is creative in prioritizing the needs of families and children.

The goal of the series, Cities for Families, is to provide examples of how the public, private and non-profit sectors are creating family-friendly cities. It is my hope that these sectors continue to join forces to build homes that are affordable and appealing to families like yours and mine.

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A Master Plan for Families

River District was a product of this type of collaboration. Wesgroup worked closely with the City of Vancouver and community groups to bring to life the vision of a master-planned, walkable community for all ages.

“We have invested a great deal of time in building out a truly pedestrian oriented community where families can live, work and play and our vision is starting to unfold,” said Beau Jarvis, Senior Vice President of Wesgroup.

It took 10 years of community consultation to produce an Official Development Plan for River District, currently the largest master planned community in Vancouver. From the beginning, the City of Vancouver’s goal was to work with the developer and local community to make it appealing to families. Public engagement was paramount in creating the Official Development Plan, which requires that 35% of all units to be suitable for families with children.

“Through multiple levels of consultation including social community gatherings, neighbourhood and public open houses, third party telephone surveys and polls, a committee, design charrettes and direct feedback, we were able to better understand what the community wants and needs from River District,” said Beau. “We are committed to continuing to offer these touch points throughout the development of this project.”

Click here to read the rest of the blog piece on This City Life.

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