Over 20 pop-up plazas were installed throughout the city during the Covid-19 pandemic and have proven to be popular additions to the public sphere. They provide a place to eat, rest, socialize and participate in neighbourhood activities.
Given the popularity of the plazas, the city has decided to make them permanent. Many of them, including the plaza at Hastings and Kamloops Street, will be getting upgrades in the near future.
Once construction has been finalized, the plaza will be bigger and greener. It will offer more seating, a bike rack and street planters to make the plaza more inviting. The area will also hold storage containers and a utility box on which it is planned to install art wraps. The Hastings North Business Improvement Association (HNBIA) is also hoping to complete a mural this summer.
Construction is scheduled to begin shortly with the City of Vancouver creating a gravel path, installing the planters and adding a water connection. The next step, later this summer, will be to install seating and bike racks.
Community partners, such as the HNBIA, Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, the Vancouver Urban Food Forest Association (VUFF) and Ward Memorial Baptist Church, play a major part in the neighbourhood plaza upgrade.
These neighbourhood plaza stewards have created a planting plan, and will purchase and install plants in the new green spaces. It will include an indigenous garden planted by the VUFF. The City is providing a grant to assist in the costs of the planting plan.
“We look forward to having a larger and beautified area close to the Hastings shopping strip where patrons can take a break, and neighbourhood organizations can host events for the community,” says Jessica Liebenberg, responsible for projects and marketing at the HNBIA.