Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said the city is very excited they were chosen by the Aga Khan Foundation to receive a gift of a nearly 14-acre community park in central Burnaby, when typically Vancouver is chosen for substantial financial gifts of this kind.
Although Prince Aga Khan announced his intention to build a park for the community two years ago, on his 50th jubilee celebration, it is again in the news as nine public consultation meetings for it ended Thursday. (The public still has time to send in their ideas for the park directly to Burnaby Parks Department before the representative for the Aga Khan Foundation receives the information later this month.) Corrigan said he had the honour of meeting the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili people two years ago who told him “he’s never forgotten Burnaby was the first site of a mosque in B.C. and welcomed the Ismaili community.”
“He has built parks around the world. The most recent one in Cairo. This is a mandate he’s taken on to create these oasises in different parts of the world,” said Corrigan. “We’re pretty honoured to be the city picked for this special gift. It will be a wonderful addition to Burnaby Lake Regional Park.” Corrigan added usually “Vancouver is always the place where all the focus goes so to have Burnaby chosen is a real feather in our cap.”
The park will be on 13.7 acres of land, west of the Ismaili worship centre just east of Highway 1. Corrigan said he suspects the park will be a passive recreation area that will focus on the environment — the natural birdlife and wildlife in the area. He said because it is near the Kensington Sports complex he believes many parents taking their kids there for sporting events would likely later enjoy a leisurely walk in the park with them. He didn’t know when the park would be completed, saying no timetable or budget has been made for it.
“We’re in the first stages and starting to see plans coming together. I understand he (the Aga Khan) takes a direct hands-on approach. He has a love for architecture and landscape architecture. “This is a very auspicious project and follows on the heels of the Ismaili Museum in Toronto. The Ismaili community believes strongly in Canada which is the model for multiculturalism.”
via Vancouver Sun