5 ideas to complete Holland Park
I love Holland Park. I’ve gushed about it on this blog – and others. It’s a truly beautiful space being used exactly as it was designed for, a gathering place at the heart of the community. Now that I live next door though, I’ve noticed that a few additions could really take the park to the next level. Here’s five ideas to improve Holland Park:
1. Add an off-leash dog area. Urban living is synonymous with dog ownership and right now, there’s no off-leash space for canines in the downtown. With an abundance of unused lawn, the City could easily add a fenced area to the park. It doesn’t even need to be that big, as the re-designed Nelson Park in Vancouver demonstrates. The eastern area under the SkyTrain would be my choice.
2. Add a community garden. Technically, the City Centre doesn’t even have a community garden, which is rather odd as it’s the one place in Surrey that most likely needs it. High density living usually removes the chance for gardening, but the blooming community garden movement in Vancouver has shown that needn’t be the case. Community gardens foster a greater appreciation for both food and inedible plants, while providing a space to create connections in the neighbourhood. As a new resident in a downtown condo, having a place to grow some vegetables and meet my neighbours would be quite valuable to livability.
3. Open the fountains to people. Holland Park’s fountains are one of its most under-utilized elements. For whatever reason – depth, chlorination, legal issues – people are not allowed to wade in the water. It does a real disservice to the space as kids and families playing in the water on hot days would add a lot of vibrancy and energy. One of Edmonton’s best features are its public fountains that are filled with people in the summer, both at City Hall and the Legislature – Surrey could follow its lead.
4. Develop the gardens. From the looks of it, you wouldn’t know that Holland Park purportedly has gardens! Maybe it’s due to a lack of age or a lack of theme, but the supposed gardens need some work. My suggestion: utilize some of the hidden lawn space to develop a “global garden” – themed planted areas representing some of diverse cultures of Surrey. This theme could also include partnerships with local ethnic organizations, as well as our existing sister cities in Asia.
5. Bring some activity to the park. Holland Park is of course the site of the annual Fusion Festival. And yes, it has some outdoor movies nights courtesy of the Downtown BIA. But other than that, events in the park have lagged. The park is the natural site for free yoga or zumba, evening concerts, art walks, or special performances of the Surrey Civic Orchestra. Events do take some money, but more than that, they take community organizing.