by Laura Sciarpelletti · CBC News · Posted: Aug 25, 2018 3:00 PM PT | Last Updated: August 26
‘We wanted to make a public space that’s visible to a really diverse group of neighbours’
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East Vancouver has a new park. And it’s tiny.
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, a registered charity neighbourhood hub that offers events, childcare and community programs, has converted two parking stalls in front of its building into a mini park, or parklet.
The new gathering space on the corner of East Broadway and Prince Albert Street includes an enclosed patio with seating and a garden.
Jenny van Enckevort, communications coordinator for the neighbourhood house, told CBC’s Margaret Gallagher she hopes the tiny park will serve as an invitation for people to visit and use the neighbourhood house.
The parklet is meant to be viewed as an accessible front porch for the whole neighbourhood.
“We wanted to make a public space that’s visible to a really diverse group of neighbours that live near us,” van Enckevort told the CBC.
This is the first parklet sponsored by a non-profit organization, according to van Enckevort.
Parklets first started popping up in Vancouver a few years ago, but have always been sponsored by businesses and organizations, with the city’s approval.
This new parklet was a collaboration between neighbourhood house, Viva Vancouver and the Projects and Places Society, among others.
Volunteers built most of the parklet over the course of a weekend, van Enckevort said.
Other parklets can be seen in front of businesses on streets like Main or Commercial Drive. They often look like an extension of a business, but are actually open to anyone to use.
It’s a good place for a quick rest, especially for seniors, said van Enckevort.
Abeer Yusuf, a volunteer at the Mountain Pleasant Neighbourhood House, immigrated from Malaysia to Canada five years ago.
“Coming to the neighbourhood house and seeing a diversity of languages … people from different cultural and class backgrounds … it really warms my heart because this is the kind of place I want to say I belong to,” Yusuf said.
The new parklet has accessible seating for seniors and people with mobility devices, and a community chalkboard for children to draw on.
The parklet will also function as an art share space for queer and trans youth.
With files from The Early Edition.