A man walking his dog in front of Nelson Park

Nelson Park impact assessment and public engagement

In June 2018, the Vancouver School Board accepted a proposal from BC Hydro to construct an underground electrical substation at the Lord Roberts Annex School site adjacent to Nelson Park.

BC Hydro is currently seeking permission from the Vancouver Park Board to bury underground power cables through Nelson Park to connect the planned West End Substation to the existing electrical system.

The Park Board is undertaking an independent Nelson Park Impact Assessment and Public Engagement process to understand the impacts of BC Hydro’s request and the redevelopment of the Lord Roberts Annex site, both short and long-term, on Nelson park.

As impacts are identified, the project team will study potential options that could help reduce impacts to the park and identify opportunities for potential park improvements. In 2020, Park Board staff will report back to Park Board Commissioners to help inform Commissioners’ decision regarding BC Hydro’s request.

What's happening

On February 7, 2022, the Vancouver Park Board authorized staff to execute multiple land use agreements to grant BC Hydro rights related to:

  • Ramps
  • Electrical transmission and distribution corridors
  • Surface restrictions 

This is to support the West End Substation being constructed at the Lord Roberts Annex.

Read the report here (1.6 MB)

The next steps will be for staff to coordinate work within the park alongside BC Hydro. Further updates and timelines will be provided when the information is available.

What is the process?

The Vancouver Park Board kicked off the process in May 2019 and held initial meetings with community stakeholders in June 2019 to obtain background on preliminary community values and the issues that are important to park users.

In 2020, the Park Board will review public feedback and independent technical analysis of potential effects of the planned West End Substation on Nelson Park. This information will assist Park Board Commissioners in their consideration of BC Hydro’s request to bury underground power cables through Nelson Park to connect the planned West End Substation to the existing electrical system. Any work that impacts the park is subject to approval by the Park Board and City Council.

BC Hydro engaged the public on the seed proposal in 2017 (which was withdrawn) and then on the current West End Substation proposal in 2018 (which was accepted by Vancouver School Board and is the focus of the Nelson Park Impact Assessment and Public Engagement).

Read the results of the BC Hydro-led public engagement processes

Note Conceptual only. Final routing has not been determined. 

The above map shows the limits of Nelson Park and conceptual routing for underground power cables through the park. Should the Park Board accept BC Hydro’s request, the locations would be determined through this process with the objective of minimizing impacts to Nelson Park.

Project timeline

Here is our progress and planned steps.

  • April to
    June 2019

    Impact assessment and mitigation strategies report

  • June 2019

    Stakeholder engagement

  • Fall 2019

    Public and stakeholder engagement

  • Winter/Spring 2020

    Presentation to Park Board Commissioners

About Nelson Park

Nelson Park is the largest non-waterfront park in downtown, located in the heart of the West End.

At just under three acres in size, Nelson Park includes an off-leash dog park, community garden, pathways, and passive open space encircled by mature trees. A small playground supplements a larger one on the adjacent school grounds.

The park was renewed in 2008 and is well used, serving the densest neighbourhood in the city, which is among the densest in North America.

With a number of residential towers proposed nearby, and no opportunities anticipated to acquire parkland of significant size in this area, it is expected that the pressure on this park will continue to increase. Therefore, a thoughtful review of the request from BC Hydro is essential to help ensure Nelson Park remains a high-quality destination for existing and future residents.

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