Posted on March 09, 2016

Richmond’s City Centre becoming increasingly attractive to families

The commercial corridor of downtown Richmond is just steps from green and leafy residential streets and the gentle roll of the Fraser River towards the Salish Sea. Like downtown Vancouver, Richmond’s core is growing increasingly family friendly, with amenities that are helping transform the city’s centre into a diverse and complete community.

By 2041, the number of children under the age of 15 in downtown Richmond will have increased 118%, to more than 13,000. That is double the 6,190 reported in the 2011 census. Much of this growth will happen by 2025, as new residential developments take shape.

The influx of new families is projected to bring 600 new elementary students by 2025 and an additional 1,228 secondary school students. The shift is prompting Richmond School District 38 to engage in long-term planning to boost capacity at key properties like Richmond Secondary School, William Cook Elementary School and General Currie Elementary School.

There are also options for families when school’s out.

The adventure playground at Terra Nova Rural Park, just a short distance from city centre, is a ‘must’ for young families. It can be reached via the popular Middle Arm Trail and Waterfront Greenway, ideal for a short walk or bicycle outing. Beware, though: you may be distracted by the Middle Arm Waterfront Park on the way, one block from Aberdeen Station.

Those who don’t want to be outside will find a variety of programs at Richmond’s community centres, including City Centre. Sports, fitness, and educational programs – including pre-school and out-of-school care – are staples of the programming, which is offered from the main centre on Minoru Boulevard and satellite locations at Lang Centre and local schools. Seniors programs are among the offerings, ensuring something for everyone in the family, regardless of age or ability.

Richmond Public Library, an early adopter of technologies that have brought learning into the 21st century, will give families a taste of culture, as will the Richmond Art Gallery. Both are located in the city’s emerging cultural precinct between Richmond Centre mall and Minoru Park.

While childcare is often challenging to find in other cities, Richmond is conscious of its importance to working parents and is pursuing several initiatives aimed at meeting the needs of parents. The city has worked to encourage the incorporation of childcare spaces in new developments, and has established a Child Care Development Statutory Reserve Fund, which holds amenity contributions collected from real estate developers for child care capital projects. The city aims to make child care facilities in municipal properties available for lease at nominal rates to non-profit providers.

The breadth of attractions and services in downtown Richmond make it an appealing destination where families can relax and rediscover the world. The addition of new amenities designed to support the growing number of families who choose to locate here will only enhance its ability for families to cultivate an appreciation for the city’s natural and cultural diversity.