After 35 years as one of Whistler’s most popular destination parks, a refresh of Rainbow Park is underway for 2023. The Province of British Columbia is investing Resort Municipality Initiative funds to upgrade the space for a wider variety of needs, activities and people.
Latest status: Rainbow Park will close for construction June 5, 2023 through June 2024
The Rainbow Park Rejuvenation project updates are taking place in three phases. Phase 1 was completed in 2022. View information about work planned for 2024 in Phase 3. Phase 2 of the Rainbow Park Rejuvenation project begins June 5, 2023.
In addition to providing a fun place to play, hang out and enjoy the best mountain experience, this work will help us achieve our Big Moves climate action goals and generally improve the lakeside habitat.
Closures during construction
As previously announced, we must limit access to the park during the construction period, for safety reasons. The main beach, lawn, parking lots and the Valley Trail section running through the park will be closed.
Pedestrian access between Alta Lake Road and the lake will be maintained with a temporary access route. This route may be closed for short periods, when construction requires, but we are making an effort to maintain this access.
The upcoming work will include:
- Larger beach area with log and rock seating
- More trees for shade on the lawn
- An additional dock with a hammock and accessible lift
- Improvements to north dock, including a paved path and SUP launch
- Making sections of the Valley Trail wider and improving safety by adding tree and shrub buffers
- Creating an accessible connection between the beach and lake
- Repositioning of beach volleyball area
- New, expanded and improved gathering places, picnic areas and seating opportunities
- Habitat improvements, such as adding trees along the creek and wetland, and adding native plants and pollinator species to support the area’s ecosystem
- Drainage and irrigation improvements
The dog-off-leash area, heritage cabins and event lawn area will remain unaltered.
We have removed the paved beachfront trail from the plans and reduced the size of the food truck plaza.
We know the closure will have an impact on your summer and we sincerely thank you for your patience throughout the construction period. The third and final phase of the project sees the park reopening in June 2024.
These upgrades will benefit the increasing number of people visiting Rainbow Park. In summer 2021, Whistler’s destination parks—Lost Lake, Rainbow, Lakeside and Alpha Lake parks—were visited a total of 176,000 times: 77 per cent more than in 2019. These numbers show how important it is that our parks are well cared for and ready to meet the future. This project is designed to improve the experience for all visitors and provide space for growth, so more people can enjoy the lakefront harmoniously for many years to come.
The rejuvenation project is comprised of three construction phases:
- Phase 1 – commenced in April 2022, fully complete summer 2023.
- Phase 2 – to begin June 5, 2023 and continue to June 2024.
- Phase 3 – park will be open during Phase 3 in summer 2024.
Design strategy and Council updates
The design for the rejuvenated park was informed by the following:
- Recreation and Leisure Master Plan (2015)
- Official Community Plan (2018)
- Parks Master Plan “Outside Voice” community engagement process (2018/19)
- Climate Action Big Moves Strategy (2020)
- Whistler Summer Experience Plan (2021)
- Lived and observed experiences
May 16, 2024: Rainbow Park Rejuvenation Project update and Phase 2 tender award.
January 24, 2023: Rainbow Rejuvenation Project Overview presentation to Council.
The entire cost of construction for all three phases of the Rainbow Park Rejuvenation project is being covered by the Province of British Columbia’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) program, which invests in growing tourism. It will not impact local property tax bills.
The Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) program is managed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. The program is intended to support small, tourism-based municipalities to build and diversify their tourism infrastructure, deliver exceptional visitor experiences and incorporate sustainable tourism practices and products.
Frequently asked questions
Will the park, or portions of the park be open, during construction?
For the safety of residents and visitors, it’s important we close this active construction zone and provide room for the work to be completed. The main beach, lawn, parking lots and the Valley Trail section running through the park will be closed.
Pedestrian access between Alta Lake Road and the lake will be maintained with a temporary access route. This route may be closed for short periods, when construction requires.
How long will the Valley Trail be closed? How will people bike to south Whistler?
The Valley Trail section in the park will be closed for most of the project. The public can bypass Rainbow Park by using the Valley Trail that runs along the west side of the Whistler Golf Course, the Alta Vista and Hillcrest neighborhoods, and past Wayside Park—or use Alta Lake Road between the Alpine Meadows neighbourhood and the Scotia Creek Valley Trail. More advanced cyclists will be able to ride from the bottom of Lorimer Road through the Emerald Forest to Alta Lake Road. It has a rougher gravel surface with some steep climbs, so we are recommending it be used by advanced cyclists only.
Is anything being changed with the dog off-leash area?
The off-leash dog area will remain untouched. We received a lot of feedback during our engagement phase. Some want it to stay the same and some wanted the area moved, since it is in a prime waterfront location.
In 2021, a new dock was added away from the dog off-leash area, and the rejuvenation project will improve access to this dock, and add another dock to the lakefront, in an effort to meet both asks.
Which park should I go to instead?
Meadow Park is the best alternative option. This park has picnic tables, a kid’s water spray park, a playground, washrooms, and fantastic views. Additional picnic tables will be provided, and a food truck and bike valet service will be offered on select days towards the end of June. Meadow Park is best accessed via the Valley Trail and local transit, and we will be offering free transit on weekends whistler.ca/Transit. For those needing to drive, parking at the ball diamond parking lot is strongly recommended. It can be accessed off Camino Drive.
We will increase the frequency and duration of the free shuttle service to Lost Lake Beach, running from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday, June 17th through Labour Day. A second food truck will be available on Saturdays.
Wayside Park, Lakeside Park and Alpha Lake Park will be open, along with docks at Blueberry and Alta Lake Park.
As a reminder, all parks can be accessed by the Valley Trail.
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