Canada: Gibsons Public Market to Unveil New Park in 2024 Thanks to $1 Million Donation

A dozen grandkids are pleased about the newest addition to the Gibsons Public Market: a park and playground named after their grandma, Judi “Bubs” Libin.

Thanks to a $1 million grant from the Libin family, the project will transform underutilized public land next to the market’s parking lot into a manicured path with seating and an interactive play center.

Instead of walking through the congested parking lot, the area will create two-thirds of a route that will eventually connect Gower Point Road to the coastline. The final third of the region is projected to be developed over time.

When Len Libin speaks about his late wife, he becomes upset. Doran, Shayla, and Joel were Len and Judi’s three children, and they had 12 grandkids. Judi’s grandson Eli King raised over $3,000 through his first-ever Terry Fox Run in her memory shortly after her death from cancer in 2021.

“Everyone considers their wife and mother and grandmother to be special. And, as far as we were concerned, that was truly the case with Judi. [She was] a special person. And to us this is a very special project, because it was one that she thought of quite a while ago.”

Judi reached out to Pam Robertson, the chair of the Gibsons Community Building Society (GCBS) board of directors, before she died, to express her vision for adding more family-friendly amenities to the Gibsons Public Market.

“Judi was the volunteer in our family and as a recent newcomer to Gibsons she was looking forward to becoming involved with Gibsons Public Market; while that was not to be, I am so pleased that Judi’s legacy will live on through the ‘Judi “Bubs” Libin Park and Play Centre,’” Len said in a press release.

Robertson first saw the design of the park while she was surrounded by 11 of the Libins’ grandchildren, and “was thrilled by their interest and engagement – I was particularly happy to answer ‘yes’ to the question of whether there would be diggers at the play centre!” She said the area will have plenty of stimulation and play options for youth, and she looks forward to growing the market’s community hub.

“They were very close to their grandmother,” Robertson said. “She was a big feature in their lives.”

It is “extremely grateful to Len and his family for their incredible generosity and to everyone helping to realize Judi’s vision for a park and play centre,” Robertson stated.

Pat Campbell, a landscape architect from PMG Landscape Architects Ltd., who has contributed her time and produced the project’s concept, will help bring the park to life. Campbell also suggested underutilized public land near the market.

“I was touched to develop the concept for a children’s play centre in memory of a wife, mother and grandmother,” Campbell said. “Play is the important work of children and this project will provide a vital and much needed addition to the play environment in lower Gibsons – a playful walk, a destination for fun and a significant addition to the many amenities already offered to the community by Gibsons Public Market.”

Len sees the park as a benefit to the entire town of Gibsons, not just the market. He’s moved by how beautifully the initiative has been received.

Gibsons Mayor Silas White stated the council is “pleased to support a play center that will be enjoyable for all.” Having places for children to play in our community is a vital aspect of a child’s emotional and physical development.”

The $1 million gift is the largest in the Gibsons Community Building Society’s 10-year history. The proceeds will also be used to pay off remaining construction debt from the 2017 public market extension and restoration, as well as to outfit the Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre’s catch-and-release aquarium.

“I hope this announcement will encourage others to consider contributing to Gibsons Public Market. Legacy giving is only one of many ways, all amounts are important and helpful,” Len Libin said.


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