13 October 2016

Annual Fall Leaf Guide

City of Vancouver
Information Bulletin

October 13, 2016 
Stormy fall and winter weather can cause clogged catch basins (also called storm drains) to flood. Help prevent flooding in your neighbourhood by raking and clearing leaves from the catch basin in front of your home and putting the leaves into your Green Bin.

All leaves that are cleared from catch basins, sidewalks, boulevards and residents property should be added to their Green Bin until it is full. Leaves that do not fit in their Green Bin, should be stored in a dry area and added to the Green Bin again once it is emptied. Green Bins will continue to be collected weekly according to residents’ regular collection schedule.

Extra Leaf Collection
Extra leaves that do not fit in residents Green Bins should be placed in biodegradable paper yard waste bags and stored in a dry area until our extra leaf collection program starts.  Bagged leaves will be collected city-wide by crews on the following designated weekends: 

·         October 29 to 30
·         November 19 to 20 (updated date)
·         December 10 to 11
·         January 14 to 15, 2017 (Christmas trees will also be collected)

Leaves may be collected on either Saturday or Sunday (not both days). To avoid a missed collection, residents are asked to set their leaves out for collection before
7:00 am on the scheduled Saturday and to download the VanCollect app on their smartphone for collection reminders.

Street Leaf Cleaning
City crews will begin to clear streets of leaves on November 14 with added focus on streets with higher volumes of leaves. If temporary "no parking" signs are posted on a side of the street, residents are required to move vehicles to another parking spot before 7:00 a.m. on the date indicated. Vehicles that are not moved may be ticketed or towed. At times, crews may be delayed in some neighbourhoods with large amounts of leaves but will return as soon as possible to complete the work. Moving your vehicle enables crews to do a better job of clearing streets of leaves.

Leaves to Compost
Collected leaves are turned in to nutrient-rich compost at the Vancouver Landfill. This compost can be purchased by residential gardeners, commercial landscapers and municipal park boards. Leaves and other yard trimmings can also be dropped off for composting at the Vancouver South Transfer Station located at 377 West Kent Ave North and at the Vancouver Landfill located at 5400 72nd Street in Delta.

Helpful guidelines on the City’s fall leaf program can be found at vancouver.ca/leaves.

Disposing of leaves on boulevards or City property (including parks) is illegal dumping, and can result in a fine of up to $10,000.


Media Contact:
Corporate Communications

06 October 2016

What's happening at the Vancouver School Board?

I don't as a rule write about school and education issues on this blog, but the on going crisis at the Vancouver School Board (my employer) can effect other areas of the city as well. The Park Board shares facilities and fields with the VSB, and instability in one organization can have repercussion at the other. Here is an Op/Ed written by my Green caucus mate VSB Trustee Janet Fraser, on what is happening there:

Opinion: Life as a VSB trustee

What is life like as a Vancouver School Board (VSB) trustee? I usually enjoy working to make education better for our students, but both my first week as a trustee and this most recent week have been very challenging.

In November 2014, nine VSB trustees were elected, four Vision and four NPA, with myself as the lone Green. With this 4-4-1 board, if Vision and NPA disagree, my vote will be the decider. This happened with my very first vote, voting for the board chair. Patti Bacchus had been chairwoman for six years under two Vision majority boards, but I voted for the NPA’s nominee, Christopher Richardson, because Vision no longer had a majority and I wanted to reflect voters’ desire for change. The social media backlash was immediate, and it was clear that it would be difficult to set aside partisan differences to work collaboratively as a board.

Moving forward to this week, in the midst of considering school closures the entire VSB senior management team is on medical leave. I value and respect every member of our senior management team and hope that their leaves resolve well. I am disappointed in myself as I am the vice-chair, and despite holding this leadership position our district has come to this outcome.

At our last board meeting, our Acting Superintendent recommended that the school closure process be suspended. Despite the board’s unanimous approval to move forward with closure consultations for 11 schools, I voted to suspend the process as without our senior management team the VSB does not have the capability to carry out these meetings in any meaningful way. I realize this decision will impact next year’s budget as our available funding is spread ever-more thinly across the district, and that it may also impact our ability to provide temporary accommodation to move forward our seismic program as soon as possible. However, the well-being of our staff cannot be put at risk by unrealistic expectations. I disagree with our Vision chairman Mike Lombardi’s position that the minister’s removal of the 95-per-cent capacity utilization requirement will fundamentally change our Long Range Facility Plan and school closure process. The minister’s announcement still requires a solid case for funding seismic upgrades and that there be the right number of schools for the actual number of students, which to me are essentially the same parameters.

In the near future, a special advisor will submit his report to the minister and WorkSafeBC will investigate allegations in a letter from the B.C. School Superintendents Association that the VSB work environment creates a toxicity that fosters fear and a lack of a sense of safety for those lead educators as the expectations requested of them are unmanageable.

I usually downplay party political affiliations when I write about being a trustee, but I have learned they are always present and I acknowledge that reality here. I work hard to make evidence-based decisions that focus on the best interests of our students, but I cannot get away from the fact that VSB decisions play out in a partisan political arena, at both the municipal and provincial levels. I do not align with any other political party, I do not vote for or against any party, rather I vote for our students and their public education. I am finding it more and more difficult to work collaboratively with my fellow trustees when I know that our work will always be viewed through a political rather than an educational lens.

Trustees have the responsibility to support the success of every student in our district, and right now we must focus on these nearly 50,000 students to ensure their education is not affected by the dysfunction at the board level.

Janet Fraser is a Green Party Vancouver School Board trustee.

27 September 2016

Vancouver offers 3,000 trees for $10 each

Steve Whysall,   Vancouver Sun 
Published: September 26, 2016 Updated: September 27, 2016 3:50 PM
Do you have room in your garden for another tree? Or perhaps you don’t have any trees in your garden and you think it’s time to plant one.
Now’s the perfect time to do it. And Vancouver Park Board is making it a whole lot easier by offering residents 3,000 trees at a bargain price of $10 each as part of the city’s plan to get 150,000 trees planted by 2020 in a bid to “replenish the urban forest” and make Vancouver one of the greenest cities in the world.
This is the third time the city has made this offer. Featuring 27 varieties of trees, the sale will be held Oct. 1 and 2. Residents are encouraged to place orders online and then pick up their tree/trees at the Hillcrest Community Centre, 4575 Clancy Loranger Way Vancouver.
“These sales are critical to us getting trees into the hands of private citizens to support our goals of 150,000 new trees planted in Vancouver by 2020,” says Margo Harper, spokesperson for the park board
Trees being offered include this extensive list: Bing cherry, Brown Turkey and Desert King fig, Carolina allspice, cascara, Combination apple, Constellation dogwood, Cupid sour cherry, Emperor Japanese maple, McNair horse chestnut, Gladiator crabapple, hardy orange, Hot Wings Tatarian maple, Japanese tree lilac, Leyland cypress, Little Woody redbud, Mayday tree, Pagoda dogwood, Prairie Spire Green ash, Prairie Torch buckeye, Rainbow’s End spruce, Showy mountain ash, Showbird hawthorn, Spring Show crabapple, stag horn sumac, Twisty Baby robinia, vine maple, and Norway spruce.
“We have had  pretty slow uptake on pre-sales compared to spring and last fall,” says Harper, “but there are some very interesting and unusual trees for sale at great prices.”
Vancouver residents can buy up to a maximum of three trees per household. The trees are worth about $75 each but are not suitable for balconies or inside the home.
“We are planning for annual spring and fall sales going forward,” says Vancouver park board chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.
“Vancouverites can play a vital role as planting partners to help us restore our tree canopy and meet our goals for a healthy urban forest,” she says.
Residents who have ordered and paid for their trees online can pick them up October 1st or 2nd at Hillcrest Centre.
A limited number of trees will be available for cash purchase on Sunday, October 2 between 2 pm – 4 pm.
Trees are only available for sale to City of Vancouver residents. ID and proof of address will be required when picking up trees.
Today, only 18 per cent of Vancouver is covered by tree canopy, a drop from 22 per cent in 1995. 
For more information go to Vancouver Fall Tree Sale

23 September 2016

Concerned residents seek answers as geese continue to deface Women's Monument

Geese droppings have been defacing the monument in Vancouver’s Thornton Park since 2013

By Cory Correia, CBC News Posted: Sep 22, 2016 7:08 PM PT

The continuing defacement of a Vancouver monument has concerned citizens asking city hall for answers.

Geese droppings have been defacing the Women's Monument in Vancouver's Thornton Park since 2013.

The monument features 14 pink granite benches in memory of the 14 women who were murdered in the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal and is dedicated to ending violence against women.

 Chris McDowell and members of the Women's Monument Committee
Chris McDowell and members of the Women's Monument Committee pay their respects. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

Chris McDowell belongs to the Women's Monument Committee, which is trying to find a long-term solution to keeping the benches clean.

"We created this with the support of thousands of people to fight violence against women, and it really ruins it when it's covered in excrement," said McDowell.

She says geese have been displaced into the park by nearby property development and is urging city hall to create bylaws and policies that make developers accountable for relocating wildlife.

Marker of Change bench at Thornton Park
A memorial bench at Thornton Park is covered in geese droppings. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

The benches are designed to gather rainwater and portray a pool of tears. McDowell said when the geese were displaced, the bench pools became their one water source.

"They excrete up to four pounds a day. They excrete involuntarily, and when they drink they excrete. And it's just amazing what a mess this monument can become," said McDowell.

Geese at Thornton Park
Geese droppings are defacing the Women's Monument at Thornton Park in Vancouver. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon says the park board has looked into increased cleaning. They have also investigated moving the geese and have put up signs asking the public not to feed or disturb the geese.

But Mackinnon insists these solutions fall short of the bigger issue of animal displacement due to development.

"It's bigger than just the goose problem here, although that's what we're talking about, but having developers take the initiative to relocate in a humane fashion wildlife that they're disturbing, I think that that's a very important issue and that's something the city can be involved in."

McDowell says the number of geese has grown from 12 to 67 over the last three years, and with the construction of St.Paul's Hospital next door, she experts more wildlife to relocate to the park in the future.

22 September 2016

Bike share program expanding into Stanley Park

RenaHeer, Reporter / Anchor, CTV Vancouver   Published Thursday, September 22, 2016 6:25PM PDT
Vancouver's new bike share program is expanding into the city's largest park, with plans for seven stations where cyclists can rent a ride.
The Vancouver Park Board approved the new locations in the high-traffic hotspot on Monday, a decision some local businesses are strongly against. The board also approved another four stations elsewhere in the city.
Small bike rental shop owners located in the downtown core said they were misled to believe that the bike share program would not target tourists.
Operated by Mobi, the city's bike share program was scheduled to launch in mid-June, but was delayed until July when less than a quarter of the promised bikes were released.
Still, more than 73,000 trips have been taken on the bikes since July, so the city is calling it a success so far.
But even in its early stages, local bike rental shops were worried the Mobi bikes would bite into their client base. Many say they were assured the bikes would be catered to commuters, and would not hurt the local businesses who rent mostly to tourists.
"Inside the park isn't really a commute to and from work. That's where the issue begins," said Paulina Vargas from Bikes and Blades.
Now some of the shop owners say they feel they'll be forced to compete directly with Mobi, which is subsidized by the city. The Mobi bikes will also be right in the park, while the businesses' bikes are a few blocks away, so visitors to the park might be even more inclined to choose the more convenient options.
Sabha Saffari, from Stanley Park Cycles, said a station down the street has already cut his business back at least 35 per cent. He expects Mobi stations in the park itself will hit the shop even harder.
He said city officials consulted with bike shop owners, but then went against their wishes.
But a representative from the city said officials were clear that there would be stations around the downtown core, and that the bikes may be good for business.
"In many cases, what we've heard from other cities is there's actually an uplift in cycling in general, so this can be complementary to them," Scott Edwards said.
"The pricing structure is such that we would actually encourage people, if you want to rent a bike for more than half an hour or an hour, please go support one of the local businesses."
The newly approved Stanley Park stations will be located at:
  • Second Beach south – 16 to 20 bike docks
  • Second Beach north – 14 to 18 bike docks
  • Third Beach – 32 bike docks
  • Stanley Park Pavilion – number of docks not yet determined
  • Vancouver Aquarium – 16 bike docks
  • Information Booth – 18 to 20 bike docks
  • Totem poles – 24 to 28 bike docks
The other new stations will be located at:
  • Kitsilano Beach Park, south parking lot – 32 bike docks
  • Sunset Beach, east parking lot – 32 bike locks
  • Sunset Beach, west parking lot – 32 bike docks
  • English Bay, bathhouse roof plaza – 30 bike docks

20 September 2016

Park Board takes steps towards second seniors’ centre in southeast Vancouver

Vancouver Park Board
News Release
September 20, 2016 

At a Board meeting last night, Vancouver Park Board directed staff to investigate potential sites for a seniors’ centre near Sunset Community Centre.
If built, the seniors’ facility would be the second one in southeast Vancouver after Killarney Seniors’ Centre. Construction on that centre is scheduled to start early next year and be completed in 2018.

“Vancouver’s seniors’ population is set to explode in the next 25 years, so it’s important there are facilities where seniors’ can connect in high demand neighbourhoods such as Sunset,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.

“It has been a pleasure discussing the potential for a new facility with the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, MP for Vancouver South. Minister Sajjan is a strong supporter of the proposed seniors centre at Sunset Community Centre.”

Staff will explore a funding model similar to the Killarney Seniors’ Centre whereby the Board contributes land with funding from the City of Vancouver and other levels of government. Plans would take into consideration the existing Sunset Community Centre Master Plan.

"On behalf of the Sunset Community Association board, we are pleased to fully support a new south Vancouver seniors centre in Sunset. As a neighbourhood with tremendous diversity and a growing population of seniors, it will be a way to better serve more members of our community,” said Sunset Community Association President Greg Hubbard.

A seniors’ centre in the Sunset neighbourhood aligns with the Park Board’s direction to staff in February to develop a comprehensive seniors’ strategy, which is being created to address how seniors can be best served and supported long-term by Park Board facilities, services, and programs. 

Staff is to report back early next year on proposed sites for the seniors’ centre.
In the next 25 years, the number of residents aged 65 – 74 will increase almost 80 percent and the number of citizens older than 75 will more than double.  

Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board

05 September 2016

Vancouver Park Board works on dog strategy

By Rosemary Newton
The Vancouver Park Board is calling on the public to give them feedback on how the city’s parks and beaches can best be shared by people and dogs.

People, Parks, and Dogs: A Strategy for sharing Vancouver’s parks is currently in the works as the city’s dog population continues to rise. Consultants are looking for public input through a series of open houses in September and October.

Parks Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon said the board receives calls all the time ranging from dog owners complaining about a lack of off-leash areas, to others complaining about dogs off-leash in undesignated spots.

“It’s probably the number one issue that we hear about,” he said.

Mackinnon said it’s been a controversial subject for over 25 years and different boards have tried different things, including a citizen committee formed about 10 years ago that couldn’t come to a unanimous decision.

“This new board has decided that this is a topic that we would like to tackle and see if we can find a way to meet the needs of both dog owners and non-dog owners in our parks,” he said.

Consultations will take place at community centres, including Trout Lake, David Lam, St. James, Roundhouse, Langara, Sunset and Kitsilano. The committee is also looking at strategies from other cities. The new strategy will add to dog off-leash guidelines approved by the Park Board in 2012.

“We live in a fairly dense city, and the number of dogs and dog owners is increasing all the time,” said Mackinnon. “And there’s bound to be interactions between people with dogs and people without dogs.”

He said the committee is looking at factors like fenced areas, un-fenced areas, exclusive dog parks and exclusive non-dog parks.

The first public consultation will take place at Trout Lake Community Centre on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.

Visit Vancouver.ca or email PeopleParksDogs@vancouver.ca for more info.

(c) 24Hours

18 August 2016

#StopKinderMorgan: My presentation to the KM Panel

Yesterday I sat for 7 hours listening to impassioned, articulate, and knowledgeable citizens speak to the Kinder Morgan expansion hearings. Every single speaker asked the panelists to not recommend the twinning of the TransMountain oil pipeline. After 6 hours I was given the opportunity to make my statement. Below is a transcript of my remarks:

Good evening, my name is Stuart Mackinnon, and I am an elected Commissioner of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.
The Vancouver Park Board is the only elected body of its kind in Canada. Formed in 1888 as a committee to manage the new Stanley Park, its history is as old as the city itself.

 It has exclusive possession, jurisdiction, and control over more than 230 public parks in Vancouver and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, rinks, fitness centres, golf courses, street trees, marinas, playing fields, and more.
The elected nature of the Park Board and the strength and focus of its mandate have resulted in urban parks and recreation that today give Vancouver an enviable and esteemed position world-wide.
Our mission as a Board is to provide, preserve, and advocate for parks and recreation services to benefit all people, communities, and the environment.
I am here today to do just that: to advocate for the preservation of our unique and beautiful environment. An oil spill could have catastrophic consequences for Vancouver. I speak specifically to our shoreline surrounding Stanley Park, English Bay, Crab Park, the beaches of Kitsilano and west Point Grey and the entire foreshore between and around these iconic places.
Oil spills have happened before, and there is no one—NO ONE—who can guarantee that they won’t happen again. In 1973 in the span of a month, two separate freighter incidents on Burrard Inlet resulted in the spillage of bunker fuel oil. Beaches and shoreline in West Vancouver were coated in oil. Local observers noted the immediate ecological effects of the oil spill, particularly the impact on wild birds. SPCA officials predicted difficulty in capturing, cleaning, and rehabilitating oil-covered birds. One West Vancouver resident reported finding two birds “coated in at least two inches of bunker oil.” Another resident of Bowen Island found a dead bird completely smothered with oil. Federal environmental officials began to receive reports of dead fish in English Bay and off Bowen Island.
The Vancouver Sun wrote of this event: that, obviously, human error was inevitable and that “No one needs to be told that man is fallible, the gods whimsical, the immutable combination that makes obscene nonsense of assurances of safety on the proposed West Coast tanker run.”
In 2015, as you have heard earlier, another spill of bunker oil resulted in a clean-up of our pristine shoreline at English Bay. By any measurable standard these were small spillages, and yet they had significant effects on our environment. These events were of great concern to members of our community who enjoy walking, swimming and playing in a safe and beautiful environment. It is unimaginable what a catastrophic oil spill would do to our beaches and shorelines.
As the custodian of our beaches and parks I implore you to deny this application. We know that it is not IF but WHEN the next spill will occur. Will it be a catastrophic one or a minor one? It really doesn’t matter. The outcome will damage our beautiful city and shorelines. I am charged by the electorate to preserve, promote and protect the local environment.  I hold that to be a sacred trust. I will do all I can to protect our precious shorelines and waterways. The risk of oils spills is too great and is unacceptable to the people of this city.  The citizens of Vancouver gave me a mandate when they elected me. Today I use that mandate to ask that there be no expansion of oil shipping in our waterways. Please say no to the Kinder Morgan expansion.

waiting to speak with Cllr. Adriane Carr (photos: J.Miller)