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)

25 July 2016

Commissioner wants Park Board voice heard on moorage-free zone

21 Jul 2016, 24 Hours Vancouver, by MICHAEL MUI, @MUI24HOURS

A Vancouver Park Board commissioner is hoping the city’s parks department will get a say in whether dragon boat racers in the False Creek will get right-of-way when heads butt between racers and moored motorized boats. 

The issue surfaced after a large race was interrupted last month when a motorized vessel veered into the path of racers. 

Vancouver City Hall has already filed a similar motion to discuss with the federal government to consider a moorage free zone in False Creek, with the mayor calling such a move “long overdue.” 

Park Board commissioner Stuart Mackinnon, a dragon boater himself, said the city’s parks division has invested in the docks dragon boaters use, and should get a seat at the table when discussing changes. 

Ultimately, jurisdiction of the waterway rests with the federal government. 

“It’s what, 30 years we’ve been doing dragon boat racing down there, since Expo 86 — it’s amazing that there’s still some people that don’t get it,” Mackinnon said. 

He said that, ideally, during dragon boat racing season, moorages east of Cambie Bridge should be cleared. 

“It’s quite dangerous. The boats swing as the tide turns because of the wind. If they’re in a race course that can be very dangerous to the boats,” Mackinnon said. 

The Park Board motion will be heard on July 25. 

15 July 2016

Arbutus Corridor rail removal completing ahead of schedule

City of Vancouver
Information Bulletin
July 15, 2016

Temporary pathway installation gets under way next week

The removal of train rails and ties from the Arbutus Corridor was substantially completed this week, ahead of schedule. This paves the way for the City to proceed, starting next week, with installation of a temporary asphalt pathway to allow continued use of the space for recreation until construction of the future Arbutus Greenway gets under way.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) was responsible for all rail removal along the corridor, with the exception of street crossings, as part of the City’s land purchase agreement announced in March 2016. A total of 17 kilometers of rail and 16,000 ties were removed.

The City is responsible for removing the rails at street crossings, work which will be completed at a later date.

The temporary pathway, which will be shared by pedestrians and those riding bikes or on rollerblades, etc. will be installed in sections; the first phase from Fir Street to 41st Avenue is expected to be complete by the end of Summer 2016. The pathway will eventually extend all the way south from 41st Avenue to Marpole. The City will advise residents when the pathway is open for recreation use. Permitted use of the temporary pathway will include walking, cycling, rollerblades and push scooters. No motorized vehicles or scooters will be allowed.

Pathway installation work will take place during City construction hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays and holidays. The public is asked to continue to use caution near construction areas, obey all signage and to use extra caution when crossing roadways.

The Arbutus Greenway project office is expected to be fully staffed and operational by the end of summer 2016. Public consultation on the plans for the new public transportation greenway is expected to begin in the fall.

The public can get more information about the plans for the Arbutus Greenway, watch a video tour of the greenway route as it is today, or sign up for email updates by visiting the City’s website: vancouver.ca/arbutus-greenway.