02 May 2016

Letter: Langara’s green space needs protecting



April 29 2016

Re: “Is Vancouver really running out of land?” April 14.

It is always a pleasure to read Michael Geller. His knowledge is vast and his experience unparalleled. I am surprised how often I am in agreement with him. But his idea to build housing on Langara Golf Course and the Sixth Avenue berm is very wrong-headed. One of the reasons he gives is one of the very reasons we should not — the value of the land. Once that land is taken out of green space it can never be replaced — certainly not in those neighbourhoods. With the huge development at Oakridge and the new development on the Dogwood/Pearson lands, green space becomes even more important for the Langara area. Vancouver’s natural beauty is worth protecting. Our children not only need places to play, but also places to enjoy and explore nature. We all need places of tranquil refuge from our busy lives. The animals and birds that help make our city lives enjoyable need places to nest and raise their young. Let’s think of new and innovative ways to build more housing, but let’s not take away the pleasures that make living in Vancouver worthwhile.

Stuart Mackinnon, Park Board Commissioner, Green Party of Vancouver

© 2016 Vancouver Courier

Water Conservation Measure

Motion on Notice 
2 May 2016 Meeting of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

Moved by: Commissioner Mackinnon
Seconded by: Commissioner Wiebe

Whereas it is the City of Vancouver’s desire to be the greenest city;

And that the City of Vancouver is adopting the long -term target to capture and treat 90% of Vancouver’s average annual rainfall through the implementation of green infrastructure (GI) on public and private property throughout the City;

And that the VanDusen Botanical Garden could use captured water for its needs during times of restricted water use;

And that an unused reservoir lies within the VanDusen Botanical Garden;

Therefore be it resolved that the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation ask the City of Vancouver to the re-activate the VanDusen reservoir;

 And further, to work with the City to allow this captured water to be used to irrigate the VanDusen botanical collection at times of restricted use of water.

22 April 2016

Controversial fishing program at Hastings Park Sanctuary puts Vancouver's new biodiversity policy to the test

Green_Heron_Hastings_Sanctuary_credit_Jock_McCracken.jpeg 
VANCOUVER, B.C. - On the agenda of the public PNE/Hastings Park Board meeting Friday evening, April 22 (6 PM, PNE Hastings Room) is a motion to endorse the continuation of the controversial “Learn to Fish” program first implemented at the Hastings Lagoon and Sanctuary in Hastings Park in 2013.

But at least one regular park-goer, Vanessa Scott - who has lived adjacent to Hastings Park since 2007 and has a background in communications, governance and environmental science - will be attending tonight’s meeting to say “not so fast.”

According to Scott, Hastings Lagoon & Sanctuary was originally constructed as a biofiltration wetland, intended to naturally filter pollution from urban runoff soiled by the emissions of nearby major streets, parking lots and a nearby gas station. It has since become an important anchor for biodiversity in the area, attracting at least 137 bird species, including nesting species-at-risk Green Herons and Bald Eagles.

Scott worries about the public health effects of consuming fish caught in a lagoon designed to capture and filter toxic pollutants, and about the cumulative impacts of the fishing program on the overall biodiversity of the Sanctuary and surrounding area.

“I was thrilled to learn that the City of Vancouver this week adopted a biodiversity strategy that explicitly recognizes the importance of constructed wetlands to biodiversity, and that also recognizes the Hastings Lagoon and Sanctuary as one of the largest of Vancouver’s rare freshwater wetlands,” said Scott. “I sincerely hope that in light of this new strategy, the PNE Board will reconsider the fishing program at the Sanctuary.”

Green Party of Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon, long an advocate for Hastings Park to be placed under Park Board governance is more scathing in his criticism.

“The 'fishing program' is in a place called the Sanctuary. It was purpose built just for that: to be a Sanctuary for people and wildlife. This venture goes completely against its purpose and design. This is an outrageous attempt by the PNE and Vision Vancouver to turn every square inch of Hastings Park into an amusement park,” said Mackinnon.

Green Heron photographed at Hastings Lagoon and Sanctuary April 16, 2016. Photo credit: Jock McCracken (https://www.flickr.com/photos/141768494@N08/26407814776/)

19 April 2016

Vancouver Park Board increases city’s biodiversity with salt marsh


Vancouver Park Board
News Release
April 19, 2016

The Vancouver Park Board is creating a salt marsh in New Brighton Park to restore fish and wildlife habitat along the shore of Burrard Inlet, and improve access to nature for park visitors.
 
The Board approved a concept plan for the creation of this unique two-hectare (five-acre) intertidal wetland last night. Coastal wetlands are critical for juvenile salmon as they migrate from rivers and streams, as well as for shorebirds and waterfowl that use them as resting spots. 
 
“The salt marsh is unique in Metro Vancouver and will provide critical habitat for juvenile fish, shorebirds, waterfowl and migrating birds in one of our most beautiful shoreline parks,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung. 
 
“This ambitious project stems from the Park Board’s Biodiversity Strategy to create healthy ecosystems and enhance natural areas throughout the city. It’s going to be an exciting opportunity for park visitors to see the ebb and flow of tides into the salt marsh, and the seasonal patterns of bird activity and vegetation change.”
 
The salt marsh is a partnership between the Park Board and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. The concept plan was created after three rounds of public consultation and ongoing engagement with Aboriginal groups. The salt marsh design includes viewing platforms, interpretive signs, picnic tables, and enhanced access to the east beach.
 
The Park Board has committed $400,000 to the project, while the Port will fund the remainder of the project’s $3-million budget. Park Board staff will work with the Port to advance the concept plan through detailed design, permitting and construction with a completion target of spring 2017. 
 
“Our partnership with the Vancouver Park Board on this project supports the goals of our Habitat Enhancement Program, which focuses on creating, restoring and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat,” said Duncan Wilson, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. “New Brighton Park provides a significant opportunity for the program and we look forward to working with the Board to complete the project.”
 
The salt marsh supports the Park Board’s BiodiversityStrategy and BirdStrategy, and was proposed as part of the 2011 Hastings Park / PNE Master Plan. 
 
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Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board
604-257-8440

07 April 2016

When is a park...not a park?


There is a lot of concern in the Fraserlands neighbourhood [an area of Killarney that runs along the Fraser river from the foot of Victoria drive to Boundary road] about a casual playing field attached to Riverfront Park. This field has been a feature in the neighbourhood for a couple of decades and has become integral to the warmth, beauty, and sense of belonging of the community. People play pick up football here. An Ultimate league plays here. Kids learn to play games, adults socialize, lovers picnic, and dogs gambol in this space. Some would call it the heart of the neighbourhood.

This is where folks meet a lot of their neighbours. This is where people congregate to talk, exchange neighbourhood news, and where the community comes out to play. But this might just come to an end because this field...is not a park.

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has exclusive jurisdiction over parkland in Vancouver. But because this field is not parkland, but city owned land, the Park Board has no control over what happens here. Many would think this strange, as the Park Board maintains this field, programs this field, and in every way looks after it. Strange that a field that appears to be part of Riverfront Park is not. And stranger that the city seems to have plans for this field and has not consulted with the community. At all.

Word spread like wildfire after the city started soil testing. I had many folks approach me asking what was going on. My inquiries resulted in being told that it was just routine maintenance and nothing out of the ordinary. But keen community members delved further and discovered, not easily, that the city actually does have plans for it.

Since the late 80's, when this formerly industrial (Canadian White Pines mill) land was redeveloped into a beautiful residential area, this particular piece of land has been zoned for an elementary school or daycare. The years went by and, as school enrolment and budgets declined, this field was all but abandoned by the city and became an integral part of the local community.

Enter the River District [formerly known as the East Fraser Lands or EFL], the new development between Kerr st and Boundary road. This new community, which will feature more than 10 000 new residents, includes a daycare and a school. But according to one source, who spoke to the City Planner for the EFL, the "city has been unable to find a suitable site in the sprawling East Fraserlands [River District] on which to quickly and cheaply build a child care facility". So they are looking to city land outside the new community.

That land just might be this playing field.

Casual playing fields are at a premium in any neighbourhood, but are absolutely non-existent in the  Fraserlands. The neighbourhood has a beautiful river walk, a children's playground, and a lovely picnic area with washrooms, but no field to play on. Taking this away would be a huge blow to the neighbourhood.

It is hard to believe that in the huge new development of the River District, the city cannot find space for a day care facility. It is mind blowing that city planners did not think of this in all the years that this area was under consideration. The official development plan from 2006 envisioned a daycare facility in the new 'town centre' which is currently under construction, but the planner spoken to said it was too close to a main arterial road: Marine Drive.

It would seem that there is plenty of space in the new development that could be used for this necessary amenity without taking another valuable amenity in another neighbourhood away.

So far none of this information has been readily available. Residents have had to investigate for themselves. The whole process seems to be shrouded in secrecy. Why has the city not told residents about the proposed changes?  Day care is vitally important, but so is recreation. So is consultation. There must be a way of resolving this conflict.

But first there needs to be dialogue with the community.

23 March 2016

Renewing playgrounds

The Vancouver Park Board owns and maintains 159 playgrounds for your family to enjoy year-round.
Many of our playgrounds are at the end of their lifespan and need renewing to ensure they remain fun and safe places to play.

All of our playgrounds were inspected in 2015 for compliance with CSA standards. The findings identified playgrounds that need immediate upgrades and ranked them in order of importance.
Find out what playgrounds we will rebuild and remove in 2016, and the ones we plan to renew by 2020. Let us know how we should renew the removed playground locations.
Map of playground changes

Current renewals

We're rebuilding these playgrounds in 2016 using designs that reflect what we heard from the community during our public engagement process in 2015.

Removals

We're removing these playgrounds in 2016 due to their age, condition, and safety concerns. Nearby playgrounds offer a safe and enjoyable play experience.
  • Champlain Heights Park east walkway playground
  • Clark Park east playground
  • Guelph Park central play structure
  • Langara Golf Course trail by Ontario Street
  • Riverfront Park West
  • WC Shelley Park
Note There may be plans to renew these playground locations once the structures are removed. Tell us what you'd like to see in place of the structures below.

Questionnaire: How should we renew the removed playground locations?

 We want to know what you'd like to see in place of the structures we're removing.

 

Tell us in our online questionnaires – one per playground – until April 1, 2016. Your responses will help us understand how to renew the playground locations.


Last modified: Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:34:25

22 March 2016

Help Vancouver Park Board grow our urban forest: plant a $10 tree in your yard today!

March 22 2016
Buy a tree online at a heavily-discounted price and help grow our urban forest.

The Park Board tree sale has twenty-two varieties of trees available – fruit, flowering, shade, and conifer trees. You need to be a Vancouver resident to qualify.

Our tree sale is part of the first-ever Tree Week, April 2 to 10, and we expect it to become an annual tradition.

Buy a tree now and pick it up on April 2 or 10

The $10 trees include:
  • Almond trees
  • Cherry trees
  • Fig trees
  • Lilac trees
  • Magnolia trees
  • Maple trees
  • Oak trees
Not sure what to choose? Play #Treelationships, our tree-matching game.
Our arborists selected these trees because they thrive in Vancouver’s diverse growing conditions and provide many benefits like food and pollination. The trees are worth about $75 each and aren't suitable for balconies or indoors.

You can buy up to three trees per household.

Buy a tree now

Pick up your pre-paid trees on:
  • Saturday, April 2, 10:00am to 4:00pm, at Hillcrest Centre – check out our planting demos and tree-maintenance tips, and visit the Winter Farmers Market at Nat Bailey Stadium
  • Sunday, April 10, 9:00am to 3:00pm at Trout Lake Community Centre
We'll have a limited number of trees available for cash purchase.

Look for another tree sale this fall. We held a large public tree sale in fall 2015 in Stanley Park as part of Doors Open Vancouver.

Be our planting partners

“We’re selling 3,000 trees. It’s the largest tree sale that we’ve ever held and a great opportunity for you to do something positive for the urban forest,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung. “We have a long history of planting and caring for trees in green spaces and parks across Vancouver, but we need planting partners.”

Vancouver Tree Week

Tree Week involves community plantings at Everett Crowley and West Memorial parks and a variety of talks, walks, and tours for you to learn about trees with your community.

Learn more about Vancouver Tree Week

Tree Week supports the our Urban Forest Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy.
Our Tree Week partners include:
  • Stanley Park Ecology Society
  • Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Everett Crowley Park Committee
  • Museum of Vancouver
  • Vancouver tree expert David Tracey

150,000 trees by 2020 

Our urban forest includes all the trees in parks, streets, and yards.
It's vital for:
  • Cleaning our air
  • Managing rain water
  • Providing habitat for wildlife and birds
  • Improving health and well-being
With your help and from our partners, we're aiming to plant 14,000 trees this year. Our goal is 150,000 new trees by 2020.

Our canopy – the amount of ground covered by tree leaves, as seen from the air – has steadily declined over the past two decades. Today, 18% of Vancouver is covered by tree canopy, a drop from 22% in 1995.

Ask. Tell. Connect.

Phone 3-1-1 to ask, tell, and connect with the City
Outside Vancouver:
604-873-7000
When should you call 9-1-1? Click to find out       Deaf? Have difficulty speaking? Click to learn how to make a TTY call
More ways to contact us
Last modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2016 10:06:49

14 March 2016

New grants for emerging artists spark creative projects

City of Vancouver
News Release
March 14, 2016
 
New grants for emerging artists spark creative projects
 
The City of Vancouver is pleased to offer a new grant program for emerging artists, presented in partnership with ArtStarts in Schools. Creative Spark Vancouver supports emerging artists and fosters their capacity to work with young people.
 
Creative Spark Vancouver empowers emerging artists to engage young people (ages 5-18) in arts-based projects. Emerging artists across all artistic disciplines are invited to apply. Applicants must be residents of the City of Vancouver or residents and members of the Musqueam, Squamish or Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
 
“Vancouver has the highest concentration of artists per capita in Canada and our creative sector is a big part of our city’s nation-leading economic growth. Creative Spark Vancouver targets support to our local emerging artists so that they can build their CV and launch their career right here in Vancouver,” said Mayor Robertson. “Vancouver City Council is pleased to launch this new grant program in partnership with ArtStarts in Schools, and we can’t wait to see what creative ideas come forward from our cultural community.”
 
“When young people engage in the arts, something special happens. Creative experiences in the arts enable young people to explore new ways of learning, new ways of expressing themselves, and new ways of seeing and interacting with the world around them. The arts plant the seed for young people to grow up to be creative, innovative and engaged members of society,” says Lia Dicicco, Interim Executive Director at ArtStarts. “We are thrilled about the exciting opportunities for both emerging artists and young people that will be made possible through this partnership with the City of Vancouver.”
 
The grants offer 100% funding for small projects, up to $1,000. These funds are intended to cover artist fees, project materials and supplies, rentals and honoraria. The goals of Creative Spark Vancouver are to:
  • Build the capacity and confidence of emerging artists working with young people and arts-based learning;
  • Provide young people opportunities to engage actively in the arts; and
  • Embrace diversity, innovation and artistic excellence.
 
Creative Spark Vancouver enables emerging artists to gain experience on small projects that could lead to new career opportunities, new community relationships, different perspectives on arts and education, future learning opportunities and exciting multi-faceted projects.
 
An information session for artists in learning more about Creative Spark Vancouver will be held an March 24 from 2pm to 4pm at ArtStarts in Schools (808 Richards Street, Vancouver). Upcoming deadlines to apply for Creative Spark vancouver grants are April 15 and August 4, 2016.
 
Funded by the City of Vancouver, Creative Spark Vancouver grants will be disbursed by ArtStarts in Schools, a not-for-profit organization recognized as a leader transforming the way BC’s young people are engaged in and through the arts, and in promoting the value of the arts in young lives.
 
 
For full details and to apply, visit: http://artstarts.com/creativesparkvancouver
 
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Media Contacts:
         
Siobhan Rich, Communications Manager                
ArtStarts in Schools                                     

604.336.0626 ext 109                                    

siobhan@artstarts.com