20 July 2019

Vancouver Park Board offering free Swim to Survive classes

The drowning prevention program is open to kids aged 7 to 18

/ Vancouver Courier
July 19, 2019 

Vancouver Park Board is once again offering up free Swim to Survive classes during National Drowning Prevention Week.

The courses, which are a partnership between the Lifesaving Society and Vancouver Lifeguard Association, are free for children aged seven to 18. There are 240 spots available this year. Sessions are being offered at Kits pool from 3:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. on July 23 and at New Brighton pool on July 28 from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

“This is the fourth year that the park board has offered this program to the public. Last year, more than 500 youth and children took the free course,” board chair Stuart Mackinnon said in a press release. “Swim to Survive demonstrates our commitment to equip children with the skills to safely enjoy our pools and beaches.”

Swim to Survive is a Lifesaving Society program offered across Canada that provides basic training in three essential skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. It is not a replacement for swimming lessons, but an important step to being safe around water.

In Canada, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury deaths among children aged 1 to 4 years old, and the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10. Swim to Survive teaches water smart behaviours in time for young people to make better choices around water.

Visit vancouver.ca to register for Swim to Survive.

 © 2019 Vancouver Courier

10 July 2019

Vancouver to invest millions to build new playgrounds in several parks across the city

by Aria Nasimi on July 9th, 2019 Straight.com

At least seven parks across Vancouver will get new playgrounds.
They will be built in Ash, Beaconsfield, Cedar Cottage, Charleson, Jones, Kaslo, and Winona parks.
It came as a result of a park board vote last night to direct staff to negotiate and enter into contracts
In a media statement, the board said that construction of the new playgrounds, which cost a total of $4.5 million, is scheduled to start this summer or in early fall.

Vancouver park board chair Stuart Mackinnon said the seven new playgrounds will receive fun and challenging play equipment.

“There is much community support and enthusiasm for playground renewals and it’s an ongoing priority for the park board,” Mackinnon said in the statement. “Play equipment encourages children to be more active and builds social skills and sensory activity, helps with cognitive development, and encourages healthy emotional development.”

 Trampolines, pirate ships, hill slides, and spider-web nets are some of the equipment that the new playgrounds will have.

Seating areas and drinking fountains will also be available in the new playgrounds, the park board said.

According to the board, many of the current 160 playgrounds in parks across the city are reaching the end of their lifespan.

In 2015, the board made a priority of replacing the parks’ playgrounds. So far, 17 playgrounds have been renewed.

08 July 2019

City should 'step up' to find shelter for people in Oppenheimer Park: park board chair

Jul 7, 2019

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) — After a large homeless camp at Oppenheimer Park caused an annual festival to relocate, one park board commissioner wants more supports for the city’s most vulnerable.

Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon says the board has done what it can to help and it’s time for the city to “step up.” The board has installed 24-hour washrooms, ensured access to water, and made sure there are park rangers on site.

“The Park Board can’t find accommodation for these folks. We are asking the senior levels of government–the city, the province, and the federal government–to find more housing for people.

There are far too many homeless people in Canada and especially here in Vancouver and as a result they’re finding places like Oppenheimer park to make a home. This is really intolerable in a society as wealthy as Canada.”

There are more than 100 tents at the site.

Mackinnon says he has heard from residents of the area who are concerned about safety and accessibility.

“I understand people’s concern. Parks are supposed to be accessible for everyone and when people are forced to camp out in parks it can be not as open as other people would like,” he says. “I am just as concerned as others about safety. Both the safety of park users and of course the safety of the people who are camping in the park.”

Earlier this week, organizers of the Powell Street Festival announced that this year’s program would not include any events in the park. The festival is a celebration of Japanese Canadian arts. Japanese Canadians made up the majority ethnic group in the area around Powell Street from the 1890s until 1942, when the Canadian government forcibly removed the entire community.

“As a community that has experienced forced displacement, we refuse to continue this pattern of dispossession of vulnerable people in this area,” said Powell Street Festival Society president Edward Takayanagi in a release. “In respect for the current residents and the occupants of the park, they have designed their festival and program to ensure the people in the park are not displaced while providing a rich cultural experience for festival goers”

The festival similarly rearranged it’s programming In 2014, when there were about 200 tents housing homeless people in the park. Later that year, campers were forced out by court injunction.

(c) News 1130 CityNews

06 July 2019

Zero waste recycling stations expanding at Vancouver beaches

June 27 2019 – 
 The City, in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board, is expanding public area recycling by adding 20 new zero waste stations at park concessions throughout the city. The new stations support the City’s ongoing zero waste initiatives and public realm cleanliness.

The zero waste stations at the park concessions include at least one bin for recycling, organics, and landfill. The stations are colour-coded and have prominent signage to make it easy for users to properly sort their waste.

Concessions support the Single Use Reduction Strategy

City Engineering Services and the Park Board worked closely together to ensure that the majority of the food service packaging provided at the concessions could be composted or recycled in the program. Park Board-operated concessions have taken early steps to embrace the City’s Single Use Reduction Strategy.

Some of the initiatives undertaken at concession stands include:

  • Eliminating the distribution of plastic straws
  • Switching to lids with a sip portal
  • Switching to wooden cutlery
  • Using paper-based compostable food packaging
  • Offering 25 cent cup discounts to patrons who bring their own mug 

Reduce and recycle

An integral part of becoming a zero waste community is ensuring that we all have the opportunity to reduce or recycle materials both at home and while we are out enjoying our vibrant parks, beaches, streets, and communities.

As Canada Day and summer festival season kicks off, visitors to public spaces and events in the city are encouraged to make use of reusable items wherever possible and adopt the pack-in and pack-out approach to help us preserve these spaces and the environment as a whole.

Public area recycling programs are notoriously challenging to manage due to contamination. We are asking residents and visitors to do their part — when you see one of the new recycling stations, please take a moment to sort your items properly and help keep recyclables out of the landfill.

Learn more about the program, including the location of new zero waste stations

26 June 2019

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit against Park Board, signs new 35-year deal

The Vancouver Aquarium’s cetacean ban lawsuit against the City of Vancouver and its Park Board appears to be water under the bridge.

The aquarium’s parent organization, Ocean Wise, says it has signed a new 35-year licence agreement with the board and reaffirmed its commitment to no longer display whales and dolphins.

It also announced that “all legal action related to the Park Board’s May 2017 amendment to its bylaw restricting cetaceans in Vancouver parks has now been discontinued.”

The Park Board banned the keeping of whales and dolphins on its property shortly after the last two belugas residing at the facility died suddenly in 2016.

The Aquarium said in January 2018 that it would no longer display the animals, but won a court challenge a month later that found it was exempt from the board’s ban — only to have that overturned on appeal a year later.

In May this year, Ocean Wise launched a lawsuit against the city and the board claiming that the 2017 ban had resulted in millions of dollars of financial losses and was a breach of contract.

The federal government banned the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity earlier this month.

“We both have the idea of sustainability, in mind and working towards climate mitigation and biodiversity, and this new extension, or a new renewal of our agreement, puts it all on a positive foot that we can move in tandem for the future.”

The new deal essentially extends Ocean Wise’s existing agreement with the board, which was set to expire in 2029.

The new lease agreement comes at no cost to the Aquarium for the first five years, then starts at $175,000 in 2024 and climbs by $25,000 per year until it reaches $300,000 annually.

Asked why there was no public consultation on a lease agreement that extends three decades into the future, Mackinnon said the negotiations had to be conducted privately because of the pending litigation.

In a media release, Ocean Wise said the new licencing agreement sets the stage for the organization’s new five-year vision, which will be launched in January 2020.

That plan will focus on conservation, public education, governance and research, it said.

“The new licence agreement marks the start of an exciting, new chapter in Ocean Wise’s evolution and provides the foundation for our ambitious five-year strategic plan,” Ocean Wise president and CEO Lasse Gustavsson said in a media release.

“We appreciate the Park Board’s support for Ocean Wise’s evolution and are thrilled that the Vancouver Aquarium is staying in Stanley Park, which has been its home since 1956.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

25 June 2019

Ocean Wise and Vancouver Park Board sign new 35-year licence agreement

Ocean Wise announces new vision for conservation and public education


 "We look forward to a new future with Ocean Wise as leaders in raising awareness of the vital role of our oceans and sharing the importance of conservation with their visitors."  Stuart Mackinnon, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board


 June 25 2019 – 

Ocean Wise and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation are pleased to announce that a new licence agreement has been reached, which will allow the Vancouver Aquarium to remain in Stanley Park for the next 35 years.

“The new licence agreement marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Ocean Wise’s evolution and provides the foundation for our ambitious five-year strategic plan,” said Lasse Gustavsson, CEO and President of Ocean Wise. “We appreciate the Park Board’s support for Ocean Wise’s evolution and are thrilled that the Vancouver Aquarium is staying in Stanley Park, which has been its home since 1956.”

World-class visitor attraction 

 The Vancouver Aquarium has connected more than 45 million people from around the world to our oceans and all the wonders within them. It’s a world-class visitor attraction, home to thousands of incredible ocean species and aquatic life. It’s also a place that sparks awareness and inspires action to help protect our oceans.

“The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park is a partner for the biodiversity and ecological issues we both champion,” said Stuart Mackinnon, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board. “We look forward to a new future with Ocean Wise as leaders in raising awareness of the vital role of our oceans and sharing the importance of conservation with their visitors.”

New five-year vision

 With the new licence agreement in place, Ocean Wise will launch its new five-year vision in January 2020 with a renewed focus on conservation, public education, governance, and enhancing the visitor experience. Ocean Wise will also continue to invest in research programs, which have contributed to global knowledge of marine wildlife and set apart the organization as a world-class institution.

“Ocean Wise aspires to become a global ocean conservation organization and wants to inspire people in every corner of the planet to participate in creating healthy oceans, but for most people the ocean is ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ ” said Gustavsson. “There are many threats to the ocean, but the greatest threat is that many believe someone else is going to save it. Ocean Wise has an important role to bring the ocean to the people and the people to the ocean, and the Vancouver Aquarium is one of the best tools we have to do that.”

No longer displaying cetaceans

In reaching this new agreement, Ocean Wise has confirmed its 2018 commitment to no longer display cetaceans in Stanley Park.

All legal action related to the Park Board’s May 2017 amendment to its bylaw restricting cetaceans in Vancouver parks has now been discontinued.

22 June 2019

'It's an emergency:' Vancouver park official alarmed by urban forest drought

Dave Demers wants to speed up plan to plant more drought tolerant species

Chad Pawson · CBC News · Posted: Jun 21, 2019

A Vancouver Park Board commissioner wants to accelerate plans to protect Vancouver's urban forest from drought.

Dave Demers, a landscaper who was elected in October as a Green Party representative, wants the city to do more to make sure that the varieties of trees it plants in parks and along streets can handle hotter, dryer and longer summers in the city.

'I think the situation is changing very fast and it's an emergency, we have to really speed up and double down on what we are already doing and not let go," he said. "The canopy, it's important, it's what makes the city livable and we cannot let that go." 

"To make sure ... in 10, 20 years, 30 years from now we have a canopy that's very resistant and healthy we really need to be careful what we plant and where," he said.

Vancouver is currently trying to increase the canopy of its urban forest, which is the amount of leaf cover over a city seen from the sky.

Urban forest benefits

The city had a 22 per cent canopy cover in 1995, but a combination of development, pests and even property owners bent on improving their views by cutting down mature trees caused that figure to decline to around 18 per cent.

The City of Vancouver is trying to plant 150,000 new trees across Vancouver in a 10-year span from 2010 to 2020 as part of its Urban Forest Strategy. There are more than 450,000 park and street trees combined in Vancouver, made up of around 500 different species. 

A healthy urban forest can help clean the air, slow climate change, ease strong winds, conserve rainwater, provide wildlife habitat and contribute to a sense of wellbeing for city residents.

 But Demers is worried that any gains will be snuffed out by the damage caused to trees, especially native ones such as Westernred cedars, as drought becomes more common. 

City foresters are already doing work to assess kind of trees will thrive in Vancouver's future forest. They not only have to contend with climate change, but also encroachment from construction and development.

They are working to figure out what species of trees, such as those from naturally warmer regions in Oregon or Washington, will be best to plant here. 

Demers wants that work to speed up. He says he's working on a motion to present in July that will strike a large committee to study the concept.

Demers also wants the Park Board to look for ways to ease stresses on the urban trees, such as putting in place other irrigation systems.

The City of Vancouver now uses more than 4,000 special water bags that are attached to trees to help give them steady water in the summer.  

Signs of weakened forests continue to pop up however. This week a teen was killed near Sooke on Vancouver Island after a tree toppled on him. Experts say dry conditions and wind can impact thestability of trees.

Meanwhile a mature catalpa tree fell in strong winds in Vancouver's West End this week, but the Park Board say the tree was otherwise healthy.

With files from Timothé Matte-Bergeron. (c) 2019 CBC News

20 June 2019

Temporary transfer station for green waste opens in False Creek

An action to help prevent the spread of Japanese beetle


June 17 2019 – 

As part of our efforts to eradicate the Japanese beetle, an invasive and destructive pest that feeds on the flowers, fruit and leaves of over 300 species of plants, a temporary transfer station has been opened in the False Creek area for homeowners and landscapers to drop off their green waste.

The Japanese beetle was first discovered in Vancouver’s False Creek area in 2017. It can significantly damage landscape and ornamental plants, fruit and vegetable gardens, nurseries, orchards, and agricultural crops. In response, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is restricting plant material and soil from being moved outside the regulated area which includes False Creek and Downtown, to help prevent the beetle from spreading.

Movement restrictions for above-ground plant materials are in effect June 15 to October 15.

Movement restrictions for soil or plants mixed with soil, including root balls and sod, are in effect year-round.

Residents and business owners in the regulated area should continue to use their green bin for their yard trimmings. However, any excess green waste should be brought to the temporary transfer station.

Landscapers who work in the regulated area and who have large quantities of green waste and/or soil to dispose of should only move this material outside the regulated area by obtaining a movement certificate from the CFIA by calling 604-292-5742 or emailing cfia.wstjb-sj.acia@canada.ca. Those in non-compliance of CFIA’s movement restrictions may be subject to fines.

Using the temporary transfer station

Location: 301 W 1st Ave
Open: June 17 to Oct 18
Hours: Monday to Friday, 2pm to 6pm

Accepted materials


Green waste and small amounts (one wheelbarrow limit) of plants mixed with soil, including root balls and sod, from within the regulated area.

Site users


Commercial landscapers and gardeners can drop off small (pickup truck) quantities. Larger quantities (more than one pickup truck) require a movement certificate from the CFIA by calling 604-292-5742 or emailing cfia.wstjb-sj.acia@canada.ca.

Homeowners should continue using their green bin first. However, any green material in excess of regular green bin quantities should be brought to the temporary transfer station. Food waste is not accepted.

Fees for services


Green waste:
  • $25 for half pickup truck load
  • $50 for pickup truck load even with the top of the box
  • $75 for pickup truck load that is heaped up over the top of the box
Plants mixed with soil, including root balls and sod, are $15 per load in small quantities only (one wheelbarrow limit)

Payment method


Payments can be made on-site using debit, MasterCard, or Visa. For commercial operators, monthly invoicing is available. A 15% administrative fee will be added to monthly invoices.

For verification and billing purposes, site users will be required to provide their name, name of company (if applicable), address, and contact details.

18 June 2019

Commissioner Dumont to forward motion aimed at eliminating gas and diesel powered generators from Vancouver parks

Published Jun 18, 2019 1:18 PM

VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Monday, June 24, 2019, Green Party Commissioner Camil Dumont will introduce a motion asking staff to develop a strategy to transition the Vancouver Parks and Recreation system to one that is free of gas and diesel powered generators. The transition plan will cover all Park Board operations as well as contracted partners and all others within the system.

“The Vancouver Park Board leads by example when it comes to sustainable practices in our city; but we can be better,” said Dumont.

“We can’t continue to maintain any baseline that acts as a driver of climate breakdown. Step-by-step we must ensure that true ecological sustainability is placed at the core of policy. We must identify where it is not and collaboratively transition to a paradigm where preserving a safe climate and maintaining ecological health are non-negotiable; and we must do so with urgency.

“Gas and diesel powered generators contribute to climate change, pollute our air, water, and soil and cause substantial noise pollution.

“This policy proposal is a significant shift from our current status quo. It is impactful and will require adjustment for many of the components of our system. It is also a transition we must make. We can’t continue with ‘business as usual’ on this file; we are in a climate emergency, we must accept that reality and act accordingly.” 

Gas and diesel generators are used extensively in Vancouver’s park system to power events, food trucks, festivals and more. Dumont’s motion asks staff to explore the provision of electrical infrastructure as one possible emission-free alternative. Green City Councillor Adriane Carr is working on a similar motion to transition Vancouver’s film industry off of gas and diesel powered generators.

More Information:
Motion: Gas and Diesel Generator Pollution Elimination Strategy