01 October 2015

Trees are so awesome that the Park Board is almost giving them away for free

Vancouver Park Board
Media Advisory
October 1, 2015
The Vancouver Park Board is selling a variety of young trees for a modest $10 to help residents grow the city’s urban tree canopy.

 The 6-foot tall trees in 7-10 gallon pots will be available to Vancouver residents (with proof of residency) at the Park Board head office during the second annual Doors Open Vancouver on Saturday, October 3 between 10 am and 5 pm. The Board office is one of 18 City of Vancouver sites open to the public.

 “The Park Board has a long history of planting and caring for trees in green spaces and parks across Vancouver, but we need residents to also plant trees on their property in order to increase the urban tree canopy. I encourage families to come down during the Doors Open event where they can get a great deal on a tree for their front or back yard,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair John Coupar.

Media are invited to learn more:
When: Friday, October 2, 2015 @ 1 pm
Where: Vancouver Park Board head office, 2099 Beach Avenue
Who: Park Board Chair John Coupar, Park Board Urban Forestry Strategy Project Manager Katherine Isaac and urban forestry crews
What: Fruit, flowering, shade and conifer trees for sale October 3

 The trees being sold include fruit (Italian prune plums, apple and cherry), flowering (Snowcone Japanese Snowbell and Magnolia ‘Randy’), shade (Katsura and Autumn Gold Ginkgo) and conifers (dwarf mountain pine ‘mops’ and Frohburg Weeping Norway spruce) valued at up to $100 each. There is a limit of five trees per person.

 The Park Board is targeting to plant 11,000 new trees, including on private property, this year in support of the City of Vancouver’s Urban Forest Strategy, which was endorsed by the Park Board and City Council in April 2014.

 Vancouver is home to an urban forest with more than 140,000 street trees and 340,000 park trees along with trees on private property. The urban forest plays important environmental and social roles, such as cleaning the air, absorbing storm water, storing carbon, providing habitat and improving health and well-being.

 Every tree in our city makes up what is known as Vancouver’s urban forest. Today, 18 percent of Vancouver is covered by tree canopy (ground area is covered by tree leaf canopies as seen from the air) on par with Victoria and Seattle, but down from 22.5 percent in 1995.

 As our canopy declines, so do the benefits provided by the urban forest including cleaning the air, absorbing carbon dioxide, managing rain water and providing wildlife habitat.

 Residents with questions are encouraged to contact pbtree@vancouver.ca.


Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board

23 September 2015

Southeast Vancouver Seniors Centre gets green light

Vancouver Park Board
News Release
September 23, 2015
Vancouver Park Board Chair John Coupar and all Commissioners are very pleased to share good news related to the construction of the long awaited Southeast Vancouver Seniors Centre at the Killarney Community Centre.
The Killarney Community Centre Association has approved the final hurdle of clarifying facility ownership, which now permits the immediate issuance of a Request for Proposal for the design and construction of the Centre. The successful company will be selected by January 2016. A full construction schedule will be released in the coming months.
The Park Board would like to thank the Killarney Community Centre Association, the Killarney Seniors Centre Society, and the Southeast Vancouver Seniors’ Arts and Cultural Society for their collective commitment and leadership in ensuring that this much needed facility gets built as soon as possible.
Chair Coupar states “this important step illustrates the benefit of the new, positive tone set by the Park Board toward a more collaborative relationship with our community partners.”
Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board

15 September 2015

Marker of Change motion passes unanimously

Thank you to the Women's Monument Action Committee and all Commissioners for your support.

Here are my remarks from last night's Park Board meeting: 

It is my great honour and privilege to present this motion for your consideration tonight. I want to first thank the Women’s Monument Action Committee for bringing this issue to my attention and to Commissioner Kirby-Yung for seconding it.
The Women’s Memorial “Marker of Change” is an important and, to me, a sacred place in Vancouver. But it does not only belong to Vancouver. It is a monument of great significance to all Canadians and to people everywhere who believe violence against women must be stopped.

The murder of 14 women in Montreal touched us all. For me, as a student at Montreal’s Concordia University at the time, it has special significance. This massacre could easily have happened at Concordia or any other university. It could have happened at any school or workplace or in fact at any public place. It could have happened anywhere where women are found. It could have happened anywhere.

The significance of this event cannot be diminished, ever. It was the result of a society rife with misogyny and rooted in patriarchy. We have learned much and made many changes since then, but the Marker of Change reminds us of how far we still need to go. Violence against women is still a continuing problem in Canada. 

·       Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16

·       67% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted

·       On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.  In 2011, from the 89 police reported spousal homicides, 76 of the victims (over 85%) were women

·       On any given day in Canada, more than 3 300 women (along with their 3 000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Every night, about 200 women are turned away because the shelters are full

·       Each year, over 40 000 arrests result from domestic violence—that’s about 12% of all violent crime in Canada. Since only 22% of all incidents are reported to the police, the real number is much higher.

·       In 2014, the RCMP released a report on their "National Operational Review" on the issue of "Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women" which amounted to 1 181 women total - 164 missing and 1 017 murdered. Both Amnesty International and the United Nations have called upon the Canadian government to take action on this issue, without success.  According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, “if this figure were applied proportionately to the rest of the female population there would be over 18,000 missing Canadian women and girls.”

The Marker of Change is an important place of remembrance and education and it deserves our respect. Through no fault of the Park Board, a flock of geese were displaced from an area behind the Pacific Central Station. While efforts have been made to clean the monument and I want to thank our staff for their efforts, it is now time to find a permanent solution to this problem.

I have no doubt that our staff can, through the examination of best practices, find a way to dissuade the geese from occupying this park. Working together we can return this area to how it was before the geese were displaced. 

I hope you will join me in support of this motion. Thank you.

       For your information, the Park Board meetings are live streamed and archived. You can go to: http://civic.neulion.com/vancouverparkboard/ and click on the 14th on the calendar and then Regular Board meeting to get last night stream. My motion is introduced at 5:30, my remarks at 9:10 and the vote at 20:20.