11 July 2018

Park Board approves new nine acre roof-top park for redeveloped Oakridge Centre


 Rendering of Oakridge Park on the roof of Oakridge Mall

July 10 2018

 “This new park will be a tremendous addition to our network of outstanding public parks with access for all. There will be something for everyone, from public spaces and a water park, to a woodland and a meadow,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.


The Vancouver Park Board has approved the concept plan for a new nine acre public park, which will be the first of its kind in Vancouver, located partially on the roof-top of the mall and partially at ground level.

The new park will offer a unique experience for residents and will be a destination park for the rest of the city. It will feature six distinct park areas with a rich Pacific Northwest landscape and a balance of active and tranquil spaces. The new park will redefine what is possible for a landscape on top of a building. It will feature areas for contemplation, socializing and large gatherings and will have an 800 metre jogging and walking track.

Read the staff report and approved concept plan PDF file (10 MB) 

Outstanding public parks

“This new park will be a tremendous addition to the Park Board's network of outstanding public parks with access for all. There will be something for everyone, from public spaces and a water park, to a woodland and a meadow,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

In the redevelopment plan by QuadReal Property Group and Westbank Corporation, the existing Oakridge mall area will be transformed to include a mix of modern condo towers, townhomes, community facilities and green space.

Community centre provided by developer

The Park Board community centre in the new civic facility will be provided by the developer at no cost to the City. The community centre will be co-located with a library and daycare, and will include a fitness centre, seniors centre with kitchen, youth centre and spaces for arts and culture.

In addition to the park, the redevelopment plan by QuadReal Property Group and Westbank Corporation will transform Oakridge Centre through the addition of 10 towers and three mid-rise buildings with commercial, office, and residential uses, including market and social housing. The plan calls for more than 2,600 residential units. Of those, 290 will be market rental and another 290 will be social housing.

 Park Board Press release: 10 July 2018

10 July 2018

What’s that smell? Rare corpse flower set to bloom at Park Board’s Bloedel Conservatory

July 10 2018

“The Park Board was very fortunate to acquire this rare plant a few years ago,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Any day now residents and visitors will have a chance to witness one of nature’s strangest displays.”  

 Corpse flower or titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum)




A rare, exotic tropical plant known for its putrid bouquet is set to bloom under the dome at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.

The titan arum (or corpse flower) is the largest flower on earth. When it blooms, it unleashes the smell of rotting flesh. Some have also described its unmistakable scent as similar to discarded diapers or hot garbage.

No wonder the suspense is building at Bloedel, where the titan arum or corpse flower looks ready to unfurl its giant petal any day now.

Rare and unpredictable

Corpse blooms are very rare and unpredictable.Bloedel’s specimen is now six years old and showing signs it will bloom imminently: its bud has grown rapidly over the past few weeks, with the flower ‘spike’ rocketing to five feet tall in the last six weeks.

When it blooms, it will unfurl its large flesh-coloured petal and start to emit rancid fumes to attract pollinator insects like carrion beetles and flesh flies that feed on dead animals. The public doesn’t need to worry about encountering such insects at the Bloedel Conservatory.

“The Park Board was very fortunate to acquire this rare plant a few years ago,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Our excellent horticultural staff have lovingly tended it ever since. Any day now residents and visitors will have a chance to witness one of nature’s strangest displays.”

Bloedel Conservatory is planning to extend its hours for a “smell it while you can” experience during the fleeting blooming spectacle which will last just 24 to 48 hours.

First corpse flower in BC

In cultivation, the titan arum generally requires 7–10 years of vegetative growth before blooming for the first time. Some plants may not bloom again for another decade while others may bloom every two to three years. The stinky flowers are native to the equatorial rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia and are classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of threatened plants

Vancouver joined a handful of North American cities to possess a corpse flower when the Vancouver Park Board acquired its own in 2016 from a North Carolina nursery. This will be the first time a titan arum has bloomed in British Columbia. Earlier this year, a corpse flower dubbed “Gagnes”  bloomed at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton.

Local residents will have a chance to name the Bloedel specimen in an online competition over the next days.

Park Board Press Release: 10 July 2018

28 June 2018

10,000 square-foot Killarney Seniors Centre now officially open

June 28 2018

 "As we open this modern and vibrant facility, we are making good on our commitment to provide the seniors in southeast Vancouver with a place to socialize, exercise, relax, share meals together, and have access to a broad range of programs so that they can lead fulfilling lives,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

 Ribbon cutting at the opening of the Killarney Seniors Centre

Almost two decades after the dream was launched by a dedicated group of southeast Vancouver seniors, the long-awaited Killarney Seniors Centre opened today with a community celebration attended by hundreds of seniors, family and friends.

Features

The 10,000 square-foot, LEED Gold certified centre provides opportunities for socializing, healthy meals, and physical activity.
It has five multi-purpose rooms, a roof-top patio, lounge with fireplace and TV, commercial kitchen and accessibility features including an elevator, hearing loops, auto door openers in washrooms and distress buttons.

Serving the growing population of seniors

The new centre is attached to the existing Killarney Community Centre, situated in a neighborhood that is home to fully a third of the City’s 27,000 seniors. While there are seven seniors centres west of Cambie Street,  Killarney is the first community facility dedicated to serving the growing population of seniors in southeast Vancouver.

"As we open this modern and vibrant facility, we are making good on our commitment to provide the seniors in southeast Vancouver with a place to socialize, exercise, relax, share meals together, and have access to a broad range of programs so that they can lead fulfilling lives,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

Funding

Funding for the $7.5 million centre came from the Government of Canada, Government of British Columbia, and City of Vancouver. The Vancouver Park Board provided the land. The Southeast Vancouver Seniors Arts and Culture Centre Society has been a key supporter of the project.

Programs

More than 2,000 seniors currently use the Killarney Community Centre. The number is expected to grow by 15 percent with the new facility.
Once the programs are up and running in August, the new Killarney Seniors Centre will offer:

  • Instructor-led recreation programs and drop-in recreation activities
  • A hot lunch program with a restaurant-quality kitchen
  • Off-site excursions and outings
  • Special events
  • A variety of support services for seniors 
Programs running in the centre already this summer include bingo, cribbage, sewing, art, choir and exercise programs. New programs such as pet therapy and  Latin dance will be added in the fall.
A Colombia Institute report  says municipal services are becoming increasingly important in providing the support seniors needs to live in the community and are usually the first line of defense in maintaining good health.

Quotes from funding partners

 

Minister of National Defence and MP for Vancouver South Harjit Singh Sajjan

“Our government is committed to providing opportunities for seniors to participate in meaningful programs that contribute to their overall wellbeing and encourage personal growth. We are proud to announce the ‎opening of the Killarney Seniors Centre, which will bring much-needed programs and support services to seniors in southeast Vancouver. This new facility will ensure that Vancouver's seniors continue to thrive.”

MLA Vancouver-Fraserview and Minister of State for Trade George Chow

“It is vital that we continue to make investments in infrastructure that keep our communities livable for everyone. With such a beautiful new centre, seniors in Killarney and Southeast Vancouver have a place that supports a healthy, connected and interactive lifestyle for years to come."

City of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

“Making sure that seniors are active, healthy, and engaged in the community is a key part of building a happy and inclusive city. The new Killarney Seniors Centre will help ensure that seniors can continue living close to the services, amenities and southeast Vancouver community that they call home for many years to come.”

Park Board Press Release: 28 June 2018

21 June 2018

Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra present first-ever ”Symphony At Sunset,” a free, open-air concert July 14th at Sunset Beach Park

June 21 2018

 “We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the VSO to bring symphonic music to the Vancouver public in this first-ever Symphony At Sunset,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

 Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra present first-ever "Symphony At Sunset,” a free, open-air concert July 14th at Sunset Beach Park.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and Vancouver Park Board (VPB) today announced a unique collaboration to present a free, open-air concert at Sunset Beach Park the evening of Saturday, July14th. “Symphony At Sunset” will kick-off the VSO’s 100th anniversary season with a concert for all ages set against sweeping views of English Bay in one of Vancouver’s most spectacular parks.

Free family event

The concert will be a free and accessible family event and will be alcohol and smoke-free. It will consist of a pre-concert program performed by student ensembles from the VSO School of Music at 7:15pm, and a sunset concert performed by the VSO from 8:30pm to 10:00pm. It includes a broad selection of symphonic hits including music by Leonard Bernstein, excerpts from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and John Williams’ scores to Star Wars.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the VSO to bring symphonic music to the Vancouver public in this first-ever Symphony At Sunset,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “We encourage young and old to enjoy this free family event and we hope the musicians are uniquely inspired by the beauty of this iconic park.”

This will be the first free outdoor VSO concert in Vancouver since 2011, when the VSO played in Stanley Park for the 125th Anniversary of the City. The VSO performs only a handful of free outdoor shows each year; the others this season being in Whistler over Canada Day weekend and Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park on July 8th. Both the VPB and VSO hope Symphony At Sunset will become a sustainable annual event and a gift to the people of Vancouver for years to come.

100th anniversary celebration

"We are thrilled to kick off the VSO's 100th Anniversary Celebrations in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board in a setting that will combine the scenic assets of our city with the cultural assets of our symphony," said Kelly Tweeddale, President of the Vancouver Symphony Society and VSO School of Music. "In the great cities of the world, free concerts like this become a place where families can come together and experience the magnitude of a symphony performance and build lasting traditions. As we embark on the VSO's next century, we hope that this will become a Vancouver tradition."

The collaboration between the VPB and the VSO began several years ago when the VPB unanimously approved a motion  (90 KB) toward the delivery of a free open air symphony concert at Sunset Beach Park. Performing over 150 concerts a year, the VSO is dedicated to enriching and transforming lives through music by presenting passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music.

There will be food trucks on site for the event, and the public are encouraged to bring a picnic, a blanket and to make an evening of it at Sunset Beach Park. Concertgoers are asked to bring low chairs so as not to obstruct the view of other audience members.

Up to 8,000 could attend

The VPB and VSO estimate that more than 7,000 people will attend Symphony At Sunset. As in all major events in Vancouver’s downtown core, the public are encouraged to walk, cycle or take public transit to Sunset Beach Park as traffic in the area will be restricted and parking will be at a premium in the West End.

20 June 2018

Preserving and protecting parkland in an urban landscape is our duty

 This is a letter I wrote to the Regina Leader Post after a resident of Regina contacted me concerning the proposed building of a commercial development in Wascana park. You can find some background information from this CBC link.

Park should be preserved

Letter to the Editor of the Regina Leader Post  June 19, 2018

I love Saskatchewan. I don’t visit as often as I would like, but when I do, it always feels special: The wide-open spaces, the slower pace in many parts and the sheer beauty of every part. Regina fills my heart because of the wise decision made years ago to surround the legislature in a beautiful park. Anyone who visits Regina knows Wascana Park. Anyone lucky enough to live in Regina knows that it is part of what makes the city so special.

I have the honour to be an elected Commissioner of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. My duty is to preserve and protect our parkland including Stanley Park. It is a responsibility I take seriously. For me, our parkland is sacred. It is held in trust not only for today, but for the generations that come after.

Preserving and protecting parkland in an urban landscape is our duty because once we give it up it is gone forever. Land is limited and so is money. To give up any portion of a park is to betray those that come after us; to deny them the opportunities that we have had.

The business of Saskatchewan lies with the people, and I wouldn’t dream of interfering with your governance, but when I heard that parts of Wascana Park were being given over to commercial development it broke my heart. Such a beautiful place, that so many love and enjoy, should be preserved for all, and for always.

Stuart Mackinnon, Vancouver

19 June 2018

Vancouver park board rejects separate review of Langara Golf Course

Commissioners will continue with long-term strategy of looking at future of all parks

10 June 2018

Plant thieves still at work at Vancouver's parks

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It appears some people are doing more than ‘smelling the roses’ while strolling through Queen Elizabeth Park.

Several flowers were recently stolen from the rose garden at the park with someone putting an ‘I was stolen by a plant thief’ sign in their place.

Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart MacKinnon doesn’t know who put the signs up but says the theft of plants is an ongoing concern.

“It’s an unfortunate fact of city living that some people will come in at night and take things that don’t belong to them,” he says “We rely on the public to be honest and to enjoy the plants that are in the park and to let others enjoy it as well.”

He says their parks are not policed at night and while they tell people not to go in them, some disregard the rules, adding when people steal from parks, they’re stealing from the community.

His message to the thief or thieves: “Be respectful and mind that other people come into our parks to enjoy the plants as well,” he says “You can always go to your local nursery and buy a plant for your garden and leave the ones in our parks for everyone to enjoy.”

News 1130

07 June 2018

Vancouver Green Party to nominate candidates on June 27

The Vancouver Greens will nominate their slate of candidates on Wednesday June 27 at the Heritage Hall (information here). At that meeting the membership will also vote on whether to support the Vancouver and District Council (VDLC) proposal on electoral accommodation with the other progressive forces in Vancouver. The proposal calls for 9 Green candidates, 3 each at Council, Park Board, and School Board (3-3-3). The VDLC will endorse a Mayoral candidate at a later time.

There are 17 seeking Green nomination, including 7 for Council, 4 for Park Commissioner, and 6 for School Trustee, thus ensuring a contest for all 3 levels of civic government.

At Council the nominees are:
Denise Brennan
Terry Martin
David Wong 
Pete Fry
Michael Wiebe
Adriane Carr
Francoise Raunet
 At Park Board the nominees are:
Stuart Mackinnon
Dave Demers
Mash Salehomoum
Camil Dumont

 At School Board the nominees are:
Lois Chan-Pedley
Alex Dow
Estrelitta Gonzalez
Nicholas Chernan
Janet Fraser
Ralph Fraatz


You can learn more about the prospective candidates here and you can meet them on Friday June 8 at a special 'meet and greet' event at the Performing Arts Lodge, 581 CARDERO St, Vancouver, BC from 6- 9 pm. Just follow the link to RSVP.

I am one of the nominees for Park Board Commissioner. I actively seek your support. You can support my nomination by joining the Vancouver Greens here and coming out to vote on June 28.

For more information about me visit: www.stuart4parks.ca

06 June 2018

Candidate names to be listed in random order on 2018 election ballot


City of Vancouver
Information bulletin
June 6, 2018
 
 
Vancouver City Council has voted today to list mayoral, councillor, and Park Board commissioner candidates in random order instead of alphabetical order on Vancouver’s municipal election ballots.
 
The update to the election by-law was requested by Council to create a more even playing field for candidates. Research has shown many voters are more likely to vote for those listed first on a ballot, meaning that candidates at the top of an alphabetical list are perceived to have an advantage over those lower down.
 
As this will be the first year Vancouver voters will vote with a random order ballot, Council has approved $235,000 for strategies to prepare voters for the change.
 
The confirmed randomized list of names will be circulated well ahead of the election, supported by additional communications to ensure voters feel informed and know what to expect at the voting place. Voters will also be strongly encouraged to vote in advance in anticipation of longer vote times expected on Election Day.
 
As well, more staff and more voting booths will be available at voting locations wherever possible, to offset longer vote times and ensure assistance for those who may need extra support to vote.
 
The City does not have control over the list order of candidates for school board trustees. The school board has authority under the School Act, and the City’s Election Office will seek direction from the board on their desired order of names for the 2018 election ballot.
 
For more information, read the full report to Council:
 
 
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Media Contact:
Corporate Communications
604.871.6336

27 May 2018

Vancouver files claim over 2015 fuel spill in English Bay

Denise Ryan 
Vancouver Sun