18 January 2018

Park Board responds to Vancouver Aquarium decision on cetaceans in captivity


Vancouver Park Board
News Release
January 18, 2018 

The Vancouver Park Board applauds the announcement today by the Vancouver Aquarium that it will end the importation and display of live cetaceans in Stanley Park.

In May of 2017, after thousands of community submissions on the issue and a number of special public meetings, the Park Board approved and enacted amendments to the Parks Control Bylaw governing importation and display of cetaceans at the Vancouver Aquarium. The amendments provided for the continuing care and display of existing cetaceans. There is only one cetacean, a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen, currently at the facility.

“We are pleased that the Aquarium, with this decision, has acknowledged and recognized what we as Commissioners observed in passionate public debates on this issue over the last years,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

“The public told us they believed the continuing importation and display of these intelligent and sociable mammals was unethical and incompatible with evolving public opinion and we amended our by-laws accordingly. We look forward to working with the Vancouver Aquarium as it intensifies its focus on Ocean Wise research and conservation.”

Last summer, the Vancouver Aquarium launched a legal challenge to the Park Board’s amendment of its by-laws. The matter is still being considered by the BC Supreme Court. As this legal matter is pending and unresolved, there will be no further comment by the Park Board at this time.

The Board, along with applicable provincial and federal laws pertaining to cetaceans, regulates Vancouver Aquarium activities in Stanley Park. The Board has issued a long-term license to the 60-year-old Vancouver Aquarium to allow it to operate within Stanley Park. The Aquarium has operated under a legal agreement with the Park Board since 1956 and the current license agreement runs to 2029. 

Stanley Park is owned by the Government of Canada and leased in perpetuity to the City as a park. City Council has designated Stanley Park as a permanent public park under the Vancouver Charter. The Park Board has exclusive jurisdiction and control over Stanley Park.

29 December 2017

Where to recycle your Christmas tree in Vancouver

/ Vancouver Is Awesome
December 29, 2017 


Chipping Stations

The City of Vancouver, along with the Lions Club, is organizing four tree recycling stations across the city. They also encourage you to bring a non-perishable food item; they will be distributing donations to local charities.

Tree chipping stations are open 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m. on January 6 and 7, 2018
  • Sunset Beach Upper Parking Lot, Beach Ave. and Broughton St.
  • Trout Lake Community Centre Parking Lot 3360 Victoria Drive
  • Kitsilano Beach Parking Lot, Cornwall Ave. and Arbutus St.
  • Kerrisdale Ice Rink Parking Lot, 5670 East Blvd.
 
Curbside Pick Up

The city collects trees via curbside pickup. If you have Green Bin service, put your tree out by 7 a.m. on Jan 14.

Transfer Station or Landfill

Bring your tree to a Vancouver Transfer Station or landfill and recycle it for free until Jan 31, 2018.
Vancouver South Transfer Station: 377 West Kent Ave. North, Vancouver
Vancouver Landfill and Recycling Depot: 5400 72nd St, Delta

22 December 2017

City opens an additional warming centre in Kitsilano


City of Vancouver
Information Bulletin
December 22, 2017
 
 
In response to continued cold weather and as part of the City of Vancouver’s Warming Centre Program, an additional warming centre will open tonight in Kitsilano. Warming centres are activated as a life-saving response for people living on the street during the city’s coldest months.
 
Warming centres are currently open at the following locations:
 
·         Kitsilano Community Centre - 2690 Larch St (Hours: 11 pm to 7 am)
·         Britannia Community Centre – 1739 Venables Street (Hours: 9pm to 8:30am)
·         Carnegie Community Centre – 401 Main Street (Hours: 11:15pm to 7am)
·         West End Community Centre – 870 Denman Street (Hours: 11pm to 7am)
 
Warming centres are activated when the temperature reaches -5°C or below (or feels like -5°C or below). All warming centres welcome men, women, pets, bikes, and carts. Hot beverages and snacks are available and no reservation is required.
 
In addition to warming centres, the City, in partnership with BC Housing, opened almost double the number of temporary shelter beds in the city this year as a response to winter weather. On November 1, the first of 301 temporary shelters beds were activated. The final two temporary shelters were opened as of December 15; all other shelters are operating at full capacity. Find a full list of temporary shelters here.
 
Those looking for shelter space can call 2-1-1 to check availability. Community centres and other public buildings are also available during their open hours as spaces to warm up.
 
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Media contact:
City of Vancouver Corporate Communications
604.871.6336 
media@vancouver.ca

20 December 2017

Park board delays discussion on pool plan

/ Vancouver Courier
December 20, 2017 01:00 AM


Those waiting to hear what park board commissioners think of the proposed long-term plan for the city’s pools, beaches and aquatics amenities will have to wait a little bit longer.

At the final meeting of 2017 Tuesday night, the board voted to rescind its previous motion to refer debate on the proposal to Jan. 15, and then voted to add the issue to the Jan. 29 meeting.

 Vision commissioner Catherine Evans made the motions because Green commissioner, and outgoing board chair, Michael Wiebe will not be present for the Jan. 15 meeting.

While the motions passed, not all commissioners were in support. The NPA’s John Coupar and Sarah Kirby-Yung both voted against moving the discussion on the proposed VanSplash plan to a later date.

Coupar said the expectation was already set in the community that the proposal would come back to the board on Jan. 15. He also added that the move could set a difficult precedent for the board.

“The board requires a quorum to do its business. I’ve never seen in my experience a change for a particular commissioner,” he said.

“I’m also concerned about varying the business of the board for one commissioner because we will have situations when people do have travel plans or others and I think that the business of the board needs to continue,” Kirby-Yung said.

Commissioners heard from close to 50 speakers on the proposed — which lays out a plan for the future of Vancouver’s indoor and outdoor pools, wading pools, spray parks and beaches, and other aquatic attractions — over two nights Dec. 11 and 12.

The proposal includes a variety of elements: a destination natural outdoor pool along the Fraser River; a harbour deck in a prominent location; a new, larger pool at Britannia; a new destination pool at Connaught Park; an outdoor pool in South Vancouver, with Marpole and Killarney community centres as possible locations; as well as upgrading or replacing changing rooms, concession stands and food services at beaches.

In a previous version of the plan, Lord Byng and Templeton pools were slated for demolition. They were to be replaced by new, larger destination pools at Connaught Park and Britannia Community Centre. The recommendations were revised for the final report. The revised recommendations keep the pools open pending a review of the impacts of the new pools and consultation with pool users, the community and key stakeholders.

***


 
Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon was elected park board chair for 2018. Vision's Catherine Evans will serve as vice chair. Photos Dan Toulgoet
The park board has a new chair for the coming new year.

Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon was elected board chair for 2018 and Vision’s Catherine Evans was elected vice chair. NPA commissioner Casey Crawford was elected to another year as committee chair and Green commissioner Michael Wiebe was chosen as committee vice chair.
Wiebe is also the outgoing board chair.

“I’d like to thank all the commissioners for their support in this past year as chair,” he said. “It’s been an eye-opening year,” Wiebe said, adding that he has learned more in the past year than he has in a long time.

“Thank you all very much,” Mackinnon said. “This is a position I never thought I would find myself in. I look forward to our continuing commitment to reconciliation and the completion of the many initiatives commissioners have brought to this table over the past few years.

“There’s many that I think we need to get through and I think it will be a very, very successful term for all of us if we’re able to do that. Despite the multi-party nature of the board I believe that we have, by and large, worked well together over the past few years and I look forward to ten months of hard work.”

@JessicaEKerr

19 December 2017

Vancouver Greens’ Stuart Mackinnon elected Park Board chair



December 19, 2017 8:43 pm


Mackinnon will take over as chair from fellow Green Commissioner Michael Wiebe.
Mackinnon will take over as chair from fellow Green Commissioner Michael Wiebe.
Stuart Mackinnon / Facebook
 

At its last meeting of the year, Vancouver’s Park Board has elected a new executive.

The Vancouver Greens’ Stuart Mackinnon will take the reins as new chair, while Vision Vancouver’s Catherine Evans will serve as vice chair.

Mackinnon will take over as chair from fellow Green Michael Wiebe.

The Vancouver Park Board elects a new chair every year.

Wiebe won the job last December after the NPA’s Erin Shum broke with her party — which holds a majority on the board — to give a Green the job for the first time.

Mackinnon is the special education department head and school based resource teacher at Vancouver’s Killarney Secondary.

He made headlines earlier this year when he floated the idea of a ban on balloons in the city’s parks. That motion was ultimately defeated.

Mackinnon was first elected to the board in 2008, and again in the 2014 civic election.

The board’s seven commissioners will be up for reelection when Vancouverites go back to the polls next November.

 © 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

City plans for snowfall over winter holidays

December 19 2017
“This year, we have added new areas for snow and ice removal, including pedestrian pathways, arterial corner ramps, bus stops, and some steep laneways that will help us in collecting garbage and recycling."

Snow on City Hall 
With snow in the forecast over the winter holidays, the City is initiating its snow plan and reminding residents of what they can do to stay safe.

“When snow or freezing temperatures are predicted, engineering crews ensure that our major streets are salted, brined, or plowed depending on the conditions,” says Jerry Dobrovolny, General Manager of Engineering Services for the City of Vancouver. “This year, we have added new areas for snow and ice removal, including pedestrian pathways, arterial corner ramps, bus stops, and some steep laneways that will help us in collecting garbage and recycling. It is important for residents to remember that it is not in our plan to plow local streets, as is typical of primarily rainy-climate cities such as ours.”

City crews work 24 hours a day and liaise with a meteorologist for tailored Vancouver-specific weather predictions in order to prepare ahead of snow and ice.

Improvements approved by Council following the 2016/2017 winter

Based on the lessons learned over the 2016/2017 winter, the City has adopted recommendations for improvements to enhance service to residents when snow falls.

Improvements include expanded coverage locations, increased salt storage, and prioritized service response times. The City has also added new vehicles to the fleet that are adaptable for use in all seasons. The vehicles will enable crews to access some neighbourhoods and lanes more easily to support garbage and green bin collection.
  • Expanded coverage: including the addition of pedestrian pathways, arterial corner ramps, bus stops, and priority laneways required to assist in garbage collection
  • Enhanced response capabilities
    • Using 3-1-1 case study mapping to identify high priority areas and target response zones
    • Training for more drivers so that the City has more crew members to call on for support
    • Deploying mud and snow or all-weather tires to all non-commercial City fleet vehicles (and chains for those with a Gross Vehicle Weight more than 5,000 kg)
    • Expanding the City’s fleet to include vehicles adaptable for use in all seasons to allow better access to some neighbourhood laneways for garbage and green bin collection. Additional equipment will include more dump trucks with ‘winter package’ equipment enabled for snow and ice, and utility vehicles.
  • Priority routes: A three-tier priority route schedule with prioritized response times for each tier
    • Priority 1 – clearance in <12 hours
      • Priority 1 emergency routes
      • Pedestrian paths associated with priority 1 bike lanes
    • Priority 2 – clearance in <48 hours
      • School routes, collector streets, priority 2 hills, and transit routes
      • Pedestrian paths associated with priority 2 bike lanes
    • Priority 3 – clearance in up to 7 days
      • Remaining emergency routes, mini park pathways, arterial sidewalks at bus stops, and corner ramps
      • Priority 3 bike lanes and associated pedestrian paths 
  • Increased salt capacity: Updated salt contracts to secure expanded quotas of salt at a lower price, and updates to salt and brine storage capacity, including:
    • Brine storage tank capacity increased from 11,000 to 30,000 gallons
    • Salt storage facilities upgraded to include loading equipment
    • Salt inventory increased from 2,700 to 8,000 tonnes

What residents can do to prepare for winter

 Prepare your snow gear early: Make sure you have shovels, snow boots, snow tires, and salt before the first big snowfall. 

  • Know your obligations: All property owners and occupants must clear snow and ice from sidewalks around their property by 10 am the morning after a snowfall, seven days a week. Failure to remove snow and ice may result in fines.
  • Get winter tires: If you drive through the winter, consider getting tires with the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol OR the mud and snow symbol, with at least 3.5 mm tread. The Province of BC requires these tires on provincial highways. 
  • Move your car: City crews plow major roads and bus routes. By moving your car to a side street or garage when snow is predicted or after it snows, City crews can better clear arterials for all users. 
  • Avoid driving if you can: Check transit schedules at translink.ca for commuting alternatives. 

Become a Snow Angel

Snow and ice on the sidewalk can be a barrier for many people, particularly seniors and people with mobility challenges.
The Snow Angel program helps match volunteers with seniors and people with mobility issues to help clear their sidewalks following a snowfall event.
Sign up to be a Snow Angel

Report flooding or snow issues on VanConnect

 Connect with us on the go, 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the VanConnect App.

Use the app to report snow causing flooding, issues with transit shelter access, uncleared sidewalks, and any other street maintenance issues.
Download VanConnect at the AppStore, Google Play, or for Blackberry.

Find more information about how to prepare for winter weather

Download our helpful apps
Stay connected with us 24/7

14 December 2017

When the line between civil and uncivil becomes blurred bullying can’t be far behind



For two nights this week Commissioners and the public discussed a report on the future of swimming opportunities in Vancouver. Sounds like a fairly innocuous subject. Planning staff, along with hired consultants, wrote a lengthy and far ranging report—500+ pages, including history, public consultation, costs, and recommendations amongst others. 

Parts of the report and some of the recommendations upset groups within the community. Proposals to close some pools and build others, recommendations to continue to move away from neighbourhood services and into community and destination sites, hit a nerve in some. More than 60 people signed up to speak at the meeting.

Both Commissioners and the public had questions and opinions about the report and the recommendations. Questions and opinions are good, except when those are directed not at the work, but at the people who completed the work. Questions about the report can be asked in a civil and polite manner. Hard hitting questions about methodology and conclusions are fair game, questioning the motivation of the writers is not.

Our Park Board planners are hard working, dedicated professional civil servants. They are well educated, highly trained experts. They write reports based on requests from Commissioners and the needs of senior management. They put their hearts and souls into their work because they believe they are working for the greater good.

In my quest for answers, I crossed the line from questioning the report, to questioning the report writer. That was unfair. The Chair of the meeting rightly reminded me that we were there to ask questions about the report and not to make political statements. 

Unfortunately, I was not the only one to do so. Too many speakers asked questions, not about the report, but about the writers of the report. Over the two nights some participants questioned staff’s motivation and their bias. This is not fair. The only bias planners have is to the betterment of our city. The only motivation is to build community and amenities to serve the public. 

Civil discourse is at the heart of participatory democracy. When that civil discourse crosses the line to uncivil questioning it becomes bullying. We have seen that at the School Board in Vancouver, with the result that two independent reports concluded the work place became toxic and staff felt unsafe.

Our civil service serves us, the public. They are hired because of their expertise, their education, and their dedication to our community. They are there not to be ridiculed, have their motivations questioned, or to be bullied. I know the power words have and how when mishandled can be hurtful. I have made a commitment to choose my words more carefully; to ask questions pertinent only to the reports before me; and to respect our staff and the work they do.

We are fortunate to live in a representative democracy, but with that comes rights and responsibilities. Respect is one of those rights. Our responsibility is to ensure that respect is given to all.