22 December 2010

Parks Budget passes 4-2-1

There was little doubt as to the outcome as the Park Board budget passed its first hurdle last Thursday night. It was also quite anti-climatic City Council announced that an additional amount would be set aside to keep washrooms open and field use for kids free. Knowing that there is a civic election next year, I can't imagine any city administration would close cherished public amenities like washrooms. What was surprising was that only 2/3 of the costs of washrooms was included, so the Park Board has to come up with an additional $100,000 in efficiencies to fund the remaining 1/3. Staff were not able to give us where these efficiencies would be found on such short notice. The $700,000 in other cuts--mostly to park maintenance--went through.

COPE Commissioner Loretta Woodcock and I voted against the budget and NPA Commissioner Ian Robertson abstained, with all 4 Vision Vancouver Commissioners voting in favour. The 2 negative votes and one abstention were all cast in reaction to the lack of public consultation done by the Park Board. While City Council gave citizens ample opportunity to speak on the priorities of the overall budget, there was very little opportunity for residents to speak to the Park Board. A scheduled opportunity on Monday December 13th was cancelled by the Chair and rescheduled to Thursday the 16th--two days after City Council decided the budget. As could be expected, very few people turned out to the meeting on the 16th as there was little point.

I hope next year's process will be more inclusive and that everyone who wants to speak to the Board is given the opportunity before the budget is set.

1 comment:

  1. Stuart

    I have often wondered why we need an elected Park Board considering that Council has the true power because they control the money?

    Would it not be better for Council to deal directly with Park Board decisions rather than the process now in place?