23 June 2011

Rooting for a plan to reclaim the land

Commissioner aiming to convert unused parts of the city into useful gardens

Small, unused and neglected bits of the Vancouver landscape could get turned into flower or vegetable gardens if a motion by Green Party commissioner Stuart Mackinnon gets approved at the next Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation meeting.

Mackinnon has a motion before the board Monday asking staff to identify underutilized public spaces such as boulevards or verges.

He wants those spaces, many of which are not regularly groomed because of parks board cutbacks, to be turned over to neighbourhood groups for beautification.

Most of the spaces probably aren't big enough for vegetables, but Mackinnon hopes to see patches of flowers instead of weeds, invasive plants and blackberry bushes.

"I'd love to make Vancouver a more beautiful city," said Mackinnon.

He got the idea from a neighbour in his community who cut down the weeds bordering a path running along some railway tracks and replaced it with flowers.

MacKinnon doesn't know how much unused space is available.

"That's what we need to find out," he said.

The Cambie Heritage Boulevard already has a defined use, but the boulevard on King Edward Avenue is a possible spot for Mackinnon's motion.

"I can't see why we wouldn't want to do this," said Mackinnon, whose proposal wouldn't require funding beyond some possible initial clearing.

"This is not land that's being used," he added. "It would get people in the community involved."



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