14 June 2011

A Splash of Colour for Every Neighbourhood

In my neighbourhood the Park Board used to cut the verge along the railroad tracks 4-5 times a year. This has been reduced over the past few years to the point where I don't think it will be cut at all this year. This would be in-keeping with the cuts to the Parks budget for maintenance. What used to be a neat trim grassed area has become a tall weed and invasive species area growing rampant so that in some areas you can't even see the train as it passes by.

One of my neighbours took it upon themselves to clear up a portion of this area a couple of years ago and plant a beautiful flower garden. Now, instead of the tall unkempt weeded areas found elsewhere along the path, we have a beautiful blooming festival of colours and shapes.

I wondered why we couldn't do this in every neighbourhood. In most areas of the city you can find empty lots owned by the city, or boulevards, verges and little unused spaces that would be just right for someone or group to use to plant flowers . The Vancouver Public Spaces Network does guerrilla gardening in some of these areas but many more remain empty and unused. Now that the Park Board is no longer going to do even rudimentary cutting in many areas, I think this is the right time for local people to use this land to plant neighbourhood gardens.

With that in mind, at the next Board meeting on June 27th I will be presenting the following motion:

Whereas there is a need within the City of Vancouver for citizens to fully enjoy public lands;

And whereas there are public spaces within the City that are not being used for useful purposes including verges, boulevards and empty lots;

And whereas the Park Board budget for maintaining these spaces has been reduced and a policy of naturalization of these spaces been adopted;

Be it resolved that the Park Board work with the City and its unions to identify underutilized public verges, boulevards and other spaces not already used as parkland, to partner with neighbourhood groups to use this land for neighbourhood gardens. And be it further resolved that the Park Board assist neighbourhood groups in the clearing of this land in preparation of the gardens.


  1. Right on, Stuart.
    This is the stuff of a community culture.
    The traditional family farm wasted no space; while tool, equipment, and labour sharing to grow the land knotted people together in a wholesome way. Now you have legislation proposed that guides you in that same direction.
    We need you here on the island S :)

  2. I support your motion. I hope it passes.