24 August 2011

Have Your Say on the 2012-14 Capital Plan

The proposed 2012-14 Capital Plan for the City of Vancouver has gone out for public consultation. You can join in the conversation here - but only until August 31st. This year's plan calls for a smaller borrowing, which means fewer projects. In tight financial times this might be a good idea, but it does come with some trade-offs. Much of Vancouver's infrastructure is rapidly aging, with some well past their 'best before date'.

The Capital Plan is also being presented in a different manner, with many projects falling into cross departmental categories. In the past the Park Board was given an envelope of money and asked how they proposed to spend it. This year there is not a specific Park Board category. Instead there are revised categories for capital assets, moving away from assets identified by department to categories which identify assets by function:
-Community Facilities
-Parks And Open Spaces
-Public Safety
-Utilities And Public Works
-Civic Infrastructure

The document states that the "benefits of the new approach include improved transparency and greater accountability along with a more holistic, city-wide approach to long-term capital investment decisions." This has yet to be seen, but what it does mean is that the input of the elected Commissioners at the Park Board will be reduced as many projects cut across departments and entities. An example of this is the funding for a new community centre in Marpole. The new plan calls for a multi-use facility including a new library. A great idea, but it means that decision making - especially over the location will not be the responsibility of the Park Board, even though community centres fall under its jurisdiction.

A 10 year strategic outlook has also been prepared in conjunction with the Capital Plan. In this it states that there will be 8 recreational facilities upgraded or replaced, and 3-4 new ones built, yet this Capital Plan only calls for half the funding of the new Marpole centre. At this rate replacements will more likely be in the 30-40 year range, while new facility building will have to be put on hold indefinitely. Facilities like the Kerrisdale arena and pool do not have anywhere close to 30 years left in their life--in fact they are in danger of being closed sooner rather than later. Hastings, West Point Grey, Dunbar, and Britannia community centres are all long over due for replacement, yet this document does not address these problems.

When the Capital Plan comes before the Park Board in the fall our input will be more limited and our priorities will become mere suggestions, as City Council will have a far greater say than before. Please take the time to read as much as you can concerning this plan and participate in the discussion. This plan is not just for 2012-2014 - the decisions we make this year will have a great effect on our city and its direction for many years in the future.


  1. Mount Pleasant Pool, which has already been closed like so many of Vancouver's outdoor pools, does not have any funding allocated to it in the 2012-2014 Draft Capital Plan. It is however in the Master Plan for the current park renewal, after being approved through public consultation (83% favoured the outdoor pool replacement). It is to be built 'when funds become available'. Friends of Mount Pleasant Pool (Facebook) and the Vancouver Society for Promotion of Outdoor Pools call on our elected Park Board Commissioners to make funds available in this Capital Plan for the renewal of the Mount Pleasant Outdoor Pool.

  2. Margery,Park Commissioners cannot magically make funds appear. The Capital Plan funding, like the Parks budget, comes from city council. Only they can say what will and will not be funded. Commissioners this round have even less say in the funding for recreation. Your comments would better be directed to City Council.

  3. Thank you, Stuart. We will continue to direct comments to Council as well as seek support for the project from all areas of government, inlcuding Park Board. We will advocate for a bigger budget for parks and recreation in the Capital Plan.