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.

02 August 2011

Green Parks Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon To Seek 2nd Term

PRESS RELEASE: 2nd August 2011

Stuart Mackinnon, Green Party of Vancouver (GPv) Park Board Commissioner, announced today that he will seek a second term on Vancouver’s Board of Parks and Recreation. Elected in 2008, Stuart has been a champion of parks as places for play and relaxation, and has fought against the continuing cuts to the Park Board budget, as well as the increasing commercialization of public spaces.

“The past 3 years have seen the severest cuts to the Park Board ever. I believe that parks and recreation deserve better and I want to continue the fight to preserve, promote and protect our public spaces” said Mackinnon. “A strong voice for parks as places of natural refuge and healthy play is necessary to keep Vancouver amongst the greatest cities in the world. I want to continue to be that voice.”

Mackinnon will seek the Green Party of Vancouver’s endorsement at their nomination meeting scheduled for early September. Mackinnon believes in cooperation at the municipal level but supports the Green Party’s independence. “I will continue to work with any other individual or group who shares my values and the Green perspective on individual initiatives. To rule out cooperation because of differences in other areas would be petty and foolish and would be against the public good” commented Mackinnon. Earlier in the summer the Green Party of Vancouver chose to run candidates independent of an electoral alliance with other municipal parties.


Stuart Mackinnon brief bio:

Stuart Mackinnon, a secondary special education teacher at Killarney Secondary school, was born and raised in Vancouver. After travel and work in diverse areas of the world including Malaysia, China, and Quebec’s James Bay region, he settled in the Killarney/Fraserlands neighbourhood of Vancouver. Stuart is the board secretary of the Axis Theatre Company, as well as a director of the Wilderness Committee. He is involved with his professional association, the BCTF, as a member of his local school team. Stuart has been a Trustee of the Vancouver Public Library, a member of the Canada-China Education Association and was formerly Chair of the BCTF Assistance Society and the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC). Stuart was elected to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in 2008 representing the Green Party of Vancouver.

For more information – contact: Stuart Mackinnon: 778-389-1956 or

Green Party of Vancouver Chairperson: Desmond Rodenbour: 604-512-4487