10 July 2012

More fluff than substance at Park Board meetings

Last night the Commissioners of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation passed two more fluff resolutions that could have been left to staff directions. The first, concerning a review of the golf courses, is something that staff regularly reports on. Each year I was a Commissioner a report on the state of revenues and maintenance was brought by staff to the Board. It would have been easy to ask staff to add a review of usage and alternatives to that regular report.

The second concerning the level of chlorine used in public pools--to cap at 3 times the minimum required--could also have been a direction to staff through its regular reporting schedule. A pool report is also done on a yearly basis.

These motions would appear to be simply exercises in public relations and getting Commissioners names in the news. Aaron Jasper often accuses his detractors of 'political grand-standing'. These motions are little more than that. Despite fierce opposition to the golf motion, there was little chance that it would not pass. With a majority on the Board, Comm. Jasper and his Vision colleagues can pass whatever motion they choose. Decisions are rarely made around the table. By the time a resolution gets to the Board it is generally fait accompli. The rest is just theatre.

Are we any further ahead for having these debates at the Board? I don't think so. The system is broken and the more broken it becomes the more the general public turns off. This is seen with each election as fewer and fewer people vote. But as long as the system works for the party in power, there will be no change-- the status quo is the only winner.

1 comment:

  1. These times will be remembered as the nadir of democracy and community in Vancouver, a sham system designed simply to enrich the few at the cost of the many.
    Thank you, Stuart, for your insider's comment about this all-too-common grandstanding, which we see in Council in equal doses.