11 July 2018

Park Board approves new nine acre roof-top park for redeveloped Oakridge Centre

 Rendering of Oakridge Park on the roof of Oakridge Mall

July 10 2018

 “This new park will be a tremendous addition to our network of outstanding public parks with access for all. There will be something for everyone, from public spaces and a water park, to a woodland and a meadow,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

The Vancouver Park Board has approved the concept plan for a new nine acre public park, which will be the first of its kind in Vancouver, located partially on the roof-top of the mall and partially at ground level.

The new park will offer a unique experience for residents and will be a destination park for the rest of the city. It will feature six distinct park areas with a rich Pacific Northwest landscape and a balance of active and tranquil spaces. The new park will redefine what is possible for a landscape on top of a building. It will feature areas for contemplation, socializing and large gatherings and will have an 800 metre jogging and walking track.

Read the staff report and approved concept plan PDF file (10 MB) 

Outstanding public parks

“This new park will be a tremendous addition to the Park Board's network of outstanding public parks with access for all. There will be something for everyone, from public spaces and a water park, to a woodland and a meadow,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

In the redevelopment plan by QuadReal Property Group and Westbank Corporation, the existing Oakridge mall area will be transformed to include a mix of modern condo towers, townhomes, community facilities and green space.

Community centre provided by developer

The Park Board community centre in the new civic facility will be provided by the developer at no cost to the City. The community centre will be co-located with a library and daycare, and will include a fitness centre, seniors centre with kitchen, youth centre and spaces for arts and culture.

In addition to the park, the redevelopment plan by QuadReal Property Group and Westbank Corporation will transform Oakridge Centre through the addition of 10 towers and three mid-rise buildings with commercial, office, and residential uses, including market and social housing. The plan calls for more than 2,600 residential units. Of those, 290 will be market rental and another 290 will be social housing.

 Park Board Press release: 10 July 2018

10 July 2018

What’s that smell? Rare corpse flower set to bloom at Park Board’s Bloedel Conservatory

July 10 2018

“The Park Board was very fortunate to acquire this rare plant a few years ago,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Any day now residents and visitors will have a chance to witness one of nature’s strangest displays.”  

 Corpse flower or titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum)

A rare, exotic tropical plant known for its putrid bouquet is set to bloom under the dome at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.

The titan arum (or corpse flower) is the largest flower on earth. When it blooms, it unleashes the smell of rotting flesh. Some have also described its unmistakable scent as similar to discarded diapers or hot garbage.

No wonder the suspense is building at Bloedel, where the titan arum or corpse flower looks ready to unfurl its giant petal any day now.

Rare and unpredictable

Corpse blooms are very rare and unpredictable.Bloedel’s specimen is now six years old and showing signs it will bloom imminently: its bud has grown rapidly over the past few weeks, with the flower ‘spike’ rocketing to five feet tall in the last six weeks.

When it blooms, it will unfurl its large flesh-coloured petal and start to emit rancid fumes to attract pollinator insects like carrion beetles and flesh flies that feed on dead animals. The public doesn’t need to worry about encountering such insects at the Bloedel Conservatory.

“The Park Board was very fortunate to acquire this rare plant a few years ago,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Our excellent horticultural staff have lovingly tended it ever since. Any day now residents and visitors will have a chance to witness one of nature’s strangest displays.”

Bloedel Conservatory is planning to extend its hours for a “smell it while you can” experience during the fleeting blooming spectacle which will last just 24 to 48 hours.

First corpse flower in BC

In cultivation, the titan arum generally requires 7–10 years of vegetative growth before blooming for the first time. Some plants may not bloom again for another decade while others may bloom every two to three years. The stinky flowers are native to the equatorial rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia and are classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of threatened plants

Vancouver joined a handful of North American cities to possess a corpse flower when the Vancouver Park Board acquired its own in 2016 from a North Carolina nursery. This will be the first time a titan arum has bloomed in British Columbia. Earlier this year, a corpse flower dubbed “Gagnes”  bloomed at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton.

Local residents will have a chance to name the Bloedel specimen in an online competition over the next days.

Park Board Press Release: 10 July 2018

28 June 2018

10,000 square-foot Killarney Seniors Centre now officially open

June 28 2018

 "As we open this modern and vibrant facility, we are making good on our commitment to provide the seniors in southeast Vancouver with a place to socialize, exercise, relax, share meals together, and have access to a broad range of programs so that they can lead fulfilling lives,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

 Ribbon cutting at the opening of the Killarney Seniors Centre

Almost two decades after the dream was launched by a dedicated group of southeast Vancouver seniors, the long-awaited Killarney Seniors Centre opened today with a community celebration attended by hundreds of seniors, family and friends.


The 10,000 square-foot, LEED Gold certified centre provides opportunities for socializing, healthy meals, and physical activity.
It has five multi-purpose rooms, a roof-top patio, lounge with fireplace and TV, commercial kitchen and accessibility features including an elevator, hearing loops, auto door openers in washrooms and distress buttons.

Serving the growing population of seniors

The new centre is attached to the existing Killarney Community Centre, situated in a neighborhood that is home to fully a third of the City’s 27,000 seniors. While there are seven seniors centres west of Cambie Street,  Killarney is the first community facility dedicated to serving the growing population of seniors in southeast Vancouver.

"As we open this modern and vibrant facility, we are making good on our commitment to provide the seniors in southeast Vancouver with a place to socialize, exercise, relax, share meals together, and have access to a broad range of programs so that they can lead fulfilling lives,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.


Funding for the $7.5 million centre came from the Government of Canada, Government of British Columbia, and City of Vancouver. The Vancouver Park Board provided the land. The Southeast Vancouver Seniors Arts and Culture Centre Society has been a key supporter of the project.


More than 2,000 seniors currently use the Killarney Community Centre. The number is expected to grow by 15 percent with the new facility.
Once the programs are up and running in August, the new Killarney Seniors Centre will offer:

  • Instructor-led recreation programs and drop-in recreation activities
  • A hot lunch program with a restaurant-quality kitchen
  • Off-site excursions and outings
  • Special events
  • A variety of support services for seniors 
Programs running in the centre already this summer include bingo, cribbage, sewing, art, choir and exercise programs. New programs such as pet therapy and  Latin dance will be added in the fall.
A Colombia Institute report  says municipal services are becoming increasingly important in providing the support seniors needs to live in the community and are usually the first line of defense in maintaining good health.

Quotes from funding partners


Minister of National Defence and MP for Vancouver South Harjit Singh Sajjan

“Our government is committed to providing opportunities for seniors to participate in meaningful programs that contribute to their overall wellbeing and encourage personal growth. We are proud to announce the ‎opening of the Killarney Seniors Centre, which will bring much-needed programs and support services to seniors in southeast Vancouver. This new facility will ensure that Vancouver's seniors continue to thrive.”

MLA Vancouver-Fraserview and Minister of State for Trade George Chow

“It is vital that we continue to make investments in infrastructure that keep our communities livable for everyone. With such a beautiful new centre, seniors in Killarney and Southeast Vancouver have a place that supports a healthy, connected and interactive lifestyle for years to come."

City of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

“Making sure that seniors are active, healthy, and engaged in the community is a key part of building a happy and inclusive city. The new Killarney Seniors Centre will help ensure that seniors can continue living close to the services, amenities and southeast Vancouver community that they call home for many years to come.”

Park Board Press Release: 28 June 2018

21 June 2018

Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra present first-ever ”Symphony At Sunset,” a free, open-air concert July 14th at Sunset Beach Park

June 21 2018

 “We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the VSO to bring symphonic music to the Vancouver public in this first-ever Symphony At Sunset,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.

 Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra present first-ever "Symphony At Sunset,” a free, open-air concert July 14th at Sunset Beach Park.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and Vancouver Park Board (VPB) today announced a unique collaboration to present a free, open-air concert at Sunset Beach Park the evening of Saturday, July14th. “Symphony At Sunset” will kick-off the VSO’s 100th anniversary season with a concert for all ages set against sweeping views of English Bay in one of Vancouver’s most spectacular parks.

Free family event

The concert will be a free and accessible family event and will be alcohol and smoke-free. It will consist of a pre-concert program performed by student ensembles from the VSO School of Music at 7:15pm, and a sunset concert performed by the VSO from 8:30pm to 10:00pm. It includes a broad selection of symphonic hits including music by Leonard Bernstein, excerpts from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and John Williams’ scores to Star Wars.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the VSO to bring symphonic music to the Vancouver public in this first-ever Symphony At Sunset,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “We encourage young and old to enjoy this free family event and we hope the musicians are uniquely inspired by the beauty of this iconic park.”

This will be the first free outdoor VSO concert in Vancouver since 2011, when the VSO played in Stanley Park for the 125th Anniversary of the City. The VSO performs only a handful of free outdoor shows each year; the others this season being in Whistler over Canada Day weekend and Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park on July 8th. Both the VPB and VSO hope Symphony At Sunset will become a sustainable annual event and a gift to the people of Vancouver for years to come.

100th anniversary celebration

"We are thrilled to kick off the VSO's 100th Anniversary Celebrations in partnership with the Vancouver Park Board in a setting that will combine the scenic assets of our city with the cultural assets of our symphony," said Kelly Tweeddale, President of the Vancouver Symphony Society and VSO School of Music. "In the great cities of the world, free concerts like this become a place where families can come together and experience the magnitude of a symphony performance and build lasting traditions. As we embark on the VSO's next century, we hope that this will become a Vancouver tradition."

The collaboration between the VPB and the VSO began several years ago when the VPB unanimously approved a motion  (90 KB) toward the delivery of a free open air symphony concert at Sunset Beach Park. Performing over 150 concerts a year, the VSO is dedicated to enriching and transforming lives through music by presenting passionate, high-quality performances of classical, popular and culturally diverse music.

There will be food trucks on site for the event, and the public are encouraged to bring a picnic, a blanket and to make an evening of it at Sunset Beach Park. Concertgoers are asked to bring low chairs so as not to obstruct the view of other audience members.

Up to 8,000 could attend

The VPB and VSO estimate that more than 7,000 people will attend Symphony At Sunset. As in all major events in Vancouver’s downtown core, the public are encouraged to walk, cycle or take public transit to Sunset Beach Park as traffic in the area will be restricted and parking will be at a premium in the West End.

20 June 2018

Preserving and protecting parkland in an urban landscape is our duty

 This is a letter I wrote to the Regina Leader Post after a resident of Regina contacted me concerning the proposed building of a commercial development in Wascana park. You can find some background information from this CBC link.

Park should be preserved

Letter to the Editor of the Regina Leader Post  June 19, 2018

I love Saskatchewan. I don’t visit as often as I would like, but when I do, it always feels special: The wide-open spaces, the slower pace in many parts and the sheer beauty of every part. Regina fills my heart because of the wise decision made years ago to surround the legislature in a beautiful park. Anyone who visits Regina knows Wascana Park. Anyone lucky enough to live in Regina knows that it is part of what makes the city so special.

I have the honour to be an elected Commissioner of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. My duty is to preserve and protect our parkland including Stanley Park. It is a responsibility I take seriously. For me, our parkland is sacred. It is held in trust not only for today, but for the generations that come after.

Preserving and protecting parkland in an urban landscape is our duty because once we give it up it is gone forever. Land is limited and so is money. To give up any portion of a park is to betray those that come after us; to deny them the opportunities that we have had.

The business of Saskatchewan lies with the people, and I wouldn’t dream of interfering with your governance, but when I heard that parts of Wascana Park were being given over to commercial development it broke my heart. Such a beautiful place, that so many love and enjoy, should be preserved for all, and for always.

Stuart Mackinnon, Vancouver

19 June 2018

Vancouver park board rejects separate review of Langara Golf Course

Commissioners will continue with long-term strategy of looking at future of all parks

10 June 2018

Plant thieves still at work at Vancouver's parks

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It appears some people are doing more than ‘smelling the roses’ while strolling through Queen Elizabeth Park.

Several flowers were recently stolen from the rose garden at the park with someone putting an ‘I was stolen by a plant thief’ sign in their place.

Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart MacKinnon doesn’t know who put the signs up but says the theft of plants is an ongoing concern.

“It’s an unfortunate fact of city living that some people will come in at night and take things that don’t belong to them,” he says “We rely on the public to be honest and to enjoy the plants that are in the park and to let others enjoy it as well.”

He says their parks are not policed at night and while they tell people not to go in them, some disregard the rules, adding when people steal from parks, they’re stealing from the community.

His message to the thief or thieves: “Be respectful and mind that other people come into our parks to enjoy the plants as well,” he says “You can always go to your local nursery and buy a plant for your garden and leave the ones in our parks for everyone to enjoy.”

News 1130

07 June 2018

Vancouver Green Party to nominate candidates on June 27

The Vancouver Greens will nominate their slate of candidates on Wednesday June 27 at the Heritage Hall (information here). At that meeting the membership will also vote on whether to support the Vancouver and District Council (VDLC) proposal on electoral accommodation with the other progressive forces in Vancouver. The proposal calls for 9 Green candidates, 3 each at Council, Park Board, and School Board (3-3-3). The VDLC will endorse a Mayoral candidate at a later time.

There are 17 seeking Green nomination, including 7 for Council, 4 for Park Commissioner, and 6 for School Trustee, thus ensuring a contest for all 3 levels of civic government.

At Council the nominees are:
Denise Brennan
Terry Martin
David Wong 
Pete Fry
Michael Wiebe
Adriane Carr
Francoise Raunet
 At Park Board the nominees are:
Stuart Mackinnon
Dave Demers
Mash Salehomoum
Camil Dumont

 At School Board the nominees are:
Lois Chan-Pedley
Alex Dow
Estrelitta Gonzalez
Nicholas Chernan
Janet Fraser
Ralph Fraatz

You can learn more about the prospective candidates here and you can meet them on Friday June 8 at a special 'meet and greet' event at the Performing Arts Lodge, 581 CARDERO St, Vancouver, BC from 6- 9 pm. Just follow the link to RSVP.

I am one of the nominees for Park Board Commissioner. I actively seek your support. You can support my nomination by joining the Vancouver Greens here and coming out to vote on June 28.

For more information about me visit: www.stuart4parks.ca

06 June 2018

Candidate names to be listed in random order on 2018 election ballot

City of Vancouver
Information bulletin
June 6, 2018
Vancouver City Council has voted today to list mayoral, councillor, and Park Board commissioner candidates in random order instead of alphabetical order on Vancouver’s municipal election ballots.
The update to the election by-law was requested by Council to create a more even playing field for candidates. Research has shown many voters are more likely to vote for those listed first on a ballot, meaning that candidates at the top of an alphabetical list are perceived to have an advantage over those lower down.
As this will be the first year Vancouver voters will vote with a random order ballot, Council has approved $235,000 for strategies to prepare voters for the change.
The confirmed randomized list of names will be circulated well ahead of the election, supported by additional communications to ensure voters feel informed and know what to expect at the voting place. Voters will also be strongly encouraged to vote in advance in anticipation of longer vote times expected on Election Day.
As well, more staff and more voting booths will be available at voting locations wherever possible, to offset longer vote times and ensure assistance for those who may need extra support to vote.
The City does not have control over the list order of candidates for school board trustees. The school board has authority under the School Act, and the City’s Election Office will seek direction from the board on their desired order of names for the 2018 election ballot.
For more information, read the full report to Council:
Media Contact:
Corporate Communications

27 May 2018

Vancouver files claim over 2015 fuel spill in English Bay

Denise Ryan 
Vancouver Sun

25 May 2018

Access for All: Park Board improves beach experience with second Mobi-Mat and new water wheelchairs for those with mobility challenges

Vancouver Park Board
News Release
May 25, 2018
The beach is calling …. and this year two of Vancouver’s most popular beaches will be fully accessible to people with mobility challenges.   
It’s the second phase of the Vancouver Park Board’s commitment to a better, more inclusive beach experience for all residents.
This week, the Vancouver Park Board installed a Mobi-Mat, a non-slip beach access pathway, at Kitsilano Beach. It’s the second beach mat in Vancouver with the first installed at English Bay Beach last summer. In addition, 10 new water wheelchairs will be available at beaches across the city. The floating wheelchairs will provide persons with disabilities safe access to the ocean, with the assistance of an attendant. 
“Inclusion and access are core values of the Vancouver Park Board. In addition to our commitment to accessible beaches, the Board has removed barriers to recreation based on income, race, gender, and mobility and has forged a new relationship with community centre association partners through a shared commitment to equitable access to recreation for all residents,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.
“Feedback from the beach mat at English Bay Beach has been extremely positive. If you’re in a wheelchair, going to the beach can be an ordeal as you need the help of a strong friend or a lifeguard. Beach mats give those with mobility challenges the freedom to visit the beach on their own if they want,” said Mackinnon.
Jacques Courteau, Co-Chair of City of Vancouver Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, used the Mobi-Mat at English Bay last year and again last week.
“I got out of my chair and lowered myself onto the ground. It was awesome to just stretch there on the warm sand. I stayed about one hour. It was glorious! I will certainly do this more often this year,” he said.
Water wheelchairs will be available as of June 1 at Kits, Second Beach in Stanley Park, and New Brighton pools and the following beaches: English Bay, Kits, Jericho, Second Beach, Spanish Banks East and West, and Trout Lake. The chairs require an attendant and are available on a first come first served basis, at no charge, at each location’s lifeguard station between Victoria Day and Labour Day long weekends from 11:30 am – 8:00pm. More information at vancouver.ca.
The Park Board offers many adapted and integrated recreational activities for children, youth, adults, and seniors with mobility challenges. These activities include aquatic lifts, wheelchairs and assisted entries at pools and ice sleds at rinks. In addition, the Board provides free access to facilities for attendants who support persons with disabilities to swim, skate, exercise in fitness centres, participate in recreation programs and visit parks. Support is defined as assistance of a physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual or sensory nature to ensure that the patron with the disability is able to participate. Information on the full range of adapted and integrated Park Board programs can be found at vancouver.ca.
Every year the Board is doing more to make our facilities, parks and beaches more accessible. Two years ago, the Board opened the Southeast False Creek paddling centre. It provides Vancouver’s paddling community with a permanent home and has ramps to allow paddlers with mobility challenges easy access to their boats.
Current estimates are that about 15 percent of Vancouver residents have some form of physical disability or mobility restriction. This includes people using wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and strollers. When you add family and friends, approximately 50 percent of Vancouver residents are affected by barriers to accessibility. 
Media contact:
Park Board Communications

24 April 2018

Park Board statement on closure of Sunset Beach Park and field

Vancouver Park Board  
Information Bulletin
April 23, 2018
The Park Board will attempt to have Sunset Beach park and field open to the public in six weeks, by early June. This revised estimate of field impacts after the 4/20 marijuana event comes after a full inspection of the field by senior park operations staff this morning.  A forecast of hot and dry weather this week will greatly assist us in preparing the wet field for rehabilitation.
Park operations staff did a preliminary inspection in the immediate aftermath of the event and fenced the field to protect the damaged field from public use over the weekend.  Park Board and City staff worked together all night after 4/20 to clean event debris on the field, but there were still objects such as glass and discarded edibles on the field that posed a danger to the public. The fencing was installed on Saturday morning partially as a protective measure to ensure safety, particularly for children and dogs.
The fencing used to close the field was repurposed by Park Board as it was ordered before 4/20 as protection for new plant beds, young trees and vulnerable species such as eucalyptus and palms. The fencing was removed from these plantings and used to close the field on Saturday morning after the preliminary inspection.
The process to rehabilitate Sunset field involves the following steps:
  • Drying the field – requires a good long stretch of warm weather
  • Cleaning the field – ensuring debris such as cigarette butts, metals and glass are fully removed so machinery can operate
  • Aerating the field – Soils can become compacted through heavy use and thatch (a fibrous layer of dead grass stems, leaves and roots) can develop. Aeration, the process of puncturing the surface of the soil, mitigates this by allowing oxygen into the roots, carbon dioxide to escape and water and nutrients to more easily flow through the soil.  Aeration is necessary for healthy turf grass. 
  • Topdressing the field - This process involves spreading an organic mixture - usually sand, soil, clay or compost or a mixture of these materials - over the field. This helps even out the field, adding an extra element of safety for athletes. Topdressing is like a conditioner for athletic fields, giving turf a fuller feel and extra layer of protection.
  • Seeding and germination – waiting for the grass to grow enough so that public use does not damage the grass. With the right preparation, new turf will have shallow roots in about two weeks. This first stage of root growth is very sensitive and requires us to keep the public off the vulnerable young grass. In fact, all weight should be kept off the grass to allow for healthy, resilient turf with deep roots. This takes between 30-45 days in good conditions.
The Park Board understands that Sunset Beach Park is a much loved community asset, and provides vital recreation space for the dense downtown core.  We regret any closure, but must take steps to ensure the long term viability of this field which also experienced major impacts in 2017 during the same event.  Sunset Park field was closed for 10 weeks last spring after the 4/20 event.
The Park Board will tally all costs associated with the field restoration and other related expenses and will be billing organizers for these costs.  A full accounting of 4/20 costs will be released by the City and Park Board when all associated expenses are in.
Organizers did install about $30,000 worth of plastic turf protection around the main stage at this year’s event, which helped to mitigate the cumulative damage. 
The Park Board will continue to work with partners at the City to encourage organizers to find a more suitable, alternate location for the event in future years. 
Media contact:

19 April 2018

Park board takes next step in reconciliation

Commissioners take on mission to ‘decolonize the Vancouver Park Board’

In January 2016, the park board adopted 11 strategies in response to the 94 calls to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The strategies encompass a range of goals, including adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, staff training on Indigenous issues and reconciliation, and ensuring the integration of Aboriginal history, heritage values and memory practices in policies around monuments, memorial and public art.

This week, commissioners took things a step further and adopted a reconciliation mission, vision and values.

“We’re at a critical juncture for the future of reconciliation,” Rena Soutar, the board’s reconciliation planner, told commissioners. “The park board and institutions at all levels have done important work in recognizing the unique issues inherent in reconciling our relationship with the Aboriginal peoples of this land, but this work is only phase one.”

Soutar presented the mission, vision and values statement, saying that a “good compass” is needed to guide the work of reconciliation.

“We believe this journey will enrich us all and that articulating an inspirational vision with core values to support it helps us all paddle in the same direction.”

She said the 11 strategies address a specific set of issues and provide tactics to implement in park board processes and projects, work that has already started and will continue, while adopting the mission, vision and values statement embeds the reconciliation principles.

The mission is to decolonize the Vancouver Park Board by recognizing “the institution’s colonial history” and upholding its commitment to the 11 reconciliation strategies.

“In my mind this does mark quite a significant shift in paradigm and attitude to reconciliation,” Soutar told the Courier, adding that it shifts the focus from improving relations with First Nations people to examining what made the relations problematic in the first place and figuring out how to fix those problems.

“I’m just really pleased with how well it was received,” she said of the statement, which was adopted unanimously. “I’m looking forward to this next piece of deciding with my colleagues and whoever else is buying into this mission, vision and values on what that means for us.”

The vision is for the park board to be “an evolvable organization in which every employee and commissioner recognizes the humanity in themselves by recognizing and respecting the humanity of First Peoples” and one that sets an example in treating reconciliation as a process of decolonization.
And the values include clarity, pragmatism, leadership, learning and patience.

“We’ve heard something from our staff partners at Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, and that’s that important things take time,” Soutar said. “And it’s not just that we need to be patient because important things take time, it’s that they actually need that time to take root.”

Board chair and Green Party commissioner, Stuart Mackinnon said that reconciliation isn’t just up to a few individuals.

“It doesn’t fall on two or three employees, it falls on all of the staff, all of the commissioners and in fact all of the residents of our city to move forward with this.”

Fellow Green commissioner Michael Wiebe echoed his sentiments and praised staff for a making a strong statement in the mission to decolonize the park board.

“I think sometimes we tip toe around a subject that we’re all involved in and I think they’ve done a great job here of not doing that and making sure that we’re pushing the boundaries.”

Mackinnon also introduced a reconciliation motion of his own, which was carried unanimously, directing staff to analyze the park board’s colonial roots and current practices, asking for a report back that includes “recommendations to acknowledge any and all injustices uncovered as part of the ‘truth-telling’ phase.”

“It’s time that the park board told those truths,” Mackinnon said. “It’s from those truths that healing can begin.”


(c) 2018 Courier.com

17 April 2018

Reconciliation and truth-telling—acknowledging our colonial past

14 April 2018

Vancouver Park Board announces major Seawall upgrades

Areas affected include near English Bay, Sunset and Second beaches, Brockton Point

/ Vancouver Courier
April 12, 2018 

One of Vancouver’s crown jewels is getting some love.

The Stanley Park seawall is in the midst of the largest restoration effort in its 101-year history and crews have already begun work near English Bay.

The $4.5 million upgrade is being done in two phases. The work includes filling holes, stone replacement, stabilizing of foundations and installation of rocks to protect against water erosion at priority locations between Brockton Point and Sunset Beach Park, just outside of Stanley Park.

 “The seawall is subject to seasonal battering, as well as large storms, which damage the structure and necessitated the restoration work,” park board chair Stuart Mackinnon said in a news release. “The restoration will allow local residents and visitors to continue to enjoy recreational activities for many more years on the seawall.”

The first set of upgrades are slated for completion in August, and a 100-metre section of the seawall will be temporarily merged, requiring cyclists to dismount.

The second phase needs park board approval first and is expected to begin shortly after the initial work is completed, according to the news release.

A pair of vulnerable portions of the seawall — at Sunset Beach between Inukshuk and Broughton Street and English Bay between Park Lane and Second Beach — were replaced with reinforced concrete retaining walls in 2010 and 2011.

Independent assessments of the seawall in 2013 and 2016 identified the location, type and degree of damage along the seawall, and provided recommendations on high priority areas for repairs.

“The repairs will increase the resiliency of the seawall against more aggressive storms brought on by climate change,” the news release states.

(c) 2018 Vancouver Courier

12 April 2018

Truth and Reconciliation with the Park Board’s Colonial Roots

I will be presenting the following motion at Monday's meeting of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation:


Truth and Reconciliation with the Park Board’s Colonial Roots

MOVER: Commissioner Mackinnon


1. The City of Vancouver is designated a City of Reconciliation;

2. In January 2016, the Vancouver Park Board approved eleven (11) strategies in response to the TRC’s Calls to Action, including the recommendation to adopt the “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” as a framework for Park Board’s Reconciliation initiatives;
3. One of the concerns identified in the UN’s Declaration is:

… that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests;

4. From June through November of 2016, Park Board staff conducted a series of consultations with Indigenous cultural leaders, artists, and Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation members; input received in those sessions indicated that we are at the “truth-telling” phase of Truth and Reconciliation, and that true Reconciliation can only follow a truth-telling phase;

5. The Park Board’s own history is part of the truth of the devastating colonial impact on local First Nations.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT in support of the Vancouver Park Board’s Truth and Reconciliation initiatives, staff undertake an analysis of the Park Board’s colonial roots, as well as current practices, and report back with their findings and recommendations to acknowledge any and all injustices uncovered as part of the “truth-telling” phase.

05 April 2018

Park Board will create city-wide advisory committee to revisit VanSplash Aquatics Strategy

Vancouver Park Board  
News Release
April 5, 2018
The Park Board will invite an external advisory committee to assist in developing a revised version of VanSplash, the Board’s long-term aquatics strategy for Vancouver. This decision follows an 18 month city-wide consultation which surfaced a wide variety of viewpoints on the future of our pools and beaches.
The advisory committee will represent residents from across the city and include stakeholders from key aquatic areas including recreation, skill development, fitness, sport and therapy. An external facilitator, who has not thus far been involved in the project, will assist the Park Board in identifying priorities and refining the VanSplash Strategy.
“Swimming is our most popular recreational activity and we’ve heard a lot of different opinions on future directions for our aquatics system,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “A re-set with an external advisory committee representing a range of users and perspectives is the best path to a long-term plan.”
There will be an open call for swimmers and stakeholders to apply to join the advisory committee in the coming months. Staff will bring a report on the revised strategy to the Board in 2019.  
Media contact:

28 March 2018

Park Board will not implement seasonal pay parking at Spanish Banks beaches in 2018

After a thorough staff review the Park Board has decided it will not introduce seasonal pay parking at Spanish Banks this summer.

Staff have advised that for this year, the revenue from Spanish Banks parking is not required to balance the budget, so plans for the introduction of pay parking in four Spanish Banks lots are currently on hold.

In addition, Park Board Commissioners raised concerns at the time of approval about the lack of transit alternatives to this more remote beach location. Additional work is required with our transportation partners to find suitable options.

Access is a key priority

The Park Board will review operational and financial considerations next year and will carefully consider submissions from residents concerned about access and affordability to beaches with limited transit options for families and persons with low incomes.
While parking revenues help to reduce taxation revenue required by Park Board, access for all residents and visitors is also a key priority.

The plans - approved during the budgeting process last fall -  were to implement peak season pay parking at Spanish Banks this spring in order to align with all other destination parks and beaches in Vancouver.

Funding for parks and facilities 

More than 40% of the Park Board’s operating budget is funded by fees and charges. Pay parking at destination parks and beaches remains a critical source of Park Board revenue, providing funding for the maintenance, security, and cleanliness of all of our parks and facilities.

via: City of Vancouver website

26 March 2018

New Campaign Website

If you are interested in getting involved in my campaign for re-election to the Park Board, please visit the stuart4parks website. The first step is securing an endorsement from the Green Party of Vancouver. You can join the party which will enable you to vote at the nomination meeting in May, as well as sign my nomination papers, if you sign up before 13 April. If you want to help make better parks for Vancouver, please get in touch.

21 March 2018

99 reasons why balloons suck

Last fall when I introduced my motion to ban balloons from public parks, some people thought I was full of hot air. Well, here are 99 reasons why balloons are a danger to the planet.

A fisher scooping up downed balloons in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (Thanks to Anthony Beale for the photo share).

16 March 2018

Another run for Park Board

At the Green Party of Vancouver AGM on Sunday 11 March 2018 I stated my intention to seek another endorsement for Park Board Commissioner from the party. It has been a honour and a privilege to be an elected Green  representative on the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation twice: 2008-11 and 2014-18. I hope to receive the endorsement of the Green Party and to continue to serve my community as Park Commissioner for another term.

14 March 2018

Proposed Ray-Cam community centre renewal gets council approval

  / Vancouver Courier
March 14, 2018 11:34 AM

They were celebrating at Ray-Cam Co-operative Community Centre Wednesday morning as the push to upgrade the centre got a boost from city council, but now the real work begins.

Council adopted Green Coun. Adriane Carr’s motion to have staff review the proposed renewal so that it can be considered as part of the city’s 2019-2022 capital plan. That approval means the project will be included on the ballot this October.
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“There was a very big cheer in the lobby,” said coordinator Kate Hodgson. “That’s very exciting.”

"Today's resolution signals that the city is serious about this project — it's a real opportunity to meet some urgent housing objectives and invest in our community," said Strathcona resident and Ray-Cam board member Guy Wakeman. "We're very excited to move this forward and hipefully take advantage of some of the provincial funding opportunities we know are coming down the pipe."

Ray-Cam has been serving Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood for more than 40 years. Originally constructed in 1976, the community centre on the eastern edge of the Downtown Eastside has expanded over the years but it’s now bursting at the seams and starting to show its age.

Ray-Cam currently provides much-needed services for more than 6,000 members. Diapers, snacks and supplies are stacked against the walls in meeting rooms. The gym and weight-rooms leak, and an inadequate, and chronically broken furnace, means parts of the centre are freezing in the winter. There are only two public washrooms.
The centre exists under a unique partnership — the land is owned by the province and has been granted in perpetuity for the use and enjoyment of local residents. The centre is jointly operated by the Ray-Cam cooperative, the city and the park board.

"Ray-Cam is a caring and safe place that welcomes everyone," said park board chair Stuart Mackinnon, who is the centre's official commissioner liaision. "It is the community's rec room. I am very happy that city council feels that it is time for a renewal."

The movement to see a renewed Ray-Cam started in earnest in 2016. Hodgson said the vision includes a new community centre with more childcare spaces and more room for the increasing number of programs offered at the centre. Also at the top of the list is a residential component.

Residents involved in the community-visioned redevelopment have already secured in-principle support from B.C. Housing for the construction and financing of a residential component, pending a commitment of municipal funding for a new community centre.

Hodgson said a steering committee, which includes representatives from Ray-Cam, BC Housing, the city and the park board, will meet first thing Monday morning to get to work to make sure the proposal is ready for inclusion on the ballot.

“It’s really exciting and really needed,” she said. “We’re so ready for it.”


02 March 2018

Park Board Appeals BC Supreme Court Decision on By-Law Amendment regarding Cetaceans in Parks

Vancouver Park Board
News release
March 2, 2018
The Vancouver Park Board has filed an appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court (BCSC) ruling of February 9, 2018, in which the Court determined that a by-law restricting cetaceans in city parks is inapplicable to the Vancouver Aquarium’s operations in Stanley Park. 
The BCSC ruling by Justice Mayer was in response to the Aquarium’s application for judicial review of amendments to the Parks Control by-law, passed by the Board in May of 2017, restricting the importation and keeping of cetaceans in Vancouver parks. 
The Court held that the contract between the Board and the Aquarium restricted the Board’s authority to pass a by-law that applied to the Aquarium’s operations in Stanley Park. This holding could have far-ranging impacts on the Park Board’s legislative powers, which are granted to it under the Vancouver Charter. 
“We believe that the BC Supreme Court ruling of February 9th poses a real and substantial challenge to the legal power and authority of our elected Board,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Our Board has decided we must appeal this decision.” 
As outlined in a notice of appeal filed March 2, 2018, the Board will ask the B.C. Court of Appeal to overturn the order of the B.C. Supreme Court and affirm that the by-law restricting cetaceans in Vancouver parks applies to the Aquarium. 
The Park Board continues to support the care of the only cetacean remaining at Vancouver Aquarium, a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen. 
The  Board also continues to support the excellent work by Vancouver Aquarium staff and volunteers in the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre run at a facility outside of Stanley Park. 
The Park Board, along with applicable provincial and federal laws pertaining to cetaceans, permits and regulates Aquarium activities in Stanley Park. The Board has a long-term agreement with the 60-year-old Vancouver Aquarium to operate within Stanley Park. The current licence runs to 2029.
Stanley Park is owned by the Government of Canada and leased to the City as a park. City Council has designated Stanley Park as a permanent public park under the Vancouver Charter.The Park Board has exclusive jurisdiction and control over Stanley Park.
Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board
Twitter: @ParkBoard
Instagram: @VanParkBoard