Vancouver’s natural beauty is worth protecting. Our children not only need places to play, but also places to enjoy and explore nature. We all need places of tranquil refuge from our busy lives. The animals and birds that help make our city lives enjoyable need places to nest and raise their young.
People and nature in balance is my vision for our parks and recreation system.
Vancouver Park Board is looking to formally apologize to Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations for “core acts of colonialism”
including dispossession and theft of ancestral lands in traditional
Coast Salish territories including Vancouver beach areas and the area
that came to be known as Stanley Park in the years after the park board
was formed in 1888.
Vancouver Park Board is looking to formally apologize to Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations for “core acts of
Board chair Stuart Mackinnon recommended making the formal apology
Monday night as commissioners approved a colonial audit of the board’s
history and actions, including dispossession and theft of ancestral
lands in traditional Coast Salish territories including Vancouver beach
areas and the area that came to be known as Stanley Park in the years
after the park board was formed in 1888.
“The occupation of unceded territories has produced the
uncomfortable question of what it means for the park board to hold
jurisdiction over the federally and internationally recognized
territories of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples,” Mackinnon
“To move forward we must come from a position of truth and humility
and acknowledge that our colonial past requires us to take
responsibility,” he added. “This responsibility means we must be willing
to admit fault and seek an opportunity to formally apologize to the
local First Nations.”
Commissioners approved the colonial audit and directed staff to
undertake a more comprehensive audit for a deeper analysis of all areas
of colonial impact, fully documenting long-term practices, impacts and
the ways in which colonialism is woven into the day-to-day operations of
the park board.
The park board started its reconciliation work at a meeting in 2015
between the commissioners and the three First Nations, marking the first
time the board officially acknowledged the Musqueam, Squamish and
Tsleil-Waututh peoples are rights holders and launching a joint process
to develop a long-term plan for Stanley Park.
Truth telling is the first step towards reconciliation, says park board chair
Clare Hennig · CBC News · Posted: Jul 24, 2018
area that is now called Stanley Park was federal territory, given to
Vancouver on a 100-year lease that was recently renewed but never ceded
by the First Nations who lived there. (David Horemans/CBC)
The Vancouver Park Board is focusing on its own role in
colonialism, having voted Monday night to proceed with an unprecedented
audit scrutinizing past actions stretching back to 1888.
The approval of the audit follows 11 reconciliation recommendations the park board adopted in 2016.
"The first step towards reconciliation is truth telling," said board chair Stuart Mackinnon.
"We have to look at our past practices to understand how we've got to where we are."
includes past actions like the dispossession of people and the theft of
traditional territories, such as the area now called Stanley Park,
disturbance of archeological sites and discounting local Indigenous
also recommended a formal apology to the Musqueam, Squamish and
Tsleil-Waututh First Nations as part of the colonial audit.
has been no recognition that people have lived in that area for
thousands of years," he told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC's The Early Edition.
"We have to recognize that with that colonial history, there have been some costs."
in 1889 or 1890, this photo shows a man in a canoe paddling past Siwash
Rock. The Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously to work with First
Nations to rename Siwash Rock last year. (City of Vancouver Archives)
Names that 'negate the very essence'
One way of recognizing the people who were in the area first has to do with the names of locations, as one example.
idea that a place they have been for millennia is called Spanish Banks —
named after some folks who came in here a couple hundred years ago,
looked around and left — it negates the very essence of the people who
have always been here," Mackinnon said.
In Monday's meeting, he
also submitted a motion on notice for September to work with First
Nations in Vancouver on acknowledging and accepting place names.
“We continue to look for ways to help people stay cool during this spell
of heat and we hope that people will take advantage of the extended
operating hours at pools and water parks,” said Park Board Chair Stuart
The Vancouver Park Board is offering more ways for residents and visitors to cool off during this heat wave.
Second Beach, New Brighton, Maple Grove, and Hillcrest outdoor pools
will open an hour earlier at 9am. Kitsilano Pool already opens at 7am.
Extended hours at all spray parks and outdoor pools
Hours of operation at 14 water parks
will be extended from 9am to 10pm. Staff are currently in the process
of adjusting timers at each water park and the new hours should be in
effect by the end of the day today. Normally the water parks operate
daily from 10am to 8pm.
Last year, all water parks were modified to push button to conserve
water. Each push of the button provides a five-minute cool down.
Park Board staff will review the hours of operation at pools and water parks when this heat wave has ended.
“We continue to look for ways to help people stay cool during this
spell of intense heat and we hope that residents and visitors will be
able to take advantage of the extended operating hours at pools and
water parks,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.
“We’ve also installed misting stations at four parks—And Livingston,
Emery Barnes, Oppenheimer, and Thornton—and activated cooling centres at
Britannia, Hillcrest, Kerrisdale, Mount Pleasant, Ray-Cam, Roundhouse,
and West End community centres.”
In an effort to ensure that pools and life-guarded beaches are
accessible to everyone, the Park Board has purchased 10 water
wheelchairs. They are available on a first come first served basis at no
charge at beaches and pools across Vancouver. Book a water wheelchairs can be booked in advance.
Beach mats or Mobi-Mats have also been installed at Kits Beach and
English Bay for people with walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters.
Park Rangers are increasing patrols and looking out for people
showing signs of heat-related illness, as well as distributing maps with
cooling centre locations.
And dogs need to stay cool, too. The following off-leash parks have access to water, but hours vary:
New Brighton Park
Crab Park at Portside
John Hendry Dog Park
Cooling centres, more water fountains, and misting stations
The City of Vancouver is also taking additional measures to help
people stay cool in the heat, including installing additional temporary
water fountains, activating community centres and libraries as cooling
centres, and providing increased support to vulnerable residents in
non-market housing and the Downtown Eastside.
The Vancouver Park Board has approved an unprecedented audit outlining
its own colonial history and actions and will seek an opportunity to formally
apologize to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations for “core
acts of colonialism”.
These actions include dispossession and theft of ancestral lands in
traditional Coast Salish territories, including Vancouver beach areas and what
came to be known as ‘Stanley Park’ in the years after the Park Board was formed
The recommendation for an apology was introduced by Board Chair Stuart
Mackinnon, as part of a colonial audit of the
Board’s own history and actions. The audit outlined the Board’s colonial
roots and the ways in which colonialism has been embedded in the structure and
policies of the only elected Park Board in a Canadian city.
“The occupation of unceded territories has produced the uncomfortable
question of what it means for the Park Board to hold jurisdiction over the
federally and internationally recognized traditional territories of Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples,” said Chair Mackinnon.
“To move forward we must come from a position of truth and humility and
acknowledge that our colonial past requires us to take
responsibility. This responsibility means we must be willing to admit
fault and seek an opportunity to formally apologize to the local First
In approving the audit and recommending an apology, the Park Board
acknowledged its own colonial history and responsibility in acts of
dispossession, theft of lands and removal of entire First Nations communities
from their traditional territories with the declaration of jurisdiction over
‘Stanley Park’ and Vancouver beach areas where local First Nations lived
for millennia before settlers arrived.
The report cites the widespread disturbance of significant
archaeological sites by the Park Board and the erasure of Musqueam, Squamish
and Tsleil-Waututh history and presence in areas currently under Board
jurisdiction. It also states that—throughout the history of Park Board
decision-making—local indigenous knowledge of the land has been overlooked and
The Board also directed staff to undertake a more comprehensive colonial
audit for a deeper analysis of all areas of colonial impact. This audit would
contribute to the truth-telling phase of Truth and Reconciliation and lead to actions
to embed a decolonized perspective into Park Board policies and practices.
The comprehensive colonial audit approved by the Board on Monday, July
23, 2018 will more fully document long-term practices, impacts and the ways in
which colonialism is woven into the Park Board from strategic levels to
day-to-day operations. Next steps and meaningful actions will only be
possible once a more complete audit has been completed.
The recommended apology and colonial audit are extensions of the
reconciliation work begun in the early days of this Park Board’s tenure at a
historic meeting in 2015 between the three First Nations and the elected
Board. At that meeting, they launched a joint process to develop a
long-term comprehensive plan for Stanley Park. This marked the first time the
Board officially acknowledged the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples
as rights holders.
In January of 2016, the Park Board approved 11 reconciliation strategies,
setting a framework for initiatives across the organization including:
language and culture
professional development and training for public servants
education for reconciliation
Also in 2016, the Park Board worked with the Nations to hire the first
municipal archeologist in Canada, Geordie Howe, to work exclusively on
indigenous issues. His responsibilities include a review of current
archeological practices to ensure that aboriginal protocols are respected in
all park developments.
In late 2017, the Park Board approved a reconciliation planner position
to support an ambitious agenda. The planner, Rena Soutar, works with colleagues
at the Park Board and City to advance mutual goals and create lasting
relationships between municipal governments and indigenous communities.
The reconciliation planner also works with park research, planning and
development teams on significant projects such as park naming and review of
monuments, memorials and public art processes and policies to ensure
integration of Indigenous history, heritage values and memory practices.
The comprehensive colonial audit approved by the Park Board on Monday
will be conducted over the next year by staff in collaboration with First
Nations intergovernmental partners. It will come back to the elected Park
Board for further review sometime in the next two years.
A new capital plan for the next three years has been approved by the Vancouver Park Board.
Chair Stuart Mackinnon said it was a unanimous vote to invest more than
$399 million for parks, open space, recreational facilities and service
“Key features of this capital plan are renewal of our infrastructure
and expansion of parks. I think that the people of Vancouver will be
pleased with what they see and we’re hoping that in October, when the
civic election occurs, when people vote for mayor, council and park
board, they’ll also support the capital plan.”
“Well this means
that a lot of our aging infrastructure can be looked at and improved, it
means a new community centre for Marpole with an addition, perhaps, of
an outdoor pool, it means expansion we hope of park land and public
spaces along the Fraser River and it means renewal of a lot of our aging
The 2019 – 2022 capital plan is three times the $91.25
million dollars that was allocated in recent years because the board
says the city is entering a new era of development in anticipation of
more people moving to Vancouver.
VANCOUVER—Vancouver has exceeded its local food target two years earlier than expected.
city created more than 5,000 food projects, which include community
gardens, kitchens, composting facilities, farmers markets, community
orchards and urban farms as part of the Greenest City Action Plan developed in 2011.
plan “guides the City’s actions in achieving zero carbon emissions,
zero waste and healthy ecosystems,” and is complemented by the Vancouver
Food Strategy which works to support sustainable systems, according to a
Both strategies attempt to make Vancouver a global leader in creating a resilient food system.
local food movement is booming,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s
never been more popular for residents to grow their own food, buy local
and support local food programs.”
2007, the GCAP has seen a 20 per cent decrease in ecological footprint,
36 per cent decrease distance driven per person, and a 43 per cent
decrease in carbon pollution intensity from new buildings. In addition,
there were 106,000 new trees planted since 2010, Robertson said.
Robertson said that he hopes the next council will continue the goals of each strategy.
Vancouver’s growing movement of urban farmers have been calling for
reductions in red-tape and access to affordable land for several years,
according to previous StarMetro reports.
seen a massive increase in the amount of land the city has made
available and we are looking for more opportunities to do that,”
Robertson said. “There is private land opportunities as well.”
noted that there are many urban farming organizations and networks that
are helping connect people to establish more farms.
seeing an unprecedented amount of growth,” he explained. “Certainly if
there are barriers and red tape slowing down that process, we will look
With land pressures so “intense”, protecting the Agricultural Land Reserve should also be a priority, he added.
The province has some of the best soil in the world, he explained.
the Local Food Action Plan adopted in 2013, the Vancouver Park Board
helped initiate a range of urban agriculture projects at parks and
community centres across the city, the release stated.
will undergo a review and update in 2019 to incorporate “new
directions,” such as equity and reconciliation, the release read. On
Thursday evening, the Park Board will review a draft of the 2019-2022
Capital Plan which includes a proposed $400,000 for community gardens
and other local food projects.
“The fruits of our labour are
evident all over Vancouver,” said Park board chair Stuart Mackinnon, who
thanked all of the “green thumbs” and a strong partnership with Little
Mountain Riley Park Neighborhood Food Network.
network is one of 13 neighborhood food networks committed to promoting
food security by supporting equity and access, education, skill building
and advocacy, particularly for community members who are struggling
economically, the news release stated.
There is an incredible
value to an integrated approach, which brings intergenerational and
cultural initiatives in communities to access healthy food choices, said
Roy Millen, the board president.
Education and raising food literacy is key, Millen added.
On July 25, a report will be presented to council on successes and lessons of the Greenest City Action Plan.
Melanie Green is a Vancouver-based reporter covering food culture and policy. Follow her on Twitter: @mdgmedia
Other Vancouver Greens endorsed by the VDL include Janet Fraser and Estrellita Gonzalez for School Board, and Adriane Carr and Pete Fry for City Council.
The VDLC represents 60,000 workers from over 100 affiliated unions in our community. Labour council members work at food stores, on the docks, in public services, construction and much more. As a teacher represented by the Vancouver Secondary Teachers Association (VSTA) I am a member of the VDLC.
Elections will be held in Vancouver for Mayor (1), City Councillor (10), School Board Trustee (9) and Park Board Commissioner (7) on Saturday, 20 October 2018.
Be sure to visit my website for more about my campaign.
“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.
“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.
“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
A rare, exotic tropical plant known for its putrid bouquet is set to
bloom under the dome at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth
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
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
“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
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.