14 April 2021

Vancouver Park Board General Manager issues new order restricting tents in Strathcona Park

 April 9 2021 – Today, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation issued a new General Manager’s Order stating that all existing tents, temporary shelters, and structures must be removed from Strathcona Park by 10am on Friday, April 30, 2021.

On February 10, 2021, a General Manager’s Order was issued which restricted setting up temporary shelters on the west side of Strathcona Park. That order was extended to the northeast corner of the park on March 30.

The General Manager Order falls under the authority granted through the Parks Control By-law, and is a necessary next step to close the encampment in the park and return the park to community use.

Supporting residents experiencing homelessness

The City of Vancouver and BC Housing continue to take collective action to move everyone who is sleeping overnight in the park into warm, safe accommodation. In the coming weeks, new locations across Vancouver will be activated, opens in new tab to support people who are experiencing homelessness both in the park and across the city.

The aim is to resume normal park operations, including recreational activities and other community programs, as quickly as possible. Once people have moved from the park into accommodation, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation staff will erect a fence barrier to temporarily close off the area, assess the condition of the park, and develop a remediation plan.

07 April 2021

Green Party of Vancouver welcomes Memorandum of Understanding regarding Strathcona encampment

 MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

7 April 2021

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Green Party of Vancouver welcomes the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Park Board, city, and province to secure accommodation for people currently living in and around Strathcona Park by April 30, 2021. As part of the MOU, the Park Board will lead on managing Strathcona Park as the encampment is dismantled, in coordination with partners.

A year and a half ago then-Chair Stuart Mackinnon, speaking on behalf of the majority of the Park Board, asked for a coordinated effort to end homelessness in Vancouver. “Seeking a multi-jurisdictional approach is the only way to address this issue,” said Commissioner Mackinnon. “We are pleased to see that this approach has been adopted and has resulted in new solutions. It is this kind of cooperation between province, city, and Park Board that begins to seek a better way ahead. We understand the tremendous toll has had on the neighbourhood. We heard you and continued to work toward a positive outcome for everyone involved. We look forward to working with everyone in restoring and improving Strathcona park for all.”

Current Park Board Chair Camil Dumont celebrated the announcement, recognizing the need for all levels of government to take responsibility for the systemic failures that have led to encampments. “We are in the middle of multiple crises -- mental health, housing, drug poisoning and COVID-19. The easy road would have been to displace these people, as previous levels of government have, to continue the cycle of band-aid solutions, or no solutions, as opposed to addressing the systemic issues that have led us to this situation. We decided at the Park Board that we would hold our ground and seek greater action, progress and true resolutions in partnership with the city and the province. I’m hopeful we are in a new place with this now.”

Councillor Pete Fry, who lives near the park, also welcomed the announcement. “This is a historic three-way memorandum of understanding with the province, Park Board, and city to ensure strategies to shelter folk who need it, mitigate homelessness, and prevent future encampments.”

“My Green colleagues in particular know and appreciate how difficult this has been for the neighbourhood, but they also recognized that a legal enforcement order wouldn't have been possible absent housing, and clearing a large tent city needs to be done thoughtfully and purposefully,” continued Fry.

-30-

Media contact

Anthony Hughes, Chairperson

(778) 829-4403 | anthony.hughes@vangreens.ca 

Background

Agreement signed to end encampments in Vancouver


03 February 2021

Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation supports community groups with funding for projects that will creatively enhance parks

 January 28 2021 

 Eleven new projects that creatively enhance parks and build community connections have received funding from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

The funding comes from the Neighbourhood Matching Fund (NMF), which supports neighbourhood-based groups that want to creatively enhance parks or other public lands through community art, environmental stewardship, or garden projects. The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation provides up to $10,000 to match volunteer time and donated contributions from the community. Applications for NMF, which was launched in 1994, are accepted in the spring and fall.  

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we revised our application guidelines to only support projects taking place in Vancouver parks or virtual projects that have a strong community focus,” said Camil Dumont, Park Board Chair.

“The NMF is crucial in these unprecedented times as it is very important for communities to be creatively and socially connected while staying at a safe physical distance.”

Recipients

The Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver was one of the recipients of the NMF. 

“The Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver is grateful for the opportunity to build connections between people and their neighbourhoods, even while our capacity has been decreased due to COVID-19,” said Executive Director Tasha Murray. 

“With Neighbourhood Matching Funds, we will offer a free seminar series in spring 2021 on how to observe and document local plants. Participants will be invited to submit their artwork for publication in a local plant guidebook available online for anyone to enjoy. 

11 projects that received NMF funding

The Overdose Prevention Society’s DTES Artist Collective, with the support of Atira Women’s Resource Society, will paint and weatherproof 10 picnic tables located in a park setting. A different artist in the Downtown Eastside will design and paint each table. 

Sound Sculptures supported by Vancouver New Music will explore and animate three public sculptures in parks, playing them as musical instruments while engaging the public with three performances in collaboration with two community dance groups and releasing a film documentary of the resulting work.

Vines Art Festival’s Sculptural Community Gathering Table & Zine Library will engage the community to design and build a sculptural gathering table with Black, Indigenous and People of Color artist leadership outside the Pandora Park Fieldhouse. The space outside the Pandora Park Fieldhouse will include a large working table, queer zine library and performance space.

EartHand Gleaners’ Weaving our Community SkillShed: Tending our Community FibreShed will focus on sedge area revitalization at Trillium Park North, increasing plant knowledge, widening skill holders circle and deepening our understanding of the local fibreshed.

Wildcoast Ecological Society’s Trout Lake Stewardship Project will continue stewardship activities with volunteers around Trout Lake including invasive species removal, education talks and native species planting.

Walking the Mycelial, supported by the Collingwood Neighbourhood House, is a series of community engaged arts activities inspired by ecology and fungal life, culminating in the production of a collection of self-guided mushroom walks for different parks in the Collingwood-Renfrew neighbourhood.

Community Art Plant Guidebook is an online workshop series presented by the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver that will inspire community members to observe and document local plants and contribute artwork for a local plant guidebook to produce a free, educational resource.

Cathedral Square Invasive Plant Removal will replace invasive ivy and blackberry in the northwest area of the Pollinator Meadow at Cathedral Square Park with ecologically appropriate Indigenous plants. Hives for Humanity will work alongside the community on plantings, and offer experiential workshops to build community engagement and to foster environmental and social awareness, inclusion, diversity and pride in this green space.

Strathcona Conversations, supported by the Strathcona Community Centre, is a regular (monthly or bi-monthly) exhibition and zine, produced through conversation, collaboration and cooperation amongst neighbours in the Strathcona community, exploring a chosen theme each issue.

Still Moon Arts’ Colour Me Local Dye Garden Accessibility Improvements will enhance the existing space on the west side of Renfrew Ravine by building a compost, an accessible raised garden box and art benches to improve their art and environment programming with the community. 

Public Art and Placemaking, supported by the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, will work with South Vancouver community members to highlight their community and its unique stories and histories and distinguish its narrative through visual, accessible, and geographically central artwork in local parks created by artists that live in the neighborhood. 

see original post HERE

23 January 2021

Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation launches coyote education campaign

 January 22 2021 

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is launching a public education campaign to educate the public about co-existing with coyotes as coyotes continue to chase and nip at joggers and cyclists around Brockton Oval and Hollow Tree near Prospect Point in Stanley Park. 

Two more people were chased by coyotes last night. One of them was bitten and sought medical aid as a precaution. About 13 people have now been chased by coyotes. 

The Stanley Park Ecology Society and BC Conservation Officer Service began receiving reports of coyotes chasing people about three weeks ago. Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Rangers shut down trails this week for a second time after more reports of coyotes approaching or nipping people. Unfortunately, people are removing the barriers or walking around them and continuing on the trails. 

Co-existing with coyotes

The campaign begins today. A ranger will be at a booth near Lumberman’s Arch with educational material such as a Co-existing with Coyotes pamphlet from the Stanley Park Ecology Society. Rangers will in in Stanley Park over the next two weeks to continue educating the public. 

Information signs regarding co-existing with wildlife have been installed throughout Stanley Park and hazard signs have been installed where trails have been closed near Brockton Oval and the Hollow Tree.

The BC Conservation Service Officers are back in Stanley Park working to capture the coyote involved in the latest incidents. 

About a dozen coyotes live in Stanley Park. They are naturally scared of people, but can become bold and aggressive if fed. If confronted by a coyote, people are asked to stay calm and not run as coyotes instinctively chase anything that runs away. Stand tall, keep arms overhead and yell ‘go away.’ Scaring coyotes helps modify their behaviour and restore a healthy boundary between them and people. 

People are advised not to feed coyotes or any other wildlife. Wildlife feeding is a significant issue in our parks, which has impacts to wildlife health and behaviour. It breaks down our healthy boundary with wildlife and can lead to aggressive animal behaviour towards people. And, please, respect barriers rangers have installed in the park.

Reporting

Report any coyote sightings to 3-1-1. In cases of aggressive coyote behaviour, call the BC Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277 and 3-1-1.

Help us track coyotes in Stanley Park and the Lower Mainland by reporting to them to Co-Existing with Coyotes.

19 January 2021

Time to play as new playgrounds open in six parks across Vancouver

 January 19 2021 

Pirate ships, tree houses, trampolines, hill slides, play kitchens, and spider web nets are keeping children entertained at six new playgrounds that recently opened across the city.

The Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre playground opens January 21 and features a custom treehouse around a sequoia tree and a netted tunnel that wraps around half the tree trunk, as well as an eagle carved by a local resident to keep children safe.

"Eagles for my people are considered protectors," said Don Wadhams, who spent a month carving it from yellow cedar. A Kwakwaka'wakw ceremony to unveil the eagle and wake it up will be held January 28.

Cedar Cottage, Charleson, Jones, Kaslo, and Pandora parks have also received new playgrounds. The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation renewed the six playgrounds after consulting with children, parents, and community stakeholders. The playgrounds range in size and type, and each has a variety of equipment that is bound to stretch and strengthen the motor skills of the children who enjoy them.

"Updating our playgrounds is an ongoing priority for the Park Board. Playgrounds are obviously really fun places where kids can spend time," said Camil Dumont, Park Board Chair.

"They also serve as a space where children develop social, cognitive, and emotional skills. The playgrounds at Ray-Cam and Charleson Park will help serve the students at the nearby preschool and elementary schools as well, which is really great."

Upcoming playground upgrades

There are currently 160 playgrounds in the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation's system, many of which are reaching the end of their lifespan. Playgrounds in Ash, Beaconsfield, Brewers, Champlain Heights, Granville, William Mackie, and Winona parks are also scheduled to receive upgrades and two preschool play areas are in the works at Trout Lake and Thunderbird community centres. These playground renewals are funded through the 2019 Capital Plan.

Working with the Kitsilano Community Centre Association and local residents, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation also renewed the spray park at Connaught Park, making it more engaging, accessible, and sustainable. It opened last summer.

24 December 2020

15 December 2020

Vancouver Park Board and City committed to ending encampment, providing indoor shelter, for those sleeping in Strathcona Park

 December 14 2020 

The Vancouver Park Board, City of Vancouver, and partners are committed to ending the encampment in Strathcona Park as soon as possible. All partners continue to work on long-term solutions, but in the meantime several short-term solutions are underway, including providing temporary indoor spaces.

Properties identified

We have identified several properties that can be deployed as temporary indoor spaces to support bringing people experiencing unsheltered homelessness inside. City-owned sites include Jericho Hostel and 2400 Motel as directed by Vancouver City Council, with the use of the Jericho Hostel also recently approved by the Park Board. We are also working with BC Housing to secure additional temporary shelter spaces.

Our staff are working to activate these facilities as soon as possible, including applying for operating funding from the Province, notifying the surrounding communities, planning and implementing renovations, and securing non-profit operators.

“The status quo at Strathcona Park is not OK. We need a resolution to the encampment. I believe we are on track to do that,” said Camil Dumont, Park Board Chair. “In order to get there, safer, dry, warm, indoor shelter for the many people currently stuck outdoors needs to be made available. Securing that option is a significant challenge. Thankfully, this work is under way. It’s a complex effort. I am very encouraged by the work of our partners which aims to ensure indoor space that is as dignified and as safe as possible is made available to the people taking refuge in Strathcona Park. That said, there is still much to do. We strive to ensure that Strathcona Park will again, soon, be a space that is welcoming and accessible to all. We also need to help ensure people are as safe as possible in the interim, in the park, and in the community at large.”

Once indoor spaces are available for people staying in Strathcona Park, the Park Board has authorized General Manager Donnie Rosa to enforce the Parks Control By-law. The revised by-law enacted by commissioners in September still allows overnight camping; however, tents must be removed by 8am each morning. However, the goal of all of the partners is to work together and with people experiencing homelessness in the park to support their voluntary transition indoors. 

Interim essential services

While work continues to bring the additional temporary spaces online, BC Housing and the City of Vancouver are working together to plan some interim essential services for people sleeping in Strathcona Park. 

“We and our partners want to ensure that people have a safe, warm place to sleep indoors,” said Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture and Community Services for the City of Vancouver. “This winter is particularly difficult. The combination of the pandemic and the falling temperatures is making a difficult situation even worse and we are in active discussions with the Province regarding funding to provide shelter and housing options as soon as we can. Of course, given we are in a pandemic, we will also engage with Vancouver Coastal Health to ensure we have appropriate protocols and procedures in place as we do this work.” 

Fire safety regulations

In addition, a ‘Fire Chief’s Order’ was issued on June 25, 2020, to outline fire safety regulations for those living in the park. Enforcement of the order, or any new order, will include the removal of propane tanks and flammable materials, as well as ensuring proper spacing of tents and structures to limit the risk of fire spread.

Funding for permanent housing

Separately, we have also applied for funding of up to $51.5 million to support creating permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness through the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative, and are anticipating a response in the near future.

City staff also continue to actively work to house people experiencing homelessness at the park while these indoor solutions are being organized, with the ultimate goal being decampment into permanent shelter options. These efforts are in addition to ongoing work to house people experiencing homelessness across the city.

17 October 2020

Green Party of Vancouver Statement on ‘Freedom Rally’ scheduled this weekend

Published Oct 17, 2020 10:26 AM

 VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Green Party of Vancouver stands in strong opposition to the dangerous and deceptive two-day ‘freedom rally’ scheduled for this weekend in Vancouver. While we unequivocally support the right to free speech and political protests, the rally and its organizers are promoting inaccurate, divisive, and harmful information which directly oppose Greens’ commitment to evidence-based policies and a healthy participatory democracy.

 The Party, backed by its full Caucus and Board, has signed on to the letter of concern put out by the Vancouver & District Labour Council (VDLC) and are supporting their effort to shed light on the growing movement of conspiracy theorists, hate-groups, and those spreading misinformation about Covid-19.

 “We at the Green Party have serious concerns regarding this event and others like it which have taken place over the past few months” said Anthony Hughes, Chair of the Green Party of Vancouver.

 “As Greens our founding values include Non-violence, Social Justice, and Respect for Diversity; as such we stand staunchly opposed to all forms of hate and bigotry, as well as any groups or individuals who put the public’s safety at risk with misinformation.

“We want to be clear that hate and untruths in any form go against our Green values and our code of conduct, and we will always stand up against anyone furthering hatred and misinformation.”

Green Party of Vancouver School Trustee Lois Chan-Pedley fears the impact it will have on students in Vancouver.

 “We have seen how divisive rhetoric and misinformation about Covid-19 in America has put the health and safety of students at risk,” said Chan-Pedley. “The consequences are long term and far-reaching. We have to combat this by making a united stand against this dangerous movement.”

 Stuart Mackinnon, Green Party Park Board Commissioner, is concerned about how quickly this movement and its message could spread.

 “In our role at Parks, we’ve seen a lot of untruths and falsehoods propagate since the pandemic began,” said Mackinnon.

 “The rhetoric we’ve seen coming from proponents and supporters of the rally has become increasingly hateful and deceitful; it puts people’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing at risk at a time when people are already struggling.”

 City Councillor Pete Fry stressed the importance of standing up to bigotry.

“None of us can afford to shirk away from these difficult conversations,” said Fry.

 “We need to stand firmly against hate, racism, and bigotry in all forms, shed light on untruths, and be clear about the dangerous divisive nature of these types of events and the kinds of rhetoric and anger they foster.”

 The Green Party of Vancouver will not be taking part in any in-person events opposing this rally in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Instead the Party is encouraging their supporters and the public to speak out against hatred and misinformation wherever and whenever they witness it.

 -30-

 More Information:

VDLC Letter of Concern

18 September 2020

Stanley Park to reopen seawall to cyclists and full vehicle access Sep 26

September 18 2020 

Stanley Park will reopen to full vehicle access and cyclists will return to the seawall on Saturday, September 26, after more than 5 months of modified access due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

The park was closed to all vehicle traffic on April 8, other than first responders and essential business partners, in response to the need for greater physical distancing in busy areas such as the seawall, and amid public requests for greater access to essential recreational space for cycling and walking during the early phase of the pandemic.

Park Drive reopened to one lane of vehicle traffic on June 22, following the province’s easing of restrictions and after businesses in the park began reopening. The seawall remained closed to cyclists to allow pedestrians greater space during the busy summer months when pedestrian and cyclist traffic in the park reached an all-time high.

Park temporarily closed starting 8pm, Sep 25

Removal of the temporary Traffic Management Plan (TMP) will begin at 8 pm on Friday, September 25 and will continue through the night. The park will be temporarily closed during that time, to ensure the safety of staff as they work to remove equipment, traffic cones, and signage to restore the park to pre-COVID traffic access.

700 m of Park Drive to remain closed

​​​​​​​


Two lanes of vehicle traffic will be accessible the following morning, with the exception of 700 m of Park Drive between Beach Avenue and Lagoon Drive, where current traffic patterns will remain in place to facilitate the City’s Making Streets for People program dedicating part of Beach Avenue to cyclists.

Full vehicle access to Stanley Park will be available at the causeway entrances and all parking will be fully reopened with the exception of the parking near Ceperley Meadows.

Once full vehicle access resumes and cyclists return to the seawall, pedestrians and cyclists will be reminded to be cognizant of physical distancing to ensure all users have the space they need to recreate safely. The Park Board will continue to monitor and collect data within Stanley Park.​​​​​​​

Survey on park access open until Sep 20

The Park Board is currently conducting a comprehensive public engagement survey External website, opens in new tab to understand how Vancouverites want to access the park in the future.

The survey, which is accessible to everyone, closes on Sunday, September 20 and has had more than 10,500 respondents to date.

Phased approach to reopening and recovery

The Park Board is taking a thoughtful and phased reopening and recovery approach in alignment with BC’s Restart Plan External website, opens in new tab, and in consultation with various government and non-government agencies and partners.

Since May, the Park Board has reopened golf courses, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Bloedel Conservatory, tennis and pickleball courts, pitch & putts, skate parks, synthetic sports fields, basketball and volleyball courts, disc golf, roller hockey, multisport courts, playgrounds, spray parks, outdoor pools, day camps, childcare services, 24 community centres, four indoor pools, and some fitness centres.

The Park Board continues to review the feasibility of reopening other facilities and services and will make adjustments to its operations based on the latest information provided by VCH, the Provincial Health Officer, and industry partners.

For more information about the status of services and facilities impacted by COVID-19, please visit: vancouver.ca/ParkBoardRestart


31 August 2020

Donnie Rosa to lead Vancouver Park Board as General Manager


Donnie Rosa, Vancouver Park Board General Manager


August 31 2020

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and City of Vancouver will welcome an experienced municipal leader to the role of General Manager, Parks and Recreation, when Donnie Rosa assumes the role on September 28, 2020.

Rosa brings a unique familiarity, strategic insight, and invaluable experience to the General Manager role, after previously spending three years on the senior leadership team at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in the role of Director of Recreation Services.

Rosa left the Vancouver Park Board in 2019 to lead the City of Coquitlam as General Manager of Parks, Recreation, and Culture. Prior to joining the Park Board in 2016, Rosa spent nine years as Director of Recreation, Culture, and Theatres at the City of Brampton and was the Manager of Parks and Recreation at the City of Mississauga from 1999-2007.

25 years experience in parks, recreation, and culture operations


Rosa brings more than 25 years of experience in parks, recreation, and culture operations, coupled with a degree in communications from Northeastern University. Additionally, Rosa has worked in mental health and homeless shelters, and has a breadth of experience working in community development, youth and seniors’ programming, and the delivery of parks, unique gardens, trails, and open spaces to contribute to community resiliency and climate action.

Rosa offers a leadership style that is focused on building strong teams with a foundation in meaningful relationships.

“It’s an honour to be chosen to lead the incredible team at the Park Board,” said Rosa. “I’m passionate about parks, recreation, community, seeking truth in reconciliation, as well as increasing access, equity, and taking action on climate issues. I feel my values align closely with those of the Park Board and City of Vancouver. We have challenging work ahead of us and I know we have the talent and commitment to find solutions, with community engagement as a cornerstone in our approach.”

Past successes with the Park Board


While serving as Director of Recreation Services at the Park Board, Rosa was a key member of the team that successfully negotiated the new community centre joint operating agreement. Rosa is a settler working and living on the unceded, ancestral territories of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Background in sport and volunteerism


Along with extensive municipal experience, Rosa has an impressive background in sport and volunteerism. Rosa played professional ice hockey, was inducted into multiple hockey halls of fame, and coached in the Team Canada program for the International Ice Hockey Federation. Rosa is a committed and active community volunteer, as well as a multi-award winning leader, and has received multiple Leadership Awards from the City of Vancouver. Rosa currently serves as a Director and President-elect of the BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) in addition to being a BC Director on the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA).

Rosa will replace Malcolm Bromley, who retired from the role at the end of May. Shauna Wilton, who had been Deputy General Manager at the Park Board, served as Interim General Manager for three months after Bromley’s retirement. Wilton is departing the Park Board and moving on from the Deputy General Manager role on September 4. Both the Park Board and City are extremely grateful to Wilton for her dedicated service and leadership over the past several years. 

see original post here.