25 April 2009

beer at the folkfest

The Vancouver Folk Festival approached the Park Board to approve the sale of beer and wine during the festival. They wanted a 750 seat public tent and a 250 seat tent behind the scenes for the artists and staff, for a total of 1000 seats. Alcohol has never been served at the festival. In fact Gary Crystal, one of the founders of the Folkfest, said on CBC radio that the festival deliberately did not sell alcohol as they didn't think it was conducive to the spirit of the event. Times and ideas change of course and the festival now believes it needs alcohol sales to help defray the costs of the event.

The motion came to the Board without public consultation. The Folk Festival organizers did not attend the meeting to make their case, rather relying on staff to put the recommendation forward. Staff explained that as the Folk Festival had been approved for a 500 seat tent last year, there was no need for public consultation this year.

I disagreed and put forward a motion to refer the matter to the Planning and Environment committee so that the public,especially the neighbours, could have input. I believe that the original permission, granted last year but not followed up on, was not relevant as this new permit was for double the original request. My referral motion was defeated 4-1 and subsequently the motion to approve the beer tents passed, again 4-1 with mine being the vote to disapprove.

I found it odd that the majority of the Board did not think that public input was necessary on this motion when it could have significant impact on the neighbourhood, yet the majority had previously voted to re-visit the Jericho wharf decision, even though there had been a public process on that.

07 April 2009

Wendy Ladner Beaudry

The death of Wendy Ladner Beaudry has touched many of us in the community. The following is a statement I made at the April 6th Park Board meeting:

"I imagine that everyone here tonight is aware of the tragedy that occurred in Pacific Spirit Park this past weekend. I am sure that everyone at this table joins me in expressing our great sorrow and extending our condolences to the Ladner-Beaudry family. The death of Wendy Ladner-Beaudry is a shock and a terrible loss to our community. Any untimely death is a tragic event but the circumstances of this one is particularly significant to those us who advocate for parks and public spaces. Our parks are safe places but we must always be vigilant and aware of our surroundings. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family."