05 October 2011

A letter from Ann Phelps, General Manager, Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Dear Paddlers and Supporters,

On October 6th, at 2 pm, Vancouver City Staff will present the newest Northeast False Creek planning recommendations to Council for approval. The report includes a list of community amenities contributions (CAC’s) that developers might fund in return for profitable changes in zoning. The Dragon Boat Society has long been lobbying to have the city include a boathouse as a bona fide CAC on this last piece of undeveloped waterfront land on False Creek. Unfortunately, though the report pays lip service to paddling with support for a future home for paddling, the boathouse has been left off the CAC list once again. The appearance of support is meaningless if it’s not backed up with action. A boathouse must be put on the list of approved CAC’s if we want it to be built. It’s that simple. We have support from a developer but they aren’t going to do it all for free. The estimated cost of a boathouse is $5 million dollars.

We are worried that this last piece of land will be developed without a boat house because of conflicting interests. If you’d like to read the whole report, cut and paste this link: http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20111006/documents/penv1.pdf

So, what can you do? You have lots of options.

1. Write a letter to City of Vancouver Mayor and Council telling them you support a permanent home for paddling and rowing in Vancouver and encourage them to put a community boathouse on the list of CAC’s.
You can email your letter to mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca. I’ve listed some points you can use to customize your letter below.

2. Speak on October 6th at 2 pm.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to speak for a long time and anyone of any age can speak. You can even speak as a team. Just get up and tell them who you are and why you think a boat house and permanent home for paddling and rowing is important. You can register to speak by emailing pat.boomhower@vancouver.ca .

Please send this to as many people as you can. Hope to see you on Thursday.

Ann Phelps
General Manager
Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Points you might like to put in your letter:

Dragon Boat Festival is a legacy of Expo ‘86.
Council must back up their support of dragon boat and other paddling sports by making a community boathouse a bona fide CAC (Community Amenity Contribution)
There are approximately 8500 dragon boat paddlers using False Creek.
A boathouse will be a lasting legacy for Vancouverites for years to come
The Northeast corner of False Creek is the last piece of undeveloped waterfront land. Once it’s gone, the city loses the opportunity to have a boathouse in False Creek.
If a permanent home is not found soon, paddlers will be forced to go to other nearby cities, or stop paddling.
Vancouver is a maritime city yet offers its citizens very few opportunities to be on the water.
Paddling is part of a healthy active life and can be enjoyed at any age.
The Dragon Boat Society receives less than 3% of it’s revenues from government sources.
Regardless of physical and mental ability, anyone can be a paddler.
Teams from Vancouver compete on the world stage, winning world championships.
Paddling is the ultimate in green sports, with almost no negative impact on the environment.
The Dragon Boat Society introduces 3500 children to dragon boating every season.
The Dragon Boat Society sponsors many teams with free or low cost paddling programs.
Every year approximately 1500 tourists spend an estimated $1,042,500 in Vancouver because of the dragon boat races
The economic impact of the Dragon Boat Festival and Dragon Zone activities is just under $4 million dollars.

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