31 December 2014

Silent Night

It seems strange to me that I haven't had much to blog about since the election on November 15. The new Board was inaugurated on the 1st of December and yet since then the Board has not met openly. A meeting was scheduled for the 7th of December but the new Chair John Coupar unilaterally cancelled it. Nothing to do perhaps? The first scheduled meeting for the new year is January 19th. At this point no agenda has been posted and so we don't know yet what the new priorities will be.

I know my priority is the a new Joint Operating Agreement with all the Community Centre Associations. I hope this is the priority of this new Board too. Community Centre Associations have been a partner with the Park Board for more than 50 years. This partnership has made Vancouver's Community Centres the envy of many jurisdictions. It is this partnership that has made our Centres relevant and necessary parts of our communities. The priorities of the local associations ensure that they reflect the values and needs of each community. What works in Strathcona or Sunset works because the associations reflect the needs and values of their neighbourhoods. A one-size fits all doesn't work in Vancouver because not every neighbourhood is the same. A set of core city-wide services must be a part of our system, but individual needs must be able to be met within each Centre.

Another priority of these first few months must be putting the Park Board in line with the waste management program that as of January 1st will be city-wide. This means that organic waste will be separated and composted. This is necessary for benefit of both the environment and the taxpayers who pay for waste disposal. The Park Board should be the leader in education on waste diversion with a leading zero-waste program. Since its inception, the Park Board has been the leader in green initiatives; it should be now too.

Planning for the future means planning for now as well. We must start planning not just for the next 4 years but for the next 4 seasons. Our parks and gardens have been neglected over the past 6 years and repairing them must be near the top of the list of priorities. Winter is the time for preparing our parks, gardens, and playing fields for the busy seasons of spring and summer. The priorities for our outside workers must be in preparing for the return of both passive and active park usage. Work now means better parks and recreation later.

As we head into a new year it is time we got down to work. Let's role up our sleeves and start on the long road to once again making better parks for Vancouver.