28 March 2018

Park Board will not implement seasonal pay parking at Spanish Banks beaches in 2018

After a thorough staff review the Park Board has decided it will not introduce seasonal pay parking at Spanish Banks this summer.

Staff have advised that for this year, the revenue from Spanish Banks parking is not required to balance the budget, so plans for the introduction of pay parking in four Spanish Banks lots are currently on hold.

In addition, Park Board Commissioners raised concerns at the time of approval about the lack of transit alternatives to this more remote beach location. Additional work is required with our transportation partners to find suitable options.

Access is a key priority

The Park Board will review operational and financial considerations next year and will carefully consider submissions from residents concerned about access and affordability to beaches with limited transit options for families and persons with low incomes.
While parking revenues help to reduce taxation revenue required by Park Board, access for all residents and visitors is also a key priority.

The plans - approved during the budgeting process last fall -  were to implement peak season pay parking at Spanish Banks this spring in order to align with all other destination parks and beaches in Vancouver.

Funding for parks and facilities 

More than 40% of the Park Board’s operating budget is funded by fees and charges. Pay parking at destination parks and beaches remains a critical source of Park Board revenue, providing funding for the maintenance, security, and cleanliness of all of our parks and facilities.

via: City of Vancouver website

26 March 2018

New Campaign Website

If you are interested in getting involved in my campaign for re-election to the Park Board, please visit the stuart4parks website. The first step is securing an endorsement from the Green Party of Vancouver. You can join the party which will enable you to vote at the nomination meeting in May, as well as sign my nomination papers, if you sign up before 13 April. If you want to help make better parks for Vancouver, please get in touch.

21 March 2018

99 reasons why balloons suck

Last fall when I introduced my motion to ban balloons from public parks, some people thought I was full of hot air. Well, here are 99 reasons why balloons are a danger to the planet.

A fisher scooping up downed balloons in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (Thanks to Anthony Beale for the photo share).

16 March 2018

Another run for Park Board

At the Green Party of Vancouver AGM on Sunday 11 March 2018 I stated my intention to seek another endorsement for Park Board Commissioner from the party. It has been a honour and a privilege to be an elected Green  representative on the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation twice: 2008-11 and 2014-18. I hope to receive the endorsement of the Green Party and to continue to serve my community as Park Commissioner for another term.

14 March 2018

Proposed Ray-Cam community centre renewal gets council approval

  / Vancouver Courier
March 14, 2018 11:34 AM

They were celebrating at Ray-Cam Co-operative Community Centre Wednesday morning as the push to upgrade the centre got a boost from city council, but now the real work begins.

Council adopted Green Coun. Adriane Carr’s motion to have staff review the proposed renewal so that it can be considered as part of the city’s 2019-2022 capital plan. That approval means the project will be included on the ballot this October.
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“There was a very big cheer in the lobby,” said coordinator Kate Hodgson. “That’s very exciting.”

"Today's resolution signals that the city is serious about this project — it's a real opportunity to meet some urgent housing objectives and invest in our community," said Strathcona resident and Ray-Cam board member Guy Wakeman. "We're very excited to move this forward and hipefully take advantage of some of the provincial funding opportunities we know are coming down the pipe."

Ray-Cam has been serving Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood for more than 40 years. Originally constructed in 1976, the community centre on the eastern edge of the Downtown Eastside has expanded over the years but it’s now bursting at the seams and starting to show its age.

Ray-Cam currently provides much-needed services for more than 6,000 members. Diapers, snacks and supplies are stacked against the walls in meeting rooms. The gym and weight-rooms leak, and an inadequate, and chronically broken furnace, means parts of the centre are freezing in the winter. There are only two public washrooms.
The centre exists under a unique partnership — the land is owned by the province and has been granted in perpetuity for the use and enjoyment of local residents. The centre is jointly operated by the Ray-Cam cooperative, the city and the park board.

"Ray-Cam is a caring and safe place that welcomes everyone," said park board chair Stuart Mackinnon, who is the centre's official commissioner liaision. "It is the community's rec room. I am very happy that city council feels that it is time for a renewal."

The movement to see a renewed Ray-Cam started in earnest in 2016. Hodgson said the vision includes a new community centre with more childcare spaces and more room for the increasing number of programs offered at the centre. Also at the top of the list is a residential component.

Residents involved in the community-visioned redevelopment have already secured in-principle support from B.C. Housing for the construction and financing of a residential component, pending a commitment of municipal funding for a new community centre.

Hodgson said a steering committee, which includes representatives from Ray-Cam, BC Housing, the city and the park board, will meet first thing Monday morning to get to work to make sure the proposal is ready for inclusion on the ballot.

“It’s really exciting and really needed,” she said. “We’re so ready for it.”


02 March 2018

Park Board Appeals BC Supreme Court Decision on By-Law Amendment regarding Cetaceans in Parks

Vancouver Park Board
News release
March 2, 2018
The Vancouver Park Board has filed an appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court (BCSC) ruling of February 9, 2018, in which the Court determined that a by-law restricting cetaceans in city parks is inapplicable to the Vancouver Aquarium’s operations in Stanley Park. 
The BCSC ruling by Justice Mayer was in response to the Aquarium’s application for judicial review of amendments to the Parks Control by-law, passed by the Board in May of 2017, restricting the importation and keeping of cetaceans in Vancouver parks. 
The Court held that the contract between the Board and the Aquarium restricted the Board’s authority to pass a by-law that applied to the Aquarium’s operations in Stanley Park. This holding could have far-ranging impacts on the Park Board’s legislative powers, which are granted to it under the Vancouver Charter. 
“We believe that the BC Supreme Court ruling of February 9th poses a real and substantial challenge to the legal power and authority of our elected Board,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Our Board has decided we must appeal this decision.” 
As outlined in a notice of appeal filed March 2, 2018, the Board will ask the B.C. Court of Appeal to overturn the order of the B.C. Supreme Court and affirm that the by-law restricting cetaceans in Vancouver parks applies to the Aquarium. 
The Park Board continues to support the care of the only cetacean remaining at Vancouver Aquarium, a Pacific white-sided dolphin named Helen. 
The  Board also continues to support the excellent work by Vancouver Aquarium staff and volunteers in the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre run at a facility outside of Stanley Park. 
The Park Board, along with applicable provincial and federal laws pertaining to cetaceans, permits and regulates Aquarium activities in Stanley Park. The Board has a long-term agreement with the 60-year-old Vancouver Aquarium to operate within Stanley Park. The current licence runs to 2029.
Stanley Park is owned by the Government of Canada and leased to the City as a park. City Council has designated Stanley Park as a permanent public park under the Vancouver Charter.The Park Board has exclusive jurisdiction and control over Stanley Park.
Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board
Twitter: @ParkBoard
Instagram: @VanParkBoard

01 March 2018

Nest big thing: new bird garden unveiled at VanDusen Botanical Garden

Vancouver Park Board
News Release
March 1, 2018
There’s a new destination for birds and birders in Vancouver!
Officially opened today at VanDusen Botanical Garden, the Backyard Bird Garden offers an enhanced habitat for resident and migratory birds.
“The Backyard Bird Garden demonstrates how anyone with a yard or balcony can create habitat for birds with the right selection of plants and shrubs to provide food, shelter and nesting habitat,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.
More than 85 bird species have been recorded at VanDusen Garden.
Sure to bring the birds flocking, colourful nectar-rich perennials such as anise hyssop will be a source of food for hummingbirds, goldfinches, and other small birds native to North America. Deciduous trees such as vine maple grow well in containers, and provide food and open branches for perching. Evergreen shrubs such as salal offer cover and a safe place to nest.
The new garden was a collaborative effort developed and funded in partnership with the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association, a charitable organization which jointly manages VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory with the Vancouver Park Board. 
An anonymous gift of $10,000 from a private donor was used towards constructing a child-sized birdhouse in the Backyard Bird Garden.
To celebrate the opening, up to two children get in free with each paid adult, senior or youth between March 1-29 at both VanDusen Botanical Garden and Bloedel Conservatory. 
Family friendly bird walks, talks and activities—free with admission—will be hosted on weekends in March at VanDusen.
At drop in workshops Saturdays from 10 am to 2:30 pm, children can join VBGA Education staff to investigate bird nests and predict which birds built them, explore the functions of feathers, and learn how to preen like a bird.
Any day of the week young birders can enjoy the Junior Birder Challenge while exploring the garden and receive a junior birder button upon completion.
A bird themed spring break camp “Citizen Science: The Birds in your Backyard” takes place Friday, March 23. More information at vandusengarden.org
The Backyard Bird Garden will be a highlight for visitors and their families during the Vancouver International Bird Festival and 27th International Ornithological Congress, both held in Vancouver August 19-26, 2018.
The Backyard Bird Garden supports the VancouverBird Strategy and ParkBoard’s Biodiversity Strategy.
Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board
Twitter: @ParkBoard
Instagram: @VanParkBoard