30 April 2021

More than 180 people moved from Strathcona Park into accommodation by GM Order deadline

 April 30 2021

The encampment in Strathcona Park has come to a close with the vast majority of people who had been sleeping overnight in the park having moved into safe and secure accommodation.

The movement of people from the park follows a General Manager’s Order that was issued by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation on April 9. The order stated that all existing tents, temporary shelters and structures must be removed from Strathcona Park by 10 am today.

Over the past three weeks, BC Housing and the City of Vancouver have moved 184 people into accommodation, with many people moving into private rooms with their own washroom. A small number of tents and temporary shelters remain in the park, and we are continuing to work with the remaining people on other options. 

The entire eastside of the park will now be fenced off and staff from the City and Park Board will clean and remediate the park. The west side of the park remains open for public use. The warming tent and hygiene facilities that were installed in the park in January will be shut down today and removed in the coming days.

In March, the Park Board and the City signed a memorandum of understanding with the Province formalizing the joint commitment to take a coordinated approach in supporting unsheltered residents. As part of this commitment, the Province will continue to provide indoor options for unsheltered residents and Park Board staff will be monitoring parks across Vancouver to prevent the creation of new encampments.

28 April 2021

Parks Board creating meadows in parks and boulevards throughout city

 April 27 2021 

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is piloting 37 hectares of naturalized and wildflower meadows in parks, golf courses, and boulevards throughout Vancouver this year.

The move is part of the Board approved VanPlay Parks and Recreation Services Master Plan which calls for more naturally managed landscapes in parks. This work is additionally supported by the March 10, 2021 Board motion directing staff to establish incremental targets to defer or alter mowing regimes on appropriate turf surfaces.

Meadow locations

Naturalized and wildflower meadows will be created at 18 parks, including Memorial West, China Creek North, East, Falaise, Killarney, Memorial South, Oak Meadows, Queen Elizabeth, and West Memorial Park, as well as Fraserview, Langara, and McCleery golf courses, and boulevards throughout the city.

Signs will be posted at the meadows to make people aware of the initiative and to encourage exploration via pathways and perimeter trails. 

Benefits of meadows

Creating meadows in urban settings for the provision of native or naturalised grasses, wildflowers and flowering plants will attract beneficial insects, butterflies, bees, and birds. In addition, wildflowers add a changing palate of colour to the urban environment throughout the seasons.

Other benefits include improving soil microbes conditions for trees and creating landscapes that are more resilient to changing climate, as well as lower carbon dioxide emissions due to reduced mowing.

Anyone can get involved in supporting pollinators. Get details on how to get involved and a list of plants that pollinators love are available.

Mitigating the impacts of climate change

The Park Board is committed to increasing urban livability, restoring ecological function, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. With climate change as one of the biggest current global challenges, increasing the number of meadows will directly support the City’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, as well as the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

Increasing the number of meadows in Vancouver also supports the:

Bird Strategy

Urban Forest Strategy

Biodiversity Strategy

VanPlay

Green Operations 

Staff will report back to the Park Board with a summary of data, outcomes, and observations from the meadows’ pilot.


Quotes

Park Board Commissioner Dave Demers

“A recent report provides evidence that intense lawn management practices are responsible for increasing pests and diminishing abundance and diversity of invertebrates and flora, which provide critical nesting habitat and food sources for birds,” said Commissioner Dave Demers, who introduced the motion.


Paula Cruise, Hives for Humanity Garden Manager

“As urban beekeeping increases in popularity, it is critical for bee health to ensure that there is adequate forage within our city. The decision by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to increase meadows will add greatly to both the abundance and diversity of flowers that provide pollen and nectar for all bees, including our native bees that often have unique forage relationships with particular plant species. The proximity of flower meadows to the city will also connect the urban population with nature, enhancing our understanding of bee conservation and the actions we can all take to provide forage and habitat for pollinators,” said Paula Cruise, Hives for Humanity Garden Manager.


original posting here

23 April 2021

City Council ratifies collective agreement with CUPE Local 1004

 April 20 2021 

Vancouver City Council has ratified the terms of a new collective agreement covering outside workers represented by CUPE Local 1004. Union members voted to accept the settlement last week. 

 The new collective agreement covers 1,650 employees who perform outside labour and trades work in Engineering Services, Vancouver Park Board, and Mountain View Cemetery. The term is three years, beginning January 1, 2020 and expiring December 31, 2022.  

Impacts from COVID-19

Bargaining for this renewal began in September of 2019 and was suspended for a significant period of time while the City focused on its COVID-19 response and adapting to the financial impacts of the pandemic. Measures implemented by the City included an unpaid furlough program for all non-union staff and the temporary layoff of nearly 1,700 unionized employees across the City, the Park Board, and at the Vancouver Public Library.

Wage increases over three years

The settlement provides for wage increases totalling six per cent over the three years of the contract (2% on October 1, 2020; 2% on January 1, 2021; 2% on January 1, 2022).

“This was a long, complicated round of bargaining,” said Paul Mochrie, City Manager. “The pandemic fundamentally altered the financial position of the City and we needed to understand that impact, account for it, and work with CUPE 1004 to find an outcome that would be mutually acceptable.”

Bargaining continues with unions representing the balance of the City’s workforce, including inside workers and firefighters.


Original post here

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.