24 April 2018

Park Board statement on closure of Sunset Beach Park and field

Vancouver Park Board  
Information Bulletin
April 23, 2018
 
 
The Park Board will attempt to have Sunset Beach park and field open to the public in six weeks, by early June. This revised estimate of field impacts after the 4/20 marijuana event comes after a full inspection of the field by senior park operations staff this morning.  A forecast of hot and dry weather this week will greatly assist us in preparing the wet field for rehabilitation.
 
Park operations staff did a preliminary inspection in the immediate aftermath of the event and fenced the field to protect the damaged field from public use over the weekend.  Park Board and City staff worked together all night after 4/20 to clean event debris on the field, but there were still objects such as glass and discarded edibles on the field that posed a danger to the public. The fencing was installed on Saturday morning partially as a protective measure to ensure safety, particularly for children and dogs.
 
The fencing used to close the field was repurposed by Park Board as it was ordered before 4/20 as protection for new plant beds, young trees and vulnerable species such as eucalyptus and palms. The fencing was removed from these plantings and used to close the field on Saturday morning after the preliminary inspection.
 
The process to rehabilitate Sunset field involves the following steps:
 
  • Drying the field – requires a good long stretch of warm weather
  • Cleaning the field – ensuring debris such as cigarette butts, metals and glass are fully removed so machinery can operate
  • Aerating the field – Soils can become compacted through heavy use and thatch (a fibrous layer of dead grass stems, leaves and roots) can develop. Aeration, the process of puncturing the surface of the soil, mitigates this by allowing oxygen into the roots, carbon dioxide to escape and water and nutrients to more easily flow through the soil.  Aeration is necessary for healthy turf grass. 
  • Topdressing the field - This process involves spreading an organic mixture - usually sand, soil, clay or compost or a mixture of these materials - over the field. This helps even out the field, adding an extra element of safety for athletes. Topdressing is like a conditioner for athletic fields, giving turf a fuller feel and extra layer of protection.
  • Seeding and germination – waiting for the grass to grow enough so that public use does not damage the grass. With the right preparation, new turf will have shallow roots in about two weeks. This first stage of root growth is very sensitive and requires us to keep the public off the vulnerable young grass. In fact, all weight should be kept off the grass to allow for healthy, resilient turf with deep roots. This takes between 30-45 days in good conditions.
 
The Park Board understands that Sunset Beach Park is a much loved community asset, and provides vital recreation space for the dense downtown core.  We regret any closure, but must take steps to ensure the long term viability of this field which also experienced major impacts in 2017 during the same event.  Sunset Park field was closed for 10 weeks last spring after the 4/20 event.
 
The Park Board will tally all costs associated with the field restoration and other related expenses and will be billing organizers for these costs.  A full accounting of 4/20 costs will be released by the City and Park Board when all associated expenses are in.
 
Organizers did install about $30,000 worth of plastic turf protection around the main stage at this year’s event, which helped to mitigate the cumulative damage. 
 
The Park Board will continue to work with partners at the City to encourage organizers to find a more suitable, alternate location for the event in future years. 
 
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Media contact:
pb.communications@vancouver.ca
604-257-8699

19 April 2018

Park board takes next step in reconciliation

Commissioners take on mission to ‘decolonize the Vancouver Park Board’


In January 2016, the park board adopted 11 strategies in response to the 94 calls to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The strategies encompass a range of goals, including adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, staff training on Indigenous issues and reconciliation, and ensuring the integration of Aboriginal history, heritage values and memory practices in policies around monuments, memorial and public art.

This week, commissioners took things a step further and adopted a reconciliation mission, vision and values.

“We’re at a critical juncture for the future of reconciliation,” Rena Soutar, the board’s reconciliation planner, told commissioners. “The park board and institutions at all levels have done important work in recognizing the unique issues inherent in reconciling our relationship with the Aboriginal peoples of this land, but this work is only phase one.”

Soutar presented the mission, vision and values statement, saying that a “good compass” is needed to guide the work of reconciliation.

“We believe this journey will enrich us all and that articulating an inspirational vision with core values to support it helps us all paddle in the same direction.

She said the 11 strategies address a specific set of issues and provide tactics to implement in park board processes and projects, work that has already started and will continue, while adopting the mission, vision and values statement embeds the reconciliation principles.

The mission is to decolonize the Vancouver Park Board by recognizing “the institution’s colonial history” and upholding its commitment to the 11 reconciliation strategies.

“In my mind this does mark quite a significant shift in paradigm and attitude to reconciliation,” Soutar told the Courier, adding that it shifts the focus from improving relations with First Nations people to examining what made the relations problematic in the first place and figuring out how to fix those problems.

“I’m just really pleased with how well it was received,” she said of the statement, which was adopted unanimously. “I’m looking forward to this next piece of deciding with my colleagues and whoever else is buying into this mission, vision and values on what that means for us.”

The vision is for the park board to be “an evolvable organization in which every employee and commissioner recognizes the humanity in themselves by recognizing and respecting the humanity of First Peoples” and one that sets an example in treating reconciliation as a process of decolonization.
And the values include clarity, pragmatism, leadership, learning and patience.

“We’ve heard something from our staff partners at Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, and that’s that important things take time,” Soutar said. “And it’s not just that we need to be patient because important things take time, it’s that they actually need that time to take root.”

Board chair and Green Party commissioner, Stuart Mackinnon said that reconciliation isn’t just up to a few individuals.

“It doesn’t fall on two or three employees, it falls on all of the staff, all of the commissioners and in fact all of the residents of our city to move forward with this.”

Fellow Green commissioner Michael Wiebe echoed his sentiments and praised staff for a making a strong statement in the mission to decolonize the park board.

“I think sometimes we tip toe around a subject that we’re all involved in and I think they’ve done a great job here of not doing that and making sure that we’re pushing the boundaries.”

Mackinnon also introduced a reconciliation motion of his own, which was carried unanimously, directing staff to analyze the park board’s colonial roots and current practices, asking for a report back that includes “recommendations to acknowledge any and all injustices uncovered as part of the ‘truth-telling’ phase.”

“It’s time that the park board told those truths,” Mackinnon said. “It’s from those truths that healing can begin.”

@JessicaEKerr
jkerr@vancourier.com

(c) 2018 Courier.com

17 April 2018

Reconciliation and truth-telling—acknowledging our colonial past

14 April 2018

Vancouver Park Board announces major Seawall upgrades

Areas affected include near English Bay, Sunset and Second beaches, Brockton Point

/ Vancouver Courier
April 12, 2018 


One of Vancouver’s crown jewels is getting some love.

The Stanley Park seawall is in the midst of the largest restoration effort in its 101-year history and crews have already begun work near English Bay.

The $4.5 million upgrade is being done in two phases. The work includes filling holes, stone replacement, stabilizing of foundations and installation of rocks to protect against water erosion at priority locations between Brockton Point and Sunset Beach Park, just outside of Stanley Park.

 “The seawall is subject to seasonal battering, as well as large storms, which damage the structure and necessitated the restoration work,” park board chair Stuart Mackinnon said in a news release. “The restoration will allow local residents and visitors to continue to enjoy recreational activities for many more years on the seawall.”

The first set of upgrades are slated for completion in August, and a 100-metre section of the seawall will be temporarily merged, requiring cyclists to dismount.

The second phase needs park board approval first and is expected to begin shortly after the initial work is completed, according to the news release.

A pair of vulnerable portions of the seawall — at Sunset Beach between Inukshuk and Broughton Street and English Bay between Park Lane and Second Beach — were replaced with reinforced concrete retaining walls in 2010 and 2011.

Independent assessments of the seawall in 2013 and 2016 identified the location, type and degree of damage along the seawall, and provided recommendations on high priority areas for repairs.

“The repairs will increase the resiliency of the seawall against more aggressive storms brought on by climate change,” the news release states.

(c) 2018 Vancouver Courier

12 April 2018

Truth and Reconciliation with the Park Board’s Colonial Roots

I will be presenting the following motion at Monday's meeting of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation:

MOTION ON NOTICE

Truth and Reconciliation with the Park Board’s Colonial Roots

MOVER: Commissioner Mackinnon

WHEREAS:

1. The City of Vancouver is designated a City of Reconciliation;

2. In January 2016, the Vancouver Park Board approved eleven (11) strategies in response to the TRC’s Calls to Action, including the recommendation to adopt the “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” as a framework for Park Board’s Reconciliation initiatives;
3. One of the concerns identified in the UN’s Declaration is:

… that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests;

4. From June through November of 2016, Park Board staff conducted a series of consultations with Indigenous cultural leaders, artists, and Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation members; input received in those sessions indicated that we are at the “truth-telling” phase of Truth and Reconciliation, and that true Reconciliation can only follow a truth-telling phase;

5. The Park Board’s own history is part of the truth of the devastating colonial impact on local First Nations.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT in support of the Vancouver Park Board’s Truth and Reconciliation initiatives, staff undertake an analysis of the Park Board’s colonial roots, as well as current practices, and report back with their findings and recommendations to acknowledge any and all injustices uncovered as part of the “truth-telling” phase.

05 April 2018

Park Board will create city-wide advisory committee to revisit VanSplash Aquatics Strategy


Vancouver Park Board  
News Release
April 5, 2018
 
 
The Park Board will invite an external advisory committee to assist in developing a revised version of VanSplash, the Board’s long-term aquatics strategy for Vancouver. This decision follows an 18 month city-wide consultation which surfaced a wide variety of viewpoints on the future of our pools and beaches.
 
The advisory committee will represent residents from across the city and include stakeholders from key aquatic areas including recreation, skill development, fitness, sport and therapy. An external facilitator, who has not thus far been involved in the project, will assist the Park Board in identifying priorities and refining the VanSplash Strategy.
 
“Swimming is our most popular recreational activity and we’ve heard a lot of different opinions on future directions for our aquatics system,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “A re-set with an external advisory committee representing a range of users and perspectives is the best path to a long-term plan.”
 
There will be an open call for swimmers and stakeholders to apply to join the advisory committee in the coming months. Staff will bring a report on the revised strategy to the Board in 2019.  
 
 
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Media contact:
604-257-8438

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.