December 10, 2023
City of Vancouver
Dear Mayor Ken Sim and Councillors,
Re: Motion to Amend the Vancouver Charter to Remove the Park Board
Agenda – Dec. 13, 2023: https://council.vancouver.ca/20231213/cfsc20231213ag.htm
The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) opposes the motion to remove the Park Board as proposed, and to the lack of due process. We note that the elected Park Board Chair and majority oppose this proposal. Neither the Park Board nor the public have been consulted.
We question if an elected Park Board can be removed mid-term only one year after the election. Further, there is no mandate for these actions since the majority on Council and the Park Board were elected on the platform to retain the Park Board and to undertake a “full audit of all operations, finances and facilities,” which was only recently released. The Park Board should be allowed time to implement the auditor’s recommendations.
Unlike City Council, the Park Board has a very important sole function to provide, preserve, and advocate for parks and recreation services to benefit all people, communities, and the environment. It has exclusive possession, jurisdiction, and control over 230+ public parks in Vancouver and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, rinks, fitness centres, golf courses, street trees, marinas, playing fields, and more. It should be noted that the Vancouver Park Board was created to ensure the parks and recreation systems are retained and managed with a single focus for future generations.
We are very concerned that a major structural change to an elected body is being made in back rooms without any public process. Please do not approve this motion and instead allow the Park Board to implement the auditor’s recommendations, and for the Park Board Commissioners to complete their term. Many of the needed Park Board improvements require Council funding and we encourage Council to do so. There is no mandate or justification for removing the Park Board. The public should have a choice through a referendum before any request is made to the province to change the Vancouver Charter regarding the Park Board.
Steering Committee, Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
Network Groups of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods
Arbutus Ridge Community Association
Arbutus Ridge/ Kerrisdale/ Shaughnessy Committee
Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours
Dunbar Residents Association
Fairview/South Granville Action Committee
Grandview Woodland Area Council
Greater Yaletown Community Association
Kitsilano-Arbutus Residents Association
Kits Point Residents Association
NW Point Grey Home Owners Association
Oakridge Langara Area Residents
Residents Association Mount Pleasant
Riley Park/South Cambie Committee
Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Assoc.
Strathcona Residents Association
Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
West End Neighbours Society
West Kitsilano Residents Association
West Point Grey Residents Association
West Southland Residents Association