Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces


March 28, 2014 at 3:36 PM

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Coming up at Council and Park Board: community gardens, Biennale, Fair Elections, Engaged City and Marpole…

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City Hall image by Vancouver Public Space Network

City Hall image by Vancouver Public Space Network

There’s lots of public space action taking place at Council and Park Board next week (March 31 and April 2). Here’s a quick run-down of the stories to watch.

On Monday, March 31, the Park Board meeting will be looking at lease extensions for Prospect Point Café and Stanley Pavillion, hearing a presentation on the Stanley Park Cherry Grove Memorial, and considering a proposal for a new community garden at Kingcrest Park, located in the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood. The proposed Kingcrest Community Garden will have 20 allotment spaces, demonstration and pollinator gardens.

Speaking of bees, Park Board Commissioners will have the chance to debate a motion on “The Pollinator Project” – which, if passed, would direct staff to “develop strategies for supporting pollinators in priority Vancouver parks and streets as part of the Biodiversity Strategy and Urban Forest Strategy.”

Also in the meeting, a report on the upcoming 2014 Vancouver International Sculpture Biennale – and a proposal to keep works from the current Biennale in place throughout the duration of upcoming festival. The installations in question are Dennis Oppenheim’s “Engagement”, located in English Bay; Bernar Venet’s “217.5 Arcs” at Sunset Beach; and, Freezing Water #7 by Ren Jun, located at Vanier Park)

There are two other motions on the docket as well. The first relates to the scaling back of Canada Post service delivery. If passed, it would direct the Park Board Chair to “write a letter to the Mayor indicating the Park Board’s concerns with Canada Post’s plan.” The second item will be familiar to friends of VPSN, and is a complementary motion to City Council’s recent move to develop a strategy of no net loss of greenspace.

On April 1, 2014, City Council will be meeting for both a regular session of Council as well as a Public Hearing.

On the morning Council agenda, one item of note for the democratic dimensions of public space: a motion regarding the Federal Bill C-23, So-Called “Fair Elections Act.” If passed, the motion would direct the City (presumably the Mayor) to “write a letter to Vancouver Members of Parliament, the Minister of Democratic Reform and the Prime Minister stating opposition to Bill C-23.”

The afternoon’s Public Hearing is devoted to proposed bylaw changes coming out of the recently passed Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan. Under consideration are amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan, the Downtown Eastside

Oppenheimer Official Development Plan and the Single Room Accommodation By-law, as well as various sections of the Zoning and Development By-law.

Next day, Tuesday, April 2, 2014, there’s a full agenda for the Planning, Transportation and Environment meeting of Council.

First up, a presentation and discussion on the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force, and the final report and recommendations that emerged from their work. The VPSN wrote to Council in response to the Task Force’s earlier “Quick Start” report, and will be providing commentary on the final document as well. Stay tuned for that!

Next up, a series of reports on City grants for both Community Services (including neighbourhood houses, service agencies and other groups) and arts and culture organizations. If approved, the City will be investing approximately $6.5 million in operating, capital, project, childcare and rent subsidy grants for over 130 service agencies, as well as an additional $7.5 million in operating and project grants for arts and culture groups.

And to round things out, Council will be considering the Marpole Community Plan – the third of four current neighbourhood-scale planning initiatives. Like the recently passed West End and Downtown Eastside plans, this was also initiated in 2012. There are specific chapters on a number of public space items – streetscapes, parks and open space, public benefits, and more. The VPSN is currently reviewing this document and will be providing commentary to City Council in advance of the meeting. Check back on the blog to read our feedback!

Want to speak to any of these items? To find out how you can share your feedback with Council or Park Board – in person, or in writing – visit the City’s Council webpage.

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