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December 13, 2023 at 9:21 PM

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Seeking a better solution to Sim’s concerns about the Park Board

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Park Board Office2

Earlier today, the VPSN wrote to Mayor and Council requesting that they ‘press pause’ on the motion to dissolve the Park Board. The proposed directive, introduced by Mayor Sim at a media event on December 6, seeks provincial support to change the Vancouver Charter, eliminating the need to an elected Park Board.

Our letter encourages the City to create a better, more transparent process for looking at ways to improve. This was not intended as a broader rejection of the idea of reform. Indeed, we support efforts to improve our parks and community centres. We are also of the opinion that there ARE opportunities to strengthen matters related to their governance, performance, design, programming and stewardship of parks.

However, the motion as proposed has a number of critical implications.

In the one week since it was hastily introduced, there has been little opportunity to properly evaluate the concerns that the motion purports to address.

Sim - PB Media Event - Dec 6 2023

We are particularly concerned about the process through which this motion was advanced, and the conflation of governance considerations (i.e. the elected park board), with operational and planning considerations.

We note that many of the considerations identified in the Council motion – questions of user experience, service delivery, and operational efficiency – can be addressed without the loss of the democratic opportunities that come with an elected Park Board.

So, to be clear – we are open to a process that:

(a) provides a forum to clearly identify issues and areas of concern with parks and the Park Board, and

(b) provides a fair opportunity to evaluate opportunities (and options) for improvement.

We used our letter to request that Mayor & Council amend the motion to introduce a minimum six month process that allows further public discussion and exploration of the core issues and areas of concern.

We feel that this is a fair compromise that would ensure clarity around the identification of issues & potential solutions. And yes, as part of this, the process could include revisiting the division or organization of powers as set out in the Vancouver Charter.

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