Vision, COPE approve HST and recall protests in park community centres

Post by Mike Klassen in

12 comments

ford-pinto
Recall isn't just about autos like the Ford Pinto anymore – it's coming to Vancouver's parks

Last night the Vision Vancouver Park Board with the support of COPE's Loretta Woodcock voted in favour of a revised motion that not only allows anti-HST protests to set up for free in our park community centres, it also allows all recall and initiative campaigns. The end goal is to allow for protesters wishing to recall BC Liberal MLAs to set themselves up right in our park community centres.

The targets will most likely be Premier & Vancouver-Point Grey MLA Gordon Campbell, Minister of Finance and Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Colin Hansen and possibly others in the Vancouver area.

Former city councillor and park commissioner May Brown, a spritely 90-year old, stayed to speak to the original motion, which was to allow just the HST protesters in our community centres. She was gobsmacked when Vision commissioner Raj Hundal tabled a new motion that would also allow pending recall campaigns to set up shop in community centres too.

"If you needed any more evidence that these guys are supporting the NDP opposition, they confirmed it last night," commented the normally diplomatic Brown. "This means that protesters against the BC government can now have a home in our community centres for a full year up until the recall deadline next fall."

Both Green Party commissioner Stuart Mackinnon and the NPA's Ian Robertson spoke against the motion. Robertson called notice on Hundal for bringing in the new motion last minute at the end of a long meeting. Hundal already had a ruling from the General Manager through the City's legal department. Mackinnon explains why he was opposed to this idea on his blog. He states:

I firmly believe that community centres are public spaces for everyone and the current policy ensures that they are free from partisan politics. Our users should not have to be confronted with partisans with an axe to grind.

Probably because of the late night vote there has been little or no coverage of this vote. Perhaps later today we'll hear more voices weigh in on this increasing politicization of our park board system.

12 Comments

Thanks for reporting on this Mike. It was unfortunate that all the media had left before this motion. I also hope that there will be more coverage on this later today. Commissioner Hundal's arguments last night were weak and lacked substance. His best argument was "people will now have to pay $46 for a gym pass from $43 and $52 to $59 for golf??!" It boggled my mind to watch the other sheep follow suit. It was shameful politization of the park system.

Way to go guys!! Community centres belong to and are paid for by all members of the community. If anti-recall forces don't want to participate, all they have to do is walk right on by.

I had the misfortune of attending last night's Park Board meeting all the way through along with May, Bill McCreery and a few others.

Several serious issues and the arrogance of the Vision led board came across in spades during this meeting.

The motion was the 2nd to last item on the agenda and was presented after 11:00 p.m.. At that time, everyone left in the room was tired and the media had left.

1) the motion to allow Anti HST canvassers into Community centres was so ill thought out that Commissoner Hundal had to have it rewritten by the City Legal Department.

2) The revised motion was allowed to proceed by the Chair on the word of the General Manager of the Park Board that the motion was indeed in order.

Is the General Manager an expert on Roberts Rules of order? The chair made no effort to verify the proper procedure for introduction of the newly worded motion by referring to Roberts Rules of Order to ensure it actually was.

3) The new motion put the onus on the General Manager to make the call of who is and who not allowed to use Centres for political purposes.

4) The new motion made no reference to to the number of people nor equipment political groups recognized under the motion could avail themselves of.

5) The motion narrowily defined groups recognized under the Initiave & Recall Act as being acceptable to use facilties, exclusive of any other group or organization.

6) The Vision Commissioners and Woodcock rejected the notion that groups denied use could sue under Charter Rights provisions.

7) They rejected the fact that the issue was moot as the Anti HST organizers has already collected in excess of the signatures required.

7) It was obvious to all in attendance that this was a political one upmanship session to embarass the Provincial Government and scoring points with their supporters rather than sound, reasoned rationale or providing a real need.

Just as distrubing was the the arrogance displayed by some staff and Commissoners regarding the development of Grandview Park.

While the park is in dire need of renovation, only one Commissioner spoke to the concerns of many about perserving aspects of playground equipment near and dear to the many residents hearts.

The clear disdain many Commissioners and staff to reuse, recycle much of the playground equipment was clearly evident.

The disdain to refurbish beloved wood structures (a supposed maintenance issue) and other equipment for replacement by plastic and steel was clearly evident.

Yet another questionable policy of the Board became evident as it became known that the Park Board allows maintenance of those parks identified for renovation to deteriorate. It seems that the notion of allowing equipment to fall into disrepair and worry about it later is prevalent by the Board and staff.

The hypocracy of this Vision Board seems to know no bounds.

Time is ticking and as I mentioned in speaking last night

karma's is a funny thing.. what goes around comes around... and the Vision members had better look out, it's gaining on them

Well, well.

Does this mean 'all recall and initiative campaigns' is applicable to Vision and COPE members as well?

If the boy (formerly plural and sounded (boys) much better btw), could tell us whether or not recall legislation applies to civic elected officials, I'll be the first one lined up to sign or start the process of recalling the Vision lot from city hall, parks board and the VSB.

So what say you city caucus? Does it?

I was thinking exactly the same thing... how soon can I set up my recall protest against Vision at my local community center?

Further to Dave's comments above please find below the statement presented to the Board last night concerning the HST motion. Like May & many other former Park Commissioners, we are not at all happy with the blatant politicizing of Parks & Recreation facilities. I would also mention that Commissioners Stuart MacKinnon & Ian Robertson spoke forcefully & eloquently last evening but, their reasoned arguments fell on the deaf ears of the Vision majority.

PRESS RELEASE RE: HST PETITIONING IN VANCOUVER COMMUNITY CENTRES 

The issue of whether or not to allow petitioners to gather signatures in Vancouver Park Board Community Centres will be decided tonight.

Vancouver Park Board has a long tradition of jointly successfully operating community centres in all neighbourhoods throughout Vancouver in cooperation with local community centre associations. These centres serve the function of primarily providing recreation and cultural services for local communities.  As such it has been seen fit to keep partisan politics away from the facilities to maintain a positive atmosphere which is focused on effectively delivering the above services.

We have had feedback that HST petitioning is not wanted by a lot of the Community Centre Boards as well.  However, we are not aware of any attempt to seek the considered opinions of ALL Community Centre Boards in the City on this matter which will directly affect them.

We understand the Vision Park Board Commissioners intend this motion to be approved for the HST petition only.  However, it establishes a precedent which will be difficult to not give in to in the future.  Since the HST petitioners already have the required 10% signatures needed, what is the need for to consider this motion further.  We recommend the motion be withdrawn or defeated tonight.

Respectively put forward by:  Commissioner Ian Robertson, former Commissioner Bill McCreery, and West End Community Centre Association Board Member Dave Pasin          

Using the same repetitive logic as this blog's assertion that anyone anti-HST is pro-NDP, I do declare that anyone pro-HST or anti-NDP is pro-Liberal, hence pro-Bilderberg, and hence pro-global-communism.

Yup. If you don't like the commies, you're an even bigger commie than you've ever feared.

Soylent green is people.

ahh don't you love really bad logic

it is possible to be anti HST and a non fan of the NDP ergo its also possible to be a pro HST fan and not be a fan of the Liberals and its also possible to be anti HST and a fan of the NDP and all manner of permutations thereof.

It's called human nature!

How sad then that it's easier to trot out the usual Bilderberg, New World Order, Rothschild consiracy theories than to have a constructive conversation on which can people disagree.

Well, not quite as sad as continuing to pretend that the meeting in Spain that Campbell admittedly attended a few days ago isn't real and is just a crazy theory. Check out the photographs of Campbell arriving at the theory. Or maybe you're the type that admits to Bilderberg existing, but insists that they do not shape policy, and is in fact a super secret kick-ball tournament.

Anyway.. my original tongue-in-cheek point, that you apparently missed yet agreed with (?), was that the anti-hst campaign is not a secret NDP/Vision conspiracy as often touted here at CC, it's mostly just a bunch of regular (non-partisan) people who don't want to pay more tax on their food. Not complicated. Just people who can do basic math; HST tax hike minus a meager $230 rebate equals an insult. Most of them rightly don't care what a bunch of useless Keynesian economists have to say, these are the same guys that told us to buy potash in 2008 because it was going to $2000/tonne.

ps: the issue of collecting signatures in community centres is not moot, there are 5 ridings still below the 15% goal. 10% is the minimum, 15% is the goal.

Was that constructive enough to disagree with?

Dave,

I didn't pick up on any of the arrogance you're talking about regarding the Board's approach to Grandview Park. The only arrogance I saw came from the "Defend Grandview" folks in the back who seem to think renovating a park is no more complex than throwing a potluck.

It's been clear for years that the park has needed a renovation, so spending loads of money digging up the grass to re-seed never really made any sense. Plus, all elements of the current design have been added in stages, making the space poorly designed to serve a community of such high density. The city has been on a drive to upgrade many of the parks around town, so it's not like this is a conspiracy here, and regardless of what the "no" side wants to believe, and there is widespread support for the project throughout the neighbourhood.

And just so we're clear, it was only a few years back (maybe 6) that the city dug up huge sections of the park to replace the grass. It took about two years for that grass to deteriorate, because the problem it with the design of the park (a sandy playground at the top of a hill), and poor drainage throughout the park. (Longtime locals tell me that the city has attempted to address this problem 3 times in the past 20 years)

And what about the tennis courts? These are barely used, meaning that a substantial chunk of the park is covered in asphalt. The new design reduces they by over 60% to create one single multi-use court that was largely inspired by the input of the local bike polo club. Their removal also means more green space in front of the more centralized stage. This is what I would call "awesome".

As for other parts of the park, the washrooms are a mess. So bad in fact that very few people use them. Moving them to the front of the park better serves people who fear going near them due to the group that hangs out nearby. Honestly, I have no trouble with those guys, BUT whenever trouble starts in the park, it's almost always the place where it starts. Nobody should have any expectation of privacy in a public park, and it's not really all that great that the group who hangs out there considers this their territory. They're welome to use the park like everyone else, but they don't get to own a chunk of it.

As for the playground itself... I actually like the wood, and hope that the city considers duplicating at least parts of the old park into the new, but they should absolutely NOT recycle any of the wood. The wood in the current park is pressure treated lumber milled pre-2003. Meaning it's actually quite toxic. It's not really all that awesome that our kids are spending upwards of 40+ hours per month climbing all over the stuff. Recycling is obviously a great idea, except when the stuff you want to reuses is a known carcinogen.

Finally, there is practically no seating in the park. The new design creates loads of seating near the front of the park in both sun and shade, that allow people to sit and watch the local fauna go by.

As I mentioned, I felt that park is very tired and is in dire need of renovation... that's not really even an argument.

My argument was that parts of the park that are able to be saved and reused should be! That included play equipment.

My point was the use of steel and plastic is not exactly "green" and user friendly so why not try to save, recycle and reuse play equipment that children enjoy using.

As for wood structures that are made with pressure treated material, they can be easily replicated with newer wood products that are safe for users and the environment. The use of natural materials is always beneficial to users and the environment.

The use of wood and refurbished equipment also allows park users a cognitive and emotional connect to the renovated park.

The arrogance issue is another matter.

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