COPE Vancouver Park Board Commissioners Loretta Woodcock and Spencer Herbert want the Park Board to get a seat at the Metro Vancouver Parks Committee. Woodcock is moving a motion at the October 15 meeting of the Vancouver Park Board that the mayor appoint a park commissioner rather than a city councillor to serve on Metro Parks.
The Metro Parks Committee (formerly the GVRD Park Committee) administers all regional parks including the 1800-acre Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Although the committee is composed of municipal councillors, there is nothing to prevent an elected park commissioner from being appointed. Vancouver’s representative at Metro Parks is customarily appointed by the mayor. NPA Cllr Elizabeth Ball is the city’s Metro Parks rep.
“The current controversy about the future of Pacific Spirit Park shows the need for having someone at Metro Parks who is knowledgeable about our park system,” said Woodcock. “The most appropriate representative would be an elected park commissioner. Now the mayor appoints a city councillor to Metro Parks. But that person may have little or no background in park issues.”
In August, NPA Park Commissioner Marty Zlotnik proposed trading 120 acres of the publicly owned Pacific Spirit Park to maintain the status of the privately operated University Golf Course. Although Pacific Spirit borders on Vancouver’s park system, the issue has yet to be raised at either the Vancouver Park Board or at Metro Parks.
“I have never received any reports or minutes from Metro Parks,” said Woodcock, “even though decisions at Metro impact directly on Vancouver.
“The City of Vancouver jointly shares ownership of Pacific Spirit with the other municipalities in Metro. But Vancouver has a greater interest because of our proximity to this park. If elected park board commissioners served on Metro Parks, they would be more in touch with Vancouver residents, and would fully understand how parks in Vancouver are impacted by what happens in regional parks, particularly at Pacific Spirit.”