For Immediate Release: November 28th, 2010
COPE Park Commissioner Woodcock: City’s budget means cuts to core services
For the fourth consecutive year Vancouver City Council has shifted 1% of the tax burden from business to residential taxpayers. COPE does not support this arbitrary shifting from business to residents. The consequence of this policy is Vancouver Park Board is again being asked to cut its budget to keep the Vancouver property tax increase to 2%. Residents are being mandated to pay more for less service.
At the November Park Board meeting, COPE Commissioner Woodcock voted against charging fees for 3 to 5 year olds using community centre facilities in order to find additional revenues to pay for continuing the business to residents tax shift.
At the next Park Board meeting the Board is being asked to cut its budget again. From Ontario where she is away on a work assignment Woodcock stated, “This is the third year of cuts to the Park Board budget. It’s becoming very difficult to further reduce our budget without affecting the core services that our staff provides to Vancouver residents.”
COPE does not support the cuts to the Park Board budget because it affects key areas of operation such as public washrooms and park security. Furthermore the introduction of fees to children under 6 years of age and the increase in youth fees creates a potential barrier to these services, which are intended to promote well being, active living and social engagement.
In times of economic downturn Vancouver residents depend even more on the services of the Park and Recreation Board as these are just as important to health, well being and security as the Vancouver Police Department.