COPE Vancouver City Councillor David Cadman wants the city to say no to a proposal to trade portions of Pacific Spirit Regional Park in exchange for maintaining the privately owned University Golf Course. He will move a motion at City Council today opoposing a park for golf course swap.
“It is outrageous that anyone would contemplate giving away public park space as part of negotiations on the future of a private golf course at UBC,” said Cadman. “ I will be moving a motion at City Council that Vancouver oppose any deal that could result in the loss of park space that is owned by all residents of the region, including the citizens of Vancouver.
“And I will be asking Vancouver’s representative on Metro Parks, Cllr Elizabeth Ball, to take that message to Metro Vancouver.”
Vancouver NPA Park Commissioner Marty Zlotnik proposed trading up to 200 acres of Pacific Spirit Park after a land claims decision transferred control of the UBC golf course to the Musqueam First Nations. Spokespersons for the Musqueam say they don’t plan changes to current activity at the golf course.
COPE Park Commissioners Loretta Woodcock and Spencer Herbert tried to move a motion opposing the park for golf course deal at the September 17 meeting of the Park Board. NPA Park Board chair Ian Robertson, however, ruled the motion out of order.
Robertson says Zlotnik is acting as a private citizen and the matter does not belong at the Park Board. “I think the idea is very, very ill conceived. So I am not in support of it but I don’t discredit Marty for expressing his opinion."
Meanwhile, former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm has entered the debate in support of Zlotnik.
“An exchange of 200 acres of golf course for 200 acres of the existing park would be a win-win for everyone,” said Vander Zalm. “The argument will be made that the golf course is for the more wealthy, but they too represent a fair percentage of the population of the area.”
The 1800-acre Pacific Spirit regional Park is governed by the 11-member Metro Vancouver Park Committee which includes NPA Cllr Ball. Metro officials say more than 1.5 million people visited Pacific Spirit last year. The park borders on Vancouver’s western boundary as it crosses Point Grey from the Fraser River to English Bay where it links with the Vancouver park system at Spanish Banks.The regional park is home to sensitive wildlife habitat and an ecological preserve.