The Vancouver Park Board will be considering a report to overhaul the entire system of food concessions in public parks at its May 01 meeting.
Among the facilities mentioned in the report is the Stanley Park Trailer food concession which is currently operated by the Vancouver Aquarium. Changes in the current policy could have a direct financial impact on the Aquarium. NPA Park Commissioner Heather Holden, an employee of the Vancouver Aquarium, voted on the report that deals with the Aquarium’s concession.
During the November civic election Holden said she would abstain from voting on any issues related to the Aquarium. But at the April 04 Park Board committee meeting, Holden voted to send the report that deals with the Aquarium’s operation of a concession, to the Board’s May 01 meeting.
"Commissioner Holden remains an employee of the Aquarium and could be in a perceived conflict by voting on an issue in which the Aquarium has a financial interest," said COPE Park Commissioner Spencer Herbert. "I would suggest it would be appropriate for her to excuse herself from this discussion on May 01 and refrain from voting on anything that affects her employer until this question is resolved.
"It is vital that all elected officials are above any perception of conflict of interest, whether actual or apparent, when they deal with public business."
According to the Vancouver Charter, "If a Council member attending a meeting considers that he or she is not entitled to participate in the discussion of a matter, or to vote on a question in respect of a matter, because the member has
(a) a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the matter, ·
the member must declare this and state in general terms the reason why the member considers this to be the case."
The Charter further states that "When a declaration under subsection (2) or a statement under subsection (4) is made,
(a) the person recording the minutes of the meeting must record
(i) the member’s declaration or statement,
(ii) the reasons given for it, and
(iii) the time of the member’s departure from the meeting room and, if applicable, of the member’s return, and
(b) unless a statement is made under subsection (4), the person presiding at that meeting or any following meeting in respect of the matter must ensure that the member is not present at any part of the meeting during which the matter is under consideration."