For immediate release
October 21st, 2013
COPE is calling on City Council and the Parks Board to start acquiring more parks space.
The latest uproar around the Kitsilano Beach bike path is a symptom of an bigger problem at City Hall. Vision Vancouver’s densification projects are not being accompanied by the increased park space required by city policy, meaning more people are fighting over less and less park space. In South East False Creek alone 22.8 acres of parks space were promised, but only 2.8 acres were set aside.
“The Parks Board has a clear policy of obtaining 1.2 hectares of new space for every 1000 new citizens, but the Vision Vancouver majority on Park Board is consistently failing to meet this goal,” said COPE member Alannah New-Small. “And it is committing to pave parks like Kits Beach and Cottonwood Community Garden without any planned replacements. Vision’s lack of support is pitting park users against each other, and that’s unacceptable.”
COPE Executive member Kim Hearty spoke out against a developer-oriented mentality at Park Board. “We are double-counting replacement parks space as new space, and we are allowing developers to throw in ‘green features’ and count them as parks, but private property is not a park. Parks are common spaces for all citizens and they are becoming scarcer under Vision.”
“Preservation and enhancement of Vancouver’s green space must become a top priority in all City planning. Currently, it isn’t,” said COPE Parks Committee member Nicholas Ellan. “Neighbourhoods recently planned by this council have had huge new developments proposed without adequate new green space acquired. And Kitsilano is next on the list.”
In recent weeks, Vision Vancouver’s majority on council has delayed community planning decisions in the DTES, Marpole, and Grandview Woodlands, while proceeding, against the expressed demands of many residents, with community development plans in the West End and Norquay neighbourhoods. Kitsilano is next on the list of communities designated for the City’s planning process.
A COPE-led Park Board would renew its dedication to the city’s stated policy of acquiring green space in line with population growth. COPE believes the city must dedicate itself to a visioning development plan for the Kitsilano neighbourhood that is open and transparent, well-communicated to the public, and a planning process that reflects the broadest possible interests of those who reside in the neighbourhood.
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