I was shocked to read that the NPA’s candidate for mayor, Peter Ladner, seems to think that he can fund his NPA Council’s pet programs such as Civil City and the Ambassador program by building more restaurants in parks!
The Vancouver Park Board does provide some food services in our parks, most of them concession stands with affordable food that are run by small, "Mom n Pop" operators. There are also several higher end restaurants in Vancouver parks such as the Fish House, Sequoia, Mill Marine Bistro, Watermark, Shaugnessy’s, and Seasons in the Park. The Park Board receives a percentage of the revenues from the operators of the concession stands and restaurants. Some of the community centres in Vancouver also have limited food service available.
Mr. Ladner needs to know two things. One is that the Park Board depends on the revenues from the concession stands and restaurants to fund part of its programs. These revenues do not – and should not, if Vancouver is to continue to offer affordable and accessible recreation for its residents – go into City Council’s general revenues.
The other is that the food services in our parks should be affordable, accessible, and offer healthy food choices. The existng concession stands are inexpensive and distributed along our beaches and in other locations such as Trout Lake. Any new restaurants on Park Board lands should not displace the affordable options provided by concession stands, and there should be extensive and meaningful public consultation before any new restaurant is approved.