Vancouver Park Board Commissioners Casey Crawford, John Coupar and Sarah Kirby-Yung have called for a Special Park Board Meeting to address safety concerns related to the use of Park Board operated community centres as warming centres by the City of Vancouver.
Sarah Kirby-Yung will bring forward a motion in response to the concerns of parents regarding safe access to community centres used as warming shelters.
Commissioner Kirby-Yung says “We appreciate the need to provide additional cold weather shelter relief for those in need. At the same time, Park Board facilities and staff are there to provide recreation services, and safety for patrons has to come first.”
Commissioners are concerned that neither staff nor the facilities are equipped to support the homeless at this time while ensuring the community safe access to our facilities. “Parents are sounding the alarm and saying they no longer feel comfortable going to centres like Creekside Community Centre,” said Kirby-Yung.
The City shut down Creekside Community Centre as a warming centre immediately following the incident of a child being exposed to a used hypodermic needle. The West End Community Centre warming centre was shut January 11 in response to safety and security concerns from the community centre association.
NPA Commissioners are deeply concerned about the chronic and growing homeless issue in Vancouver. They are also committed to delivering on Park Board’s mandate and ensuring safe and comfortable use of community centres for Vancouver residents, including families, young children and seniors. The recent warming centre trial at community centres resulted in the dumping of needles and drug paraphernalia within public spaces.
The Special Park Board Meeting will be held this evening, January 12 at 7:00 pm at the Park Board office at 2099 Beach Avenue. Interested parties can speak by registering before 12:00 PM today, the day of the scheduled meeting.
Register to speak at http://vancouver.ca/your-government/speak-at-a-meeting.aspx or sign up by phoning the Park Board’s Meeting Information Line at 604-257-8158. You can also email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org