The NPA majority on the Park Board, Chair John Coupar and Commissioners Casey Crawford, Sarah Kirby-Yung and Erin Shum, has successfully fostered a more respectful, collaborative working tone at the Park Board. The Board’s priorities have also shifted under the leadership of the NPA majority; notably to the proper maintenance of our city’s parks and boulevards and rebuilding the Board’s relationship with the Community Centre Associations.
Noteworthy initiatives our NPA Park Board Commissioners have successfully advanced in recent months include:
- Chair John Coupar’s motion to improve the care and appearance of Vancouver’s parks and gardens in time for the 2015 spring and summer season. Park Board staff have reported back, and through the reallocation of existing funds in the Park Board budget, approximately two dozen temporary seasonal staff are being deployed to improve the care and appearance of the City’s parks and gardens.
- Vice-Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung’s motion to take Park Board meetings and/or open house sessions to different neighbourhoods across the city a minimum of twice per year. Taking Park Board meetings into the community was a central commitment in the NPA’s platform during last November’s election. Park Board staff are expected to report back to the Board in early May with a cost-effective plan, including proposed dates and locations.
- Live streaming Park Board meetings to create greater transparency and public access to the Board and its decision making processes. Live streaming is something NPA Commissioners John Coupar and Melissa De Genova championed during the previous Park Board term amid resistance from the Vision majority. Implementing live streaming so early in the current term demonstrates that the impediments to live streaming were artificial in nature.
- Exploring new ways to bring fun to Vancouver’s parks and create innovative revenue generating partnerships and initiatives. Prime examples are a temporary zipline to celebrate Queen Elizabeth Park’s 75th anniversary this summer and the revitalization of the Park Board’s Marketing and Business Development Committee under the direction of Vice-Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung. The revitalized Committee will assist the Park Board in identifying potential marketing and business opportunities and improvements to parks and recreation services.