Vancouver Votes: Green Space
November 14, 2014
With Vision's Greenest City by 2020 action plan in full swing, great strides have been taken toward sustainable living—think the upcoming disposal ban on compostable materials, and the ever-contentious bike lanes splaying across the city. However, the City of Vancouver's standard for neighbourhood park space is 2.75 acres per 1,000 residents, a target critics claim they have struggled to meet over the last six years.
Green Party member and director of the Mount Pleasant BIA Michael Wiebe is one such critic, who points to the development of green space as one of his primary reasons for running for parks board commissioner. Wiebe points to a 21-acre parcel of land at the end of Cambie: "Realistically, land like that doesn't become available very often. It has recently been bought by Translink and the City are in talks to claim half of it, but they should be taking more. Once everything is developed there is no going back."
Current parks board chair Aaron Jasper views the land at the end of Cambie as preemptive park space for ever-increasing Marpole, something he is proud to have been part of during his tenure. Jasper also highlighted the revitalization of Beaver Lake and neighbourhood park developments such as Grandview as achievements over the last six years: "It's hard to acquire new land, but what we can do is take care of and improve the spaces we do have, like the $1.5 million we invested in Grandview."
Parks board commissioner candidate Jamie Lee Hamilton (of the Independent Democratic Electors Alliance) has expressed her concerns about the so-called "commercialization" of park land, including the private development of waterfront land and the development of Emery Barnes Park, the third phase expansion of which never happened as the land was offered for private development. Hamilton has called the governance of the parks board into question: "If the city usurps the power of the parks board, why would we even have an elected parks board?"