Petition aims to save five grass playing fields in Vancouver parks, stop conversion to synthetic turf, and keep fields accessible to all

Park Comparison artificial turf vs grass

Vancouver citizens have launched a petition to “Save Our Neighbourhood Parks.”

Link to Change.org online sign-ons is here.  

Download page to collect signatures: Save Vancouver parks grass fields petition Jan 2019

Here is the short description of “Keep our Parks Green, Healthy, and Accessible to All

The Vancouver Park Board is proposing to install five new lit synthetic turf fields adding to 12 existing artificial fields in Vancouver. This is apparently coming soon the the Park Board for a decision. The proposed locations are

  • Clinton Park,
  • Beaconsfield Park,
  • Hillcrest Park,
  • Kitsilano Secondary School and
  • Churchill Secondary School.

The petition raises the following concerns about artificial turf fields.

Costly synthetic fields prioritize paid-users, while the larger community comes second. We believe that fields must be accessible and open for everybody’s health and enjoyment.

• The environmental and health impacts are considerable and include, but are not limited to:

  1. off-gassing and toxins that children and others will inhale or come into contact with (Vancouver’s Public Health and Chief Medical Heath Officer recommends that players wash after contact with synthetic fields);
  2. microplastics that can wash into our waterways and migrate into our environment; massive amounts of additional landfill from expired turf (10 year lifespan), and increased stormwater run-off;
  3. loss of natural greenspaces that serve as carbon sinks, maintain good air quality and regulate temperature. Trees, plants, soil, insects, birds, animals and humans benefit from grass.

The new synthetic field proposal is inconsistent with the Park Board’s mission statement to “provide, preserve, and advocate for parks to benefit all people, communities and the environment.” [See statement below from Vancouver’s Director of Planning, 2016.]

The petition concludes, in a fast-growing city like Vancouver every inch of green space is precious. We all deserve to enjoy safe and healthy natural parks kept free from known toxins, carcinogens and plastic.

Say NO to the Park Board in replacing grass with plastic. Say NO to fencing off playing fields on public land.

More info:

Facebook Page: Save our Neighbourhood Parks
Contact: clintonpark2018@gmail.com Continue reading

Development applications snapshot 1-Feb-2019

For an explanation of our monthly snapshots please visit this page:
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/city-hall/snapshots-rezoning-development-applications/

As a free public service CityHallWatch takes a monthly snapshot of the Rezoning Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website. The list contains valuable information on each application, and indicates scheduled “open houses” and Public Hearings. Spread the word to anyone who might be affected or interested.

A tech-savvy citizen is voluntarily producing two handy online maps (click bottom right to switch between rezoning and development applications): https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com/

Download the full list of development applications we created in PDF format:
CoV development applications snapshot 1-Feb-2019

For a current list of applications, click: vancouver.ca/devapps/.

Below is the list as of February 1, 2019.

Continue reading

Rezoning applications snapshot 1-Feb-2019

For an explanation of our monthly snapshots please visit this page:
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/city-hall/snapshots-rezoning-development-applications/

As a free public service CityHallWatch takes a monthly snapshot of the Rezoning Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website. The list contains valuable information on each application, and indicates scheduled “open houses” and Public Hearings. Spread the word to anyone who might be affected or interested. There are about 70 proposed, over 70 approved, and several open houses coming up.

A tech-savvy citizen is voluntarily producing two handy online maps (click bottom right to switch between rezoning and development applications): https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com/

Download the full list of development applications we created in PDF format:
CoV rezoning applications snapshot 1-Feb-2019

For a current list of applications, click: vancouver.ca/devapps/.

Below is the list as of February 1, 2019. Continue reading

Not so fast: CVN coalition asks Mayor & Council NOT to endorse staff recommendation for multi-billion dollar SkyTrain to UBC (30-Jan-2019)

cover of mcelhanney report rail to ubc jan 2019

Cover of McElhanney transit study

At the Standing Committee on Policy and Strategic Priorities on January 30, 2019 (Wed), Vancouver city staff will present a report to City Council entitled “Rapid Transit from Arbutus Street to UBC.”

The report was just made public on January 25. Senior city staff are recommending that the Mayor and Council “endorse a SkyTrain extension from Arbutus Street to UBC.”

This is a multi-billion dollar decision with huge implications for Vancouver decades ahead, highly premature, and based on questionable numbers.

The 11-member City Council of whom nine are there for the first time, would be very smart NOT TO ACCEPT the staff recommendations, and instead only to RECEIVE the report for information purposes. Many of the assertions made by the consultant and staff deserve further review. Any member of the public who feels this is an important topic is encouraged to share their views with Council by speaking or writing. See meeting agenda for details.

The Vancouver Coalition of Neighbourhoods (CVN) wrote to Council on January 25 asking Council to accept the report for information only, not to endorse it or accept its recommendations (see the link CVN’s letter, 10-point excerpt also provided below) .

In the staff report, General Manager of Engineering Services (Gerry Dobrovolny) and General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability (Gil Kelly) recommend:

A. THAT Council endorse a SkyTrain extension from Arbutus Street to UBC.
B. THAT Council direct staff to work with partners to advance the design development including public consultation to determine station locations, vertical and horizontal alignment.
C. THAT staff write a letter to the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation (“Mayors’ Council”) to inform them of Council’s support for the selection of SkyTrain and further design and consultation on alignment.

Two related documents are available online for this meeting.

“Rapid Transit from Arbutus Street to UBC” (staff report, Jan 15, 2019) https://council.vancouver.ca/20190130/documents/pspc1.pdf

Appendix C (“Rail to UBC Rapid Transit Study: Alternatives Analysis Summary and Update” (McElhanney Consulting Services) Jan 2019 ): https://council.vancouver.ca/20190130/documents/pspc1-AppendixC.pdf

There are many problems with the  consultant report and staff recommendations. Many of the numbers, statements, technical details, and assumptions used to justify the staff’s conclusions are questionable and could collapse under close review. They deserve independent review and verification.

The Broadway Subway plan was a pillar of Vision Vancouver policy, though public support was never explicitly provided. But Vision was obliterated from City Council in the October 2018 civic election after ten years of absolute majority, which could also be seen in part as a rejection of the Broadway Subway idea. But notably, Vision did some high-profile firings of staff during its years in power and installed staff who were compliant with their policies. Those staff are now trying to implement Vision policies though their former masters are gone.

If Council approves the staff recommendation to endorse a SkyTrain extension from Arbutus Street to UBC, it will predetermine the planning outcomes and make a citywide plan (just now beginning) moot.

Council should be receiving this report for information only and not be implementing it as policy. Expect the City staff to fight any delays.

But our elected Mayor and Council are responsible to taxpayers and the public and would be well-advised to take their time to have the facts properly tested and validated.

The consultant report should not be used as the sole basis for approving a major policy direction in advance of public consultation on a citywide plan.

Here is an excerpt of the CVN letter: Continue reading

Meet Your City Councillors: GWAC meeting on role of neighbourhood residents’ councils (Mon, 14-Jan-2019, 7pm)

gwac meeting 14-jan-2019Grandview Woodland Area Council is one of the longest surviving neighbourhood association. Their first public meeting of the year may interest many neighbourhood groups, especially as Vancouver enters a city wide planning process.

Public Meeting: Monday, January 14th, start 7 pm
Location: Ice Rink Mezzanine (Britannia Ice Rink), 1661 Parker Street, Vancouver
Topic: Meet New Vancouver City Councillors and discuss the role of neighbourhood residents’ councils

The Grandview Woodland area recently underwent a planning process and GWAC is actively staying on top of things. They recently also inquired with the City about “the pace of change” policy expressed in the Grandview Woodland Community Plan (GWCP), asking how many projects have been built within the parameters stated in the Plan. They also asked how many more are in the planning stages and how many conform to the Plan’s “pace of change” policy. GWAC is expecting answers early in the new year.

 

Happy New Year 2019 from CityHallWatch

Vancouver sunset view Spanish Banks

Photo credit: CityHallWatch

Happy New Year 2019!

With the new mayor and Vancouver City Council settling in for the remainder of the four-year civic election cycle to October 2022, there is a new game in town after ten years of Vision Vancouver.

Our city has entered a new phase, but many of the threads and power connections that drove Vision Vancouver’s agenda are still deeply entrenched among influential City staff, and extend to the development industry, local institutions and the provincial government. Some of those influences may be good. Some not so much.

Public involvement will be important, especially as the City enters a city wide planning process in 2019. This is momentous, and comes with opportunities and risks to our city and neighbourhoods.

CityHallWatch will continue to support and cooperate with observant citizens and groups to keep a watchful eye on Vancouver City Hall, seeking to serve as a mirror, a magnifier, and a microphone.

We are already in our tenth year and will pass the ten-year anniversary in October 2019. Media coverage and public debate about civic affairs have changed a lot since we first started. Reporters in mainstream media have come and gone since CityHallWatch first began. More of the mainstream outlets have assigned reporters to civic affairs in the past couple years. Plus there has been a significant increase in bloggers, podcasters, and social media commenters. But we know there is still an important role for CityHallWatch in that deluge of words and images. We have posted 2,756 posts since October 2010, serving as a useful archive for everyone. And in 2019 we expect to pass the 400,000 visitor mark, and the milestone of one million views. Continue reading

Vancouver development applications snapshot 1-Jan-2019

For an explanation of our monthly snapshots please visit this page:
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/city-hall/snapshots-rezoning-development-applications/

As a free public service CityHallWatch takes a monthly snapshot of the Development Applications listed on the City of Vancouver website. The list contains valuable information on each application. Spread the word to anyone who might be affected or interested.

A tech-savvy citizen is voluntarily producing two handy online maps (click bottom right to switch between rezoning and development applications): https://vancouverapps-fa328.firebaseapp.com/

Download the full list of development applications we created in PDF format:
CoV development applications 1-Jan-2019

For a current list of applications, click: vancouver.ca/devapps/.

Below is the list as of January 1, 2019. Continue reading