(Intro: CityHallWatch received this from a participant in the Special Park Board Meeting entitled “Park Board Community Dialogue: Serving Our Seniors,” which we announced a couple days ago. It was at the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre on Wednesday October 28. It was reportedly attended by 110 to 140 people, but the description of what went on there may raise some eyebrows. We acknowledge that other participants may have different impressions of the meeting. Also, it will be interesting to see the content of the eventual staff report on this event. That is when, perhaps, any unstated purposes of the meeting may become more evident.)
Here is a short story about ongoing communications efforts by the city to put out the fire they have created in our multi generational, multi ethnic community we call home and that is currently under attack by planners, real estate department, transportation department, park board manager and the Mayors office.
The city of Vancouver sent in roughly 30 special “ops” workers (apparently park board staff?) into Marpole Oakridge Community Centre on Tuesday October 28th, 2015 for a media battle they were sure to win and hired several videographers to record the event and prove they could listen to the community. It was held under the auspices of discussing needs of Seniors in the Community at a round table with all the park commissioners.
The invitation included the following, “Please join the Park Board Commissioners for a facilitated round-table discussion.“
The reality was that the highly energetic (caffeinated) staff from the the city carefully managed a well rehearsed, well scripted event that intentionally forbade any discussion with Park Board Commissioners. The public were prevented from asking questions or obtaining much useful information as staff focused on the scripted primary topic of “What do you like best about parks and recreation in Vancouver?” Commissioners wore humiliating tags that stated “Listening Only” and the public were asked not to speak to them. We were asked to get after any Commissioners if they attempted to speak to us. This was all told to us with a laugh and a grin by a communications pro through her amplified headset microphone.
The event was certainly not a discussion with Commissioners as the event had been billed. The public and Commissioners were treated like fools with total disrespect by senior administrators of the City of Vancouver and especially the silent Park Board Manager, Mr.Bromley, who quietly managed the event from an adjoining room for much of the time.
An insulting staged meeting after 7 years of abuse and dismantlement of our community by a city hall working continuously for developer money did nothing to show genuine caring, understanding or successful dialogue. Next time the city consider sending in their commando squad, my neighbours and I request the city treat us with respect; leave the security guards, script and cameras back at HQ while the intelligent citizens and Commissioners be trusted to have genuine dialogue.
This is by no means meant to disrespect our hard working Commissioners or Community Centre volunteers or even any junior city employees that have been forced into working under such a disingenuous and broken city administration ruled by developer money. The community thanks them whole-heartedly for the work that they do and we do not relish the position that they are in. We thank those that are looking out for our community and ask for your continued help in protecting us.
Submitted by Anonymous in Marpole Oakridge
PS. The destruction of Marine Gardens will not soon be forgotten by the people of Marpole, Oakridge or the rest of Vancouver. Our heart goes out to those that called Marine Gardens home. What has been very obvious about MG is that it was a plan hatched by the city to displace locals in order to maximize profits for their political supporters.
Other facts about the meeting
- About 110-140 people attended. That includes a staff member at every table and a commissioner at most tables.
- There was 1 still photographer, perhaps 2. 1 video cameraman.
- We were all forced to sign media release forms. If you declined to have your photograph taken or voice recorded they also required a form be filled out and gave you a purple sticker to affix to your name tag.
- All Commissioners were in attendance.
- The Community Center Association hosted, and they were wonderful.
- Mr. Bromley, Park Board Manager, was in attendance.
- The meeting was run at the tables where the staff member had a large pad of paper which they wrote with a large felt marker.
The email invite from the city appeared much as follows.
Marpole Oakridge Community Association hosts the Vancouver Park Board first Community Dialogue at the Marpole Oakidge Community Centre
Please join the Park Board Commissioners for a facilitated round-table discussion about how best to support the diverse and growing population of seniors with recreation facilities, programs and services.
Items for discussion include how to make our facilities more accessible and welcoming. If you are a senior yourself or work with or support them, you are encouraged to attend.
Who: Vancouver seniors and families, service providers and anyone interested in the health and wellness of mature adults in our community.
When: October 28, 2015, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where: Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre, 990 West 59th Avenue
Why: Your feedback will help the Park Board plan future policies and programs
The Vancouver Park Board says: We want to hear from you
Text from City website (as of 29-Oct-2015):
Join the Park Board for a community dialogue on how best to support seniors with recreation facilities, programs, and services
Park Board Community Dialogue: Serving Our Seniors
Do you use Vancouver’s park and recreation services to stay active and healthy, learn new things and meet new people? Please join Vancouver Park Board Commissioners for a community dialogue on how best to support seniors with recreation facilities, programs and services. All are invited including seniors and families, service providers and anyone interested in the health and wellness of mature adults in our community