At the tail end of a fractious March 26 park board meeting lasting almost four hours, Non-Partisan Association commissioner John Coupar rose from his chair.
Holding in his hand a withering 600-word motion to be debated next time out, the first-term commissioner read vice-chair Aaron Jasper the equivalent of the Riot Act.
“Whereas Commissioner Jasper has recently made comments regarding the naming of parks and was quoted in the Georgia Straight as follows,” Coupar began. He then cited Jasper’s comments last week on proposed changes to the city’s park-naming policy: “We don’t want to return to the days where park commissioners are naming parks after themselves, which is really what we saw with George Wainborn Park and Andy Livingstone [Park]—a bunch of commissioners sitting around deciding which park they were going to name after themselves.”
An ashen-faced Jasper looked on as Coupar listed in full the achievements of the two former park commissioners whom the Vision Vancouver politician purportedly insulted and demeaned. Backed by former NPA commissioners Nancy Chiavario and Christopher Richardson, Coupar claimed he’d checked past minutes of the board to confirm the late commissioners did not engage in self-promotion.
“George Wainborn was the longest-serving park commissioner, with 33 years,” Chiavario told commissioners earlier during the meeting. “In his own words, he did it ‘for the children’.”
At the end of his motion on notice, which will be placed on the April 16 meeting agenda for the park board, Coupar says Jasper should be censured and asked to apologize to both families involved as well as to park commissioners and staff.
“Failing that, this board hereby asks Comm. Jasper to tender his resignation to the chair,” Coupar’s motion states.
“No comment,” Jasper told the Straight after the meeting.