Constance Barnes tells Emery Barnes Park Community Association to drop father’s name


Vision Vancouver park commissioner Constance Barnes has asked a neighbourhood association to stop using the name of her father because of the group’s opposition to a winter shelter in its community.

Barnes recently met with representatives of the Emery Barnes Park Community Association over their concerns about a shelter for homeless people on Seymour Street.

“To see Emery Barnes’s name and the word NIMBY in the same sentence makes us very uncomfortable,” Barnes told the Straight in a phone interview about how her family feels. NIMBY stands for “not in my backyard”, a phrase commonly used to describe local opposition to projects that residents would rather see happen farther away.

Barnes’s late father was known for his advocacy for the poor. As a member of the B.C. legislative assembly, he once lived on a welfare rate for one month to show that social assistance to the needy should be increased.

Barnes stressed that the December 15 meeting was very respectful. The park commissioner noted that residents felt they were not properly consulted by the city about with the shelter. She said she will bring their concerns to city hall.

“As a park board commissioner, I talked about the fact that the kids, the youth that are there, were sleeping at the park before,” she said. “So do we prefer them out in the freezing cold in the park? Or do we prefer them to be in a safe environment and have the opportunity to get some help and maybe relocate them into housing?”

It’s not known yet whether the group will drop the Emery Barnes name.

“But they understood my concern,” Barnes said. “And I was quite firm with them that I just felt uncomfortable with them using the Emery Barnes name. We’ll see how it goes forward.”

Comments (9) Add New Comment
Maybe drop the park name instead?
Rating: -25
Ursula Minor
Ms. Barnes is will within her right. I believe most would agree that having a family name associated with such a navel-gazing self-serving group would be a bad thing.
Rating: +23
Ping Mao
It isn't your father's name they are using. It is the name of the park. Get over it
Rating: -36
Stephanie Nicolls
Sell long-term title sponsorship of the park and assign the annual sponsorship fees to programs/services for the poor. The City is overlooking some excellent long-term, guaranteed revenue streams which could be done in elegant, non-offensive and acceptable ways. Garrish signage, unsuitable industry categories, and an overage of corporate identification would be disallowed. It's a wide spectrum of lost opportunities - revenue and other kinds support - that we can no longer afford to lump together into one large pile and deem as "wholly unacceptable no matter what".
Rating: -16
Carol Pickup
I had the great pleasure of knowing Emery Barnes-we travelled B.C for the NDP to create an arts and culture policy. He was a real humanitarian and a true gentle giant!! His daughter has obviously followed in his footsteps and is simply asking that his name and all he stood for be honoured!!
Rating: +16
Looks like they've renamed themselves to the Seymour/Richards Community Association.
Rating: +4
They were not sleeping in THAT park! “As a park board commissioner, I talked about the fact that the kids, the youth that are there, were sleeping at the park before," These people who think they know the neighbourhood but don't live there - we need a ward system.
Rating: +1
Evicted from my city
The Emery Barnes Park Community Association complain they have not properly been consulted about an emergency shelter being opened on Seymour, what's to consult about your fancy condos are built where a lot of those homeless people's homes used to be when the area used to be affordable, maybe runned down but affordable, and they did not have a say when the bulldozers came tearing down the SRO and old houses in the neighbourhood and its only a start the developers have the same plan for the DTES so get used to having more homeless around.
Rating: +7
Whenever the term "poor" or "homeless" pops up some people immediately starts to sterotype other humans and make excuses to justify their prejudice based on ignorance. All homeless people are not addicts or mentally ill. I once had a couple of homes, ,beautiful land and farm animals. I lost it all but I did not do drugs or smoke. While I lived on the street, people looked at me as if I was a disease. Thank God for a few kind hearted people who showed compassion and understanding. Now I am more successful than most people.
Rating: +5
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