The Vancouver park board has approved the establishment of temporary RV parks at Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks during the 2010 Olympics, despite opposition from area residents.
But Vision Vancouver commissioner Aaron Jasper has promised that, if the revenue projections don’t add up, the park board could “reconsider” its decision.
“If we sat down with staff, and we were working with the residents and we had all the numbers on the table, and it actually showed that this would be a loss to the park board, I think that would definitely make the park board reconsider,” Jasper said last night (July 20) in the foyer of the park-board office after the 4-1 vote, in response to a question from Point Grey resident Ardy Zia. “Our goal was that, even with a modest occupancy, that this would break even. The bonus would be extra revenues.”
The parking lots at the beaches will accommodate up to 365 RV sites between February 8 and March 2, 2010. Visitors will pay $95 per night per recreation vehicle, a price that will cover access to washrooms, showers, waste disposal, and a free shuttle.
At the meeting, Vision’s Jasper, Sarah Blyth, and board chair Raj Hundal, along with Non-Partisan Association commissioner Ian Robertson, voted in favour of all of the recommendations contained in park board revenue-services manager Philip Josephs’s report. The park board awarded the $134,832 contract for managing the RV parks to Duckworth Management Group Ltd.
Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon severed the recommendations into a separate motions, saying he could not support the main recommendation to approve the temporary RV sites. The other recommendations passed unanimously.
“The most troubling for me is the commercialization of parkland,” Mackinnon said. “I have a fundamental and philosophical opposition to the commercialization of parkland and beaches.”
Coalition of Progressive Electors commissioner Loretta Woodcock and Vision’s Constance Barnes were absent from the meeting. Barnes is on a leave of absence.
At one point during the fractious meeting, Robertson told the crowd that he represented all of Vancouver’s residents and not just the few that had chosen to heckle and yell at almost every turn for close to an hour.
Frank Tyers of the North West Point Grey Home Owners’ Association claimed that no adequate “cost analysis” had been done that took into account the cost of a pumping station and a scenario where occupation was lower than predicted.
In the foyer, with questions coming at him thick and fast, Jasper fired back at Tyers: “I tell you sir, with all due respect, a half a million dollars revenue is a big deal to this board right now....It’s not BS.”
Tyers said, “It’s $700,000 [in projected revenues] if every space is rented, every minute....All of the expenses that you’ve put up there don’t include the pumping station.”
North West Marine Drive resident Tom Elliott was the most vocal critic, slamming commissioners for what he said was a disgusting display of “expediency and opportunism”.