Hastings Park fight far from finish line

Vancouver city council has put its stamp of approval on a $208-million redevelopment plan for Hastings Park, but according to COPE councillor David Cadman, the debate over the two-decade-long project is far from over.

While the master plan was adopted on December 14, Cadman predicts that concerned community members will continue to protest as each capital decision comes before council.

“I’m pretty sure that the neighbourhood is pretty upset and are going to make sure that this plan over 20 years is going to be constantly questioned,” Cadman told the Straight by phone the morning after the vote.

Council made some amendments to the plan before passing it, including reducing the expansion of Playland by two acres and adding the same amount of green space.

Vision Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie told the Straight at City Hall the redevelopment will almost triple the amount of green space in the park.

“As a resident of the neighbourhood and as a councillor, I’m very pleased that we’re finally moving forward,” Louie said. “This has been a long process, six years in the making, and I think that after this amount of time that the community and the city deserves to move forward with improvement of this significant space.”

The redevelopment project includes plans to expand Playland from 14 to 22 acres, construct new buildings, and add greenways. Early implementation priorities approved by council include reinstating community use of the synthetic turf at Empire Field, creating a youth athletics park, and adding pedestrian trails stretching from Hastings Park to New Brighton Park.

But critics say they want to see more natural green space, better community access, and a governance plan for the site.

“I think it’s clear that this community has come together to demand public access in a public park, and we’re not going to stop fighting for that,” Linda Shuto of Friends of Hastings Park told the Straight. “We won’t be going away, because we live there and we care, and we’ll stay with this as long as it requires.”

Cadman wanted to see a decision on the project deferred until plans for the Hastings Racecourse became clear, a governance model could be adopted, and the adjacent communities consulted further.

“We don’t have to rush into a 20-year plan here,” he told council.

“I feel this debate is destructive in the Hastings Park neighbourhood,” Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs said in response to Cadman’s failed motion. “We’ve got to move forward.”

But Hastings-Sunrise resident Colleen Fuller argued that the division has been between council and the community.

“They haven’t been listening to what we have been saying,” she told the Straight. “What we do want is to be consulted on the future of the park—that’s what we’ve been saying over and over again.

“Mayor [Gregor] Robertson said we’re now finished with this agenda item, but he hasn’t seen anything yet, I don’t think,” she added.

You can follow Yolande Cole on Twitter at twitter.com/yolandecole.




Dec 15, 2010 at 9:46pm

You already are in debt for the games and now you want to spend more.
Well how about spending it where it's neededand counts. On low cost housing, food banks, education along with many more things for the people who need it most. Then just maybe you get the name of someone who cared and not just another politian.

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Short Sighted Vision Vancouver

Dec 17, 2010 at 1:35pm

Councilor Cadman and Councilor Woodsworth both deserve praise for trying to have the voice of the community heard, and for fighting for a more publicly available, less expensive, and even greener park than the one that was approved. I watched all council meetings on this issue, and I witnessed the following councilors completely ignore the hastings/sunrise community: geoff meggs, andrea reimer, heather deal, kerry cheng, and george chow. Mr. Robertson was borderline rude with his comments towards the community. He fought for a more money making park instead of a truly green park.

Keep in mind that the community isn't fighting change. The whole community wants the park upgraded. What is wanted is a park plan that doesn't prioritize trade shows, shoe sales, and profit.

Over 50% of the community surrounding Hastings Park disapproved of the new park plan.
If the installation of a 150,000 sq.ft. convention centre was planned in your neighbourhood public park, would you fight against it?
If you said yes, it doesn't matter - because these councilors don't care about your community:
geoff meggs, andrea reimer, heather deal, kerry cheng, george chow and mayor gregor robertson

They want our city parks to generate revenue - I wouldn't be surprised if they install turnstiles into your park so that you have to pay to enter.

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Commercial Drive

Dec 30, 2010 at 2:29pm

It makes me laugh every time I hear people in the Hastings-Sunrise area (the area around Hastings Park) complain that not having Hastings 100% green is an attack on working people in East Van.

Some of the most expensive homes in Vancouver are located in that neighbourhood - check out the million dollar homes on Triumph street for example. Or the gentrification of the whole neighbourhood by "working-class" yuppies that own houses worth over $800,000.

I wish they would stop whining and trying to pretend that they are the working class having trouble to make ends meet - they have no clue how hard life can really be. Most of us don't and wont have a chance to even buy a place in Vancouver and pay over-priced rents because housing prices are so high in this city.

Well I suggest that when you get out of your 2.3 million home on Triumph street, and drive over in your SUV to your east-side Stanley park, and pull out your little gucci wallet that you realize that are a spoiled-rotten privileged yuppie. You care about protecting YOUR OWN interests, YOUR OWN property values.

Stop thinking about YOUR OWN NEEDS for a change and consider those of us that can never afford the expensive home you own. Think of us that struggle to pay the rent each month (yes, each month). Maybe it is time for you to move back to Mommy and Daddy's house in Kerrisdale.

Did you ever stop to consider that many of us like mixed use parks. I like that we the New Brighton Pool, Playland, the PNE, the Italian Gardens, the sanctuary and yes, some of us really like the big sales that happen at Hastings. At least there we can buy some affordable clothes.

All this attention on THEIR needs while people still live on the streets.There are more important priorities in our city - think for a change about others and not yourselves.

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Oct 26, 2011 at 6:11pm

Right on Commercial Drive! If the city makes money from Hastings Park and the Pne i wouldnt have a problem with that one less excuse for them to increase property tax.

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