Jamie Lee Hamilton: Keep our parks public and elect a board willing to fight for this

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      I’m running under the IDEA Vancouver banner for park commissioner to bring positive change and to fight to keep our parks and waterfront lands public. I have been deeply concerned about the erosion of public park and green space in Vancouver. Equally unsettling is the intrusion of private interests onto our public waterfront.

      Park board has fallen way behind in our 2.5 acres for every 1,000 residents policy. Deeply concerning is that during the six years Vision has been in power they have not created one mid-size or substantial park in Vancouver. In fact Vision Vancouver has eliminated the third phase of Emery Barnes Park and without any public consultation is allowing this public land to be privately developed for condos. Vision as well early in their second term attempted to chop off part of the Langara golf course again for condos. They were stopped in their tracks by many of us who spoke out against this plan. If re-elected Vision may well finish off their planned privatization of this public asset.

      Vision has in their last two terms in office cut $5.3 million from the park board budget. This resulted in significant cuts to children and youth programs. This insensitive and short-sighted action by Vision created hardship for many inner city kids. Of course, who can forget how Vision eliminated the children’s farmyard and petting zoo in Stanley Park? Sadly many of the pets at the children’s farmyard were sent off to be slaughtered.

      To date under Vision rule there has been no move to restore the park board budget to pre-2008 levels and if elected I will fight to ensure these cuts are overturned.

      The life force of the Vancouver board of parks and recreation system is our beloved volunteer-run community centres. These centres have had their own difficulties because park board has been interfering with their operations. Community centres operate under joint operating agreements and have had these agreements in place as long as in some cases 75 years. Without any prior consultation except for one meeting last year that lasted until 4 a.m. the park board implemented the OneCard system which has negatively impacted a number of our community centres. Currently the board and the centres are involved in costly court challenges. This issue was easily preventable and instead money which could have gone into public program funding is now being spent on costly court cases. If these court cases hadn’t happened the funds saved could have been used for a replacement outdoor pool for Mount Pleasant children which Vision promised them and then never delivered.

      Another area of concern for Vancouver citizens is the controversial issue of whale and dolphin captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium. This matter needs public consultation and a referendum should be held to gauge voters wishes on this highly contentious matter. For some reason even though it would not have cost anything Vision chose not to place this whale referendum question on the ballot in the upcoming November 15 election. Concerning now is the aquarium has taken the park board to court and a new board will need to resolve this costly conflict.

      Vancouver voters have a choice to make on November 15. I am hoping you want a positive change in how park board operates. Hopefully with your vote we can collaboratively and respectfully work together to ensure our parks remain public and once and for all put an end to this ongoing pettiness and conflict at park board. You can see my entire platform at my website.

      I ask for your vote of confidence on November 15.

      Thank you.

      Comments

      6 Comments

      MannyHo

      Oct 14, 2014 at 12:33pm

      I can't believe Jamie Lee is against the OneCard system which provides more access to Community Centres, especially for those who are poor and disenfranchised. She is essentially siding with the wealthy people who think of their local Community Centre as a private club and want to keep the "undesirables" out.

      Trevor Loke, on the other hand, was a major proponent of the OneCard system, and also spearheaded policies that greatly improved trans and gender-variant inclusion in community centres. Jamie Lee was also against that for some bizarre reason!

      Why would anyone vote for someone who is against things just to be a contrarian, even when that with which she's against would benefit her and many others? No thank you!

      @MannyHo

      Oct 14, 2014 at 1:05pm

      Sorry Manny, but the OneCard system so far has been a complete failure. Sure, I agree with the idea, but Vision's implementation is a total failure.

      MD

      Oct 14, 2014 at 1:14pm

      MannyHo
      "I can't believe Jamie Lee is against the OneCard system which provides more access to Community Centres, especially for those who are poor and disenfranchised."

      The irony continues unabated, seeing as how this was the most "socialist" thing that Vision did, and yet COPE then decided to wrap themselves in the "defending local community" flag so they could oppose it

      Arachides

      Oct 14, 2014 at 8:22pm

      The OneCard system is a perfect example of Vision's determination to impose social engineering on the Citizens of Vancouver as opposed to Social Planning thru a considered, comprehensive, Fully Inclusive consultation process. Once they slithered into power Vision has bulldozed ahead remaking Vancouver in their version of society with zero regard for MOST neighbourhoods and the destruction they inflict. The move to gender neutral washrooms is laudable yet at the same time the COV has refused to ensure all washrooms are Fully Accessible, why?
      Somehow no monies available to improve access to a long-awaited Seniors centre in the Killarney nbhd yet tens of millions are somehow begging to be spent on purchasing the Arbutus Corridor to provide private garden spaces to millionaire homeowners at below market rates and the VPB has money to relocate illegally planted trees?
      The millions cut from the VPB budget could easily be recouped from contracting out some services such as grass-cutting, do you need to pay someone 60 thousand/yr to ride a lawnmower, eliminating deep discounts for Unionized employees that are non-residents of Vancouver annually receive at VPB facilities including private vehicle parking at COV lots, ensuring that non-residents of Vancouver who hold permits for VPB playing fields, diamonds etc pay a premium since they contribute nothing in municipal taxes and so on. The COV/VPB lose hundreds of thousands annually on Animal Control, $ 882,000.00 in 2013 alone, how about making dog owners at least pay their fair share. Stop the free ride for special interest groups and VPB insiders. The Pacific Indoor Lawn Bowling Club was gifted 350 thousand by the COV/VPB to move into a space at the Hillcrest Centre they lease back for one dollar/yr ( there's dozens more of these 'arrangements' )and let's not forget that the COV and VPB gave the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Club 5 years free rent at Nat Bailey Stadium.
      The question is, which person's or parties begging to be elected will provide for the Citizens of Vancouver honest accountability and premium dollar value for the monies the COV and VPB already receive.

      Imtiaz Popat

      Oct 19, 2014 at 6:21pm

      Since the IDEA Council candidate supports Whales in captivity, maybe IDEA can get some financial support from the Aquarium. Hamilton's position on Whales is not clear either, she wants a referendum on the November 15 ballot.

      Pia G

      Nov 3, 2014 at 6:48pm

      Great, a referendum so even more people who have no knowledge of marine animal welfare get to decide over scientists that do. Not getting my vote.