I have been following park board issues closely for almost a decade, and the issues have not changed that much. I first ran for Vancouver park board in 1996 with the Green party. Running with COPE in 2014, I have many of the same concerns I had in 1996.
We phased out the zoo but we still have whales and dolphins in captivity. COPE called for a ballot question on phasing out whales and dolphins in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium for this election, but the call was ignored. Instead, the Vision-dominated park board imposed a ban on breeding of cetaceans in captivity. This is a baby step in the right direction but it still keeps whales and dolphins in captivity.
COPE park board candidates strongly support the ban on breeding whales in captivity, but we urgently need to take the next step. Vision’s has shown they won’t go any further. A top priority of a COPE park board will be a referendum on whales and dolphins in captivity next spring.
While the issues facing park board commissioners have remained the same for almost a decade, community engagement under Vision Vancouver has deteriorated drastically. There are currently seven lawsuits against the park board, a sad indictment of a failed process.
Among these lawsuits are a group of nine community centre associations who have sued after lengthy and failed negotiations over who makes the decisions about community centres.
The relationship is so broken that only Vince Ready, who recently negotiated an end to such long-standing and complicated disputes like the Ikea lockout and the teachers’ strike, can fix it. What does that say about the park board under Vision? Their relationship with the community has deteriorated so much that Canada’s top mediator will have to step in to fix the situation.
Another Vision majority on the park board would be a disaster. The NPA would overturn the breeding ban on whales and dolphins and fund our schools and community centres through corporate donations including oil companies. A COPE park board will settle the lawsuits by the community centre associations out of court and work in full partnership with community centre associations.
COPE is deeply committed to meaningful public engagement that empowers communities to make decisions. We will champion a referendum to phase out whales and dolphins in captivity and we will put the banning of oil tanker traffic through Burrard Inlet to the public.
These issues cannot wait, and cannot be addressed without the participation of Vancouverites.
It’s time to elect park board commissioners who have the experience and deep understanding of the issues to bring credibility back to the park board.
On November 15, vote the COPE park board slate:
- Ezra Bloom
- Urooba Jamal
- Imtiaz Popat
- Anita Romaniuk (park board commissioner 2002-2005)
- Cease Wyss