Imtiaz Popat: It’s time to bring credibility back to the Vancouver park board

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      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




      Nov 10, 2014 at 3:17pm

      So what do you want to do, Imtiaz? Release the currently captive dolphins and whales into the wild? That would be a far bigger disaster for those animals, they would be incredibly vulnerable after being cared for in captivity their entire lives. What a ridiculous and irresponsible thing to suggest.

      And the Community Centres should not be private clubs for certain wealthy areas, which is what has happened. I applaud Trevor Loke's initiative to make ALL of Vancouver's community centres available and open to everyone. Those suing are trying to maintain the status-quo, which is unfair and unsustainable.

      Your partisan slip is showing, Imtiaz.


      Nov 10, 2014 at 4:03pm

      The Park Board ignored COPE's call because THEY FAILED TO ELECT A SINGLE CANDIDATE to Park Board. COPE is over. Done. Kaput. Finished. The end.

      Partisan, huh?

      Nov 10, 2014 at 4:28pm

      Remove the mote in your own eye, MannyHo.

      Phasing out captivity means not replacing animals as they die. And your characterization of a candidate's op ed as partisan hen you're carry water for Trevor Loke is pretty funny.


      Nov 10, 2014 at 5:49pm

      I'm voting COPE. Besides, I like the idea of electing a Popat government!

      Anita Romaniuk

      Nov 11, 2014 at 4:36am

      Say, what, Manny Ho? Four of the six community associations who felt compelled to go to court over the disasterous attempt to impose an inequitable Joint Operating Agreement are on the east side of Vancouver! Hastings, Kensington, Killarney, and Sunset! Hardly wealthy areas of Vancouver!


      Nov 11, 2014 at 2:22pm

      "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."

      They don't want a partnership, they want full control.

      Imtiaz Popat

      Nov 11, 2014 at 4:47pm

      This statement was made after consulting them. This exactly what they are asking for and are fully supportive of the COPE position. You are welcome to ask them.


      Nov 12, 2014 at 5:03am

      I'm not voting for another Park Board that thinks it's good politics to kneecap the Aquarium, yet again.

      While the federal government cancels science programs and ignores the critical problems in our oceans, Vancouver Aquarium has been hiring those fired scientists, launching new research programs, rescuing whales, educating kids, employing 500 residents, and providing excellent care to animals (according to the report commissioned by the current Park Board and already paid for by taxpayers).

      But you think you know better. No thanks.

      Tommy Khang

      Nov 12, 2014 at 8:51am

      A COPE dominated Parks Board, I shudder to think of the result. The reality is that COPE is a shell of its former shelf, run by leftist idealists who come up with harebrained policies that will never work - the voters know this and that is why the Greens > COPE right now.

      Martin Dunphy

      Nov 12, 2014 at 12:30pm


      It was the Greens that put forward a motion for a plebiscite on cetacean captivity (certainly not the first) in the aquarium in 2010, and COPE did as well previously in 2006 (although it was voted down too). And your views on Vision and cetacean captivity are well known, since that is what brought you to this forum originally. So why not say what you really feel about the only remaining civic party with any pull?
      Just askin'.