Ken Sim promises to abolish the Vancouver park board if he's elected mayor

His former colleagues in the NPA think it's a foolish idea

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      A businessman who's hoping to win a rematch against Mayor Kennedy Stewart has just put out a provocative policy proposal.

      Ken Sim said that if he's elected mayor, he will "commit" to abolishing the elected Vancouver park board.

      Sim is hoping to be the mayoral candidate for A Better City. In 2018, he was the NPA mayoral candidate, losing to Stewart by fewer than 1,000 votes.

      "Yesterday, it was announced that the Vancouver Aquarium was being purchased, and that at an undisclosed time, in an undisclosed meeting, the park board may have approved the sale of the Vancouver Aquarium to a new owner," Sim said. 

      "The Vancouver Aquarium is a Crown Jewel of our Vancouver parks, a place where generations of Vancouverites have learned about and come to understand conservation and the priceless value of our coastal ecosystem," he continued. "The Vancouver Aquarium has drawn people in, and has helped them engage in the great work that Ocean Wise continues to do."

      Sim said that if he secures a nomination from "an electors organization", he will try to recruit park board candidates who will be committed to being the last elected officials at this level of government.

      NPA mayoral candidate John Coupar has been an elected park commissioner since 2011.

      NPA politicians past and present, including Coupar, have slammed Sim's proposal.

      Former councillor George Affleck called it a "headline" and not a "real proposition".

      Affleck also said that Sim will face constant attacks from supporters of the board, which "will sidetrack his campaign".

      NPA councillor and former park commissioner Melissa De Genova is another one of those who condemned the idea.

      "Ken talks a lot about what he wants to abolish but I haven't heard him offer solutions... not for Parks, Housing, Small Business or Transportation," tweeted NPA councillor and former park commissioner Melissa De Genova.

      Park board commissioners are elected under the provisions of the Vancouver Charter, which is provincial legislation. 

      The only way that an elected park board could be abolished would be if the B.C. legislature approves a change in the law.

      Under the Vancouver Charter, the elected board has exclusive jurisdiction and control of all areas designated as permanent parks in Vancouver.

      It also has power to provide accommodation for sports and games and entertainment through musicial, theatrical, and other activities in parks.

      The park board was created in 1888, two years after the founding of the city, to manage Stanley Park.