Cuts to Park Board Budget Hit Historic High

Under Vision Vancouver’s watch, cuts to the park board budget have been $5.3 million which is over four times more than the previous three boards combined.  I understand that we are in challenging economic times however when surveyed, Vancouver residents rank park board services as one of the top three departments that they do not want to see cuts to.

In 2010 the Vision Vancouver park board caucus was unanimous in approving nearly $4 million in cuts which resulted in the elimination of critical summer programs for children and the closing of the Bloedel Conservatory.  Thanks to the valiant efforts of The Friends of the Bloedel and the outcry from thousands of residents across every corner of this city, the Bloedel was saved. 

 The Vision Vancouver park board caucus and council don’t get it when it comes to ensuring park board services and facilities need to be protected and advocated for. I’m convinced that if it were up to City Manager Penny Ballem, the current elected park board would be replaced with an appointed board.

Green Party Park Commissioner, Stuart Mackinnin and I are aligned on this issue – see our news release below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 26, 2010

VISION VANCOUVER’S CUTS TO PARK BOARD BUDGET HIT HISTORIC HIGH

 Reductions to Park Board operating budget four times higher under Vision Vancouver’s watch

 Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Park Board Commissioners Ian Robertson and Stuart Mackinnon are calling on Vision Vancouver to return the park board’s operating budget to historic levels.  Since being elected in 2008 the Vision Vancouver park board caucus has slashed the Board’s operating budget more than four times more than the previous three boards combined. 

“This is another example of the Vision Vancouver park board caucus not advocating for the protection and adequate funding of the park board.  Clearly they are getting their marching orders from the Mayor’s office on how to vote.  It’s time they stand up and say no more cuts”, says Park Board Commissioner Ian Robertson. “It’s clear that the Mayor and his colleagues have decided that chicken coops and bike lanes are more important than community centre programs for children and the elderly. This shouldn’t be about politics, it should be about supporting families and the aged.”

“The Vision Vancouver commissioners have the opportunity this year to finally stand up to their city council comrades and say enough is enough. It is now time to start re-investing in our parks; time to encourage recreation”, adds Commissioner Mackinnon. “Times are tough—I know that. But when the economy is hardest hit is when people need their neighbourhood parks and recreational services the most”.

The board’s operating budget has been reduced by $5.3 million since 2009 versus $1.2 million in the previous eight years combined.  Recreation services has seen the biggest reduction within the board’s operating budget since Vision Vancouver took power with over $2 million being cut which has resulted in valuable children’s summer programs being eliminated.

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