The Association Presidents Group (APG), representing 17 Community Centre Associations across the City of Vancouver, is urging Premier David Eby to reconsider his commitment to proceeding with the elimination of the Vancouver Park Board in the next legislative session.

The APG believes Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim’s attempt to abolish the elected Vancouver Park Board is undemocratic. We do not believe 8 City Councillors can decide to abolish the Park Board elected by thousands of Vancouver citizens in October 2022. We believe the Park Board can only be removed after a civic election in October 2026, and only if Vancouver citizens have made that choice. Neither the City nor the Province have a mandate to remove the Park Board.

Mayor Sim’s motion was announced and then passed within one week without any engagement with the Community Centre Associations and other key stakeholders. There was no transition plan to demonstrate the alleged benefits of such a decision. The reasons announced have been questioned by many stakeholders including dozens of former Park Board Commissioners and Community Centre Associations.

The elected Park Board has served Vancouver well for over 130 years. Voters created an elected Park Board because they wanted parks and recreation to be a high-profile priority in Vancouver. Commissioners run for office because they are passionate about protecting and expanding our parks and recreation programs. It is their priority concern and responsibility. The Mayor’s proposal would have Commissioners replaced by City Councillors who have a multitude of responsibilities resulting in a less responsive and effective working relationship for community stakeholders. City parks and recreation will not be the first priority for City Councillors.

The APG rejects the Mayor’s claim that the Park Board is broken. We believe it has been critically underfunded by City Council for several decades. Many of the examples cited by the Mayor for the elimination of the Park Board are in fact already the City of Vancouver’s responsibility. They own and maintain the buildings and infrastructure in the Park Board system. For example, Park Board frequently recommends renewal and expansion of Community Centres for additional space to accommodate children’s programs but it is City Councillors who decide on the funding. Parents complain that program spaces for their children are inadequate. Those concerns should be directed to City Hall.

The APG will continue to urge MLAs to not proceed with the Charter amendments to remove the elected Park Board. A decision to eliminate the elected Park Board must be determined democratically in the next municipal election if it remains part of the ABC platform. Let the voters of Vancouver make such an important decision.

For more information please contact:

Jerry Fast: 778 233 2525

Kathleen Bigsby: 604 202 3726