Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Hastings Park must be returned to the people. This park was given in trust for the enjoyment of children, youth and families. It was never intended for Casino purposes. The legal theft of the park by the City and other forces is absolutely unacceptable. Hastings Park belongs in perpetuity to the citizens of the East End. Please consider attending part of the appeal to show your support--Jamie Lee

Hastings Park Conservancy v. City of Vancouver
January 29, 30, 31 BC Court of Appeals Action No. CA034437

Hastings Park - the only Park Not Governed by Parks Board .

Ramifications for Public Parks and Democracy

The Hastings Park Conservancy (HPC), a volunteer organization advocating for the restoration of Hastings Park, will petition the BC Court of Appeals on January 29, 30, 31 in the hopes of overturning a 2006 ruling in their case against the City of Vancouver. The appeal hopes to demonstrate that Vancouver City Council usurped the jurisdiction of the independently elected Parks Board in permitting Great Canadian Casino to install slot machines at Hastings Park (2004). HPC also hopes to expose how the City of Vancouver violated its own zoning procedures during the Public Hearings and Development Board processes.

Desired Outcomes
Recognition of Hastings Park as a Park
Governance of All Park Land by the Parks Board.
Completion of the government approved 1996 plan for Re-greening Hastings Park.
Cancellation of the plans for a 24/7 privately owned Casino in a public park and residential neighbourhood.

This case has significant ramifications for:
· The future of public parks in Vancouver
· The process of democracy in British Columbia.

Elected Parks Board Jurisdiction

Very few cities in North America have the distinction of an elected Parks Board; its presence demonstrates the value Vancouver has historically placed on parkland. The Conservancy's case seeks to defend the exclusive jurisdiction of Parks Board over parklands as provided by the Vancouver Charter (section 488).

A successful appeal, on grounds of Parks Board jurisdiction, will reaffirm the autonomy of our Parks Board and strengthen its accountability to voters.

Democracy: Process of Public Hearings and Zoning
The operating agreement (lease) between the Great Canadian Casino and the City of Vancouver was created and signed, by city staff, behind closed doors. HPC also believes that council established a number of yet unfulfilled pre-requisites to be completed before a Development Permit could be issued. Notifications, consultations and public hearings do not have meaningful accountability to the electorate, if terminology is redefined or invented, goal posts are moved, and decisions from public hearings are ignored.

A successful appeal on grounds of procedural fairness will empower all citizens to hold city council accountable to the citizens whose well-being they are entrusted to protect.