Monday, March 09, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


It appears that Mayor Gregor Robertson would like to turn the under-used City Hall park into community gardens. I have been informed that prior to 1934, this park was called Strathcona park. That would make sense as the park now called Strathcona up until the 70's was called False Creek park.

The community gardens plan by Mayor Robertson which I think is a good idea is being opposed by NPA opposition Councillor Suzanne Anton. While it is important that Ms Anton takes on an opposition role, after all she is an opposition member and her job many believe is to oppose, however, what I don't understand is this. Why is Councillor Anton who is a former Park Board Commissioner not raising this issue in context to community gardens normally falling under the purview of Park board? Although in a few cases City Hall has jurisdiction over some community gardens being on city land.

Interesting though to note is that prior to 1934 City Hall park was under Park board jurisdiction and perhaps the time is germane that we have a discussion about returning this park to the Park board.

Other questions that need asking is who pays for the work preparing the beds for community gardens on city owned land? Is it Park board staff who have the expertise in this area or is it engineering staff at City Hall?

The Vice-Chair of Vancouver Park board, Commissioner Loretta Woodcock thought this was a good question and in fact she is going to look into this matter because as she puts it "we do the work on the street boulevards planting circles because we have the expertise. Yet the land belongs to the City".

It seems that Park board may be getting a raw deal here in that it pays for upkeep on these planting circles yet the City has jurisdiction over them.

It will be interesting to hear what Mayor Robertson and Councillor Anton have to say in light of the aforementioned questions regarding ownership of City Hall park and the planting circles on our street boulevards.

Jamie Lee Hamilton