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Proposed 2014 budget makes long term investment in green spaces and active living

December 3 2013

"This budget will deliver services that are relevant and important to residents while ensuring we live within our means and manage our world class assets,” said Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth.

Park Board office at 2099 Beach Ave.

At a public meeting last night the Vancouver Park Board reviewed the proposed 2014 operating and capital budget, which takes a balanced approach to funding for new and enhanced services, productivity initiatives and business development. 

The Park Board budget is a component of the City of Vancouver’s proposed 2014 budget.

"This budget will deliver services that are relevant and important to residents while ensuring we live within our means and manage our world class assets,” said Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth. “It will allow us to plan, design and build more parks and green infrastructure while transforming how we maintain them. On the recreation side, improved services will be available across the city's network of community centres through increased access and new technology."

Building on 2013 successes

The 2014 budget will build on the 2013 successes and record metrics for many of the Park Board’s facilities and park projects: 

  • More than 80,000 residents (so far) have signed up for the popular single access OneCard for city-wide recreation services
  • An innovative program put artists in studio residencies at selected field houses to pursue their art and involve the local community
  • Development of the new Creekway Park turned a parking lot into a lush green space, improving pedestrian and bike access and daylighting a lost stream
  • Wildlife habitats were restored at Stanley Park, Langara Golf Course, and New Brighton Park, expanding and enhancing the urban forest  
  • Diners at park restaurants and concessions enjoyed more sustainable menus promoting locally sourced food options 
  • Overall pools usage was at an all-time high with attendance of nearly 3 million visits and enrolments in learn-to-swim programs topping 53,000  

Highlights of the proposed $108.2 million operating budget

Parks:

  • Implementation of an urban forest strategy to grow and maintain a healthy urban forest for future generations
  • Productivity measures through new equipment and focus on attendance management 

Recreation:

  • Continued OneCard pass rollout to ensure wider and more inclusive programs for all residents
  • Replacement of recreation registration software to improve the customer experience 

Local Food:

  • Continuing priority on increased sustainability through community gardens, farmers markets and planting fruit trees 

The proposed $108.2 million operating budget represents a $2.3 million increase over 2013, of which $1.6 million comes from Park Board revenues, and $0.7 million from tax based revenue (a 1.3% increase). 

Highlights of the proposed $19.3 million capital budget

  • Ongoing and new urban forestry programs 
  • Development of playgrounds, tennis courts, playing fields and park pathways 
  • Greening of Hillcrest and Riley parks 
  • Building of Empire Fields, Plateau Park and greenways in Hastings Park 
  • Upgrades to community centre facilities

2014 is the final year of the three-year capital plan.

At a special meeting December 10, Council will consider the proposed 2014 operating and capital budget. At a December 16 regular meeting the Park Board will vote on its budget (subject to Council approval). At a December 17 regular meeting Council will vote on the 2014 budget.