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Vancouver Park Board Chair asks Mayor and Council to reject new governance model for PNE-Hastings Park

June 9 2015

Hastings Park Gardens and Nature Walks

The Chair of the Vancouver Park Board has written to Mayor Gregor Robertson and City councillors asking them to reject a recommendation going to Council tomorrow to eliminate elected Park Board representation from the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) Board of Directors and preclude elected Park Board oversight of Hastings Park.

“The basis for this recommendation is unclear, and the public will likely perceive this as an unfortunate measure and not in keeping with the historic long-term respectful relationship between the Mayor, Council and elected Park Board,” said Park Board Chair John Coupar.

Recommendation made in a staff report

The recommendation to remove the Park Board Commissioner’s position on the PNE Board is contained in a staff report entitled Hastings Park/ Pacific National Exhibition Governance Review and By-Law Update. The report asks City Council to approve updated bylaws for the PNE that will serve to eliminate Park Board representation on the PNE Board of Directors, chaired by Councillor Raymond Louie.

Coupar’s letter comes on the heels of a unanimous Park Board motion – passed June 8 – to direct the Chair to write to the Mayor and Council expressing deep opposition to the proposed elimination of an elected Park Board official from the composition of the PNE Board of Directors.

The Board further directed the Chair to remind Mayor and Council of a motion – passed unanimously by Park Board in May 2013 – that Park Board governance of Hastings Park is the best option for achieving transparency and accountability in decision making and increasing public access to the park’s green spaces and recreational users.

About Hastings Park

Hastings Park is the city’s second oldest park, dating back to 1889 – just two years after Stanley Park was established.

It was originally intended to be the premier destination park in the north east corner of the city.

Hastings Park improvements

The Park Board has added green space, including the Sanctuary, the Italian Garden, Plateau Park, and improved greenway connections throughout the site. The Hastings Park/PNE Master Plan outlines a plan to increase park space in Hastings Park from the current 30 acres to 76 acres.

In his letter, Chair Coupar expresses concern that elimination of elected Park Board oversight for one of our City’s largest parks represents a step backward and questions whether this move is a shift away from re-establishing Hastings as a premier destination park in the City.

Empire Fields in Hastings Park are currently an official practice and training venue for the Women’s World Cup of Soccer. A grand opening community celebration for the redeveloped Hastings Park is planned for Saturday, July 18

Discover Hastings Park

View looking northeast over the future Hastings Park.

Hastings Park / PNE Master Plan

Hastings Park / PNE Master Plan: The Fair in the Park — a 30-year initiative to transform the Hastings Park of today into a greener, year-round destination for park use, culture, sport, recreation, and fun.