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Letter to Premier Eby

CC: Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs
Niki Sharma, Attorney General
Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development, and Innovation
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health

December 15, 2023

Dear Premier Eby,

We hope you have been following the situation of Vancouver City Council and its efforts to abolish the democratically elected Vancouver Park Board.

We write to you as a group of 30 former elected Park Board Commissioners across the political spectrum, who have come together to save the Park Board and defend our democratic process. We have been appalled by the anti democratic decisions of Mayor Sim and the majority of City Council. They have no mandate or right to abolish the elected Park Board and they have dismissed the concerns of Vancouverites in this regard. We urge you to respond to the Park Board’s concerns outlined in the letter they sent to you and the motion the Board passed on December 11.

We have issued two public statements; one before the Vancouver City Council meeting where the Mayor’s political motion was debated on Park Board abolition and one today with a focus on what this means with the request now made to the provincial level. Both are attached.

Notwithstanding your views on the functions and need for an elected Vancouver Park Board, we hope you will agree, that the process undertaken so far has been shocking and heavy handed and without cause. During yesterday’s Council meeting it was apparent that no consultation has been undertaken with stakeholders. Many Community Centre Associations representatives have spoken out in opposition to this plan, noting they were not consulted and learned about this from the media. Eleven have signed a joint statement noting they have been ‘blindsided’ with this abrupt motion, and it is expected more associations will sign on to this letter after they hold the next Board meetings. Furthermore, the City is not upholding the principles of its own UNDRIP commitments and struck down an amendment to carry out proper consultation with First Nations.

We implore your government to uphold democratic practise and institutions and not rush into any precipitous course in responding to the Mayor’s demand for Vancouver Charter changes. There is no urgency to the matter. But there is an urgency for due process, intelligent consideration, and consensus that the Mayor has decided to ignore.

We invite you to view our statement – publicly released – and give serious consideration to our request. We hope to continue further discussion with you and your government. 

Yours sincerely,

Former Park Board commissioners

Malcolm Ashford
Tricia Barker
Constance Barnes
Sarah Blyth
Roslyn Cassels
John Coupar
Casey Crawford
Libby Davies
Allan De Genova
Melissa De Genova
Camil Dumont
Alan Fetherstonhaugh
Dermot Foley
Gwen Giesbrecht
Raj Hundal
John Irwin
Aaron Jasper
Tim Louis
Stuart MacKinnon
Bill McCreery
Laura McDiarmid
Donna Morgan
Lyndsay Poaps
Christopher Richardson
Ian Robertson
Anita Romaniuk
Erin Shum
Michael Wiebe
Pat Wilson
Loretta Woodcock

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