Park commissioners unlock $20K to combat Vancouver mayor’s go to abolish board – BC Information

Vancouver park commissioners voted 4-3 Monday night to unlock $20,000 to find impartial lawful tips on no matter if the board would be profitable in quashing Mayor Ken Sim’s transfer to abolish the elected physique.

The movement introduced by the Green Party’s Tom Digby was in response to Sim’s announcement in December 2023 that he was beginning the procedure to abolish the board and provide parks and recreation beneath the handle of town council.

“This is our prospect in this article to stand up for ourselves and make it obvious to Vancouverites that we intend to protect this elected park board for all the values that it provides to us,” stated Digby, whose motion was supported by former ABC Vancouver commissioners Laura Christensen, Scott Jensen and Brennan Bastyovanszky.

The movement bundled an amendment from Bastyovanszky to have whichever regulation firm is employed to also present a authorized view on whether or not Sim’s go — which was supported by all 7 ABC councillors in a December council vote — violates the Canadian Charter of Legal rights and Freedoms.

“That’s an crucial a person,” said Bastyovanszky, who is chair of the board. “This would set a terrifying precedent throughout the region where votes don’t make any difference — where by no make a difference how numerous individuals come out, their voice can be snuffed out at any position if a person in electricity does not like what they listen to.”

‘Wishful thinking’

ABC commissioners Jas Virdi, Angela Haer and Marie-Claire Howard opposed Digby’s request for lawful counsel, arguing it was a waste of taxpayers’ money. Haer also proposed the board could conclude up expending a large amount far more cash than $20,000 — “maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars” — if a legal situation begins.

Haer: “Where’s all that revenue heading to appear from?”

Digby: I am anticipating that the mayor will, in his very good sense, withdraw the motion [before legal fees mount] and then we are all good.”

Haer: “It’s wishful imagining.”

Digby mentioned the $20,000 will appear from the park board standard manager’s funds. He advised the board may well not have to spend the complete volume, and potentially only a portion of the sum.

“You can normally convey an software for $2,500 at B.C. Supreme Courtroom,” stated Digby, who is an intellectual house attorney. “So I imply you could basically get your assistance and go for it.”

Integrity commissioner

All 3 ABC commissioners, who have sided with the mayor considering that he introduced his intention to abolish the board, argued the fewer expensive route to seek out a authorized feeling would be by using the board’s integrity commissioner, Lisa Southern, who also serves in the exact same position for the metropolis.

Digby and his supporters mentioned Southern procedures on perform of commissioners and is not mandated to provide authorized viewpoints for an elected human body. It was not clarified by park board workers all through discussion regardless of whether Southern could provide a authorized belief.

The discussion was spirited at periods, with Howard referring to the elected overall body as a “lame duck” — a remark that induced board chair Bastyovanszky to warning the commissioner “to be respectful in your phrases.”

To start with nations

Howard is a volunteer of the transition group the mayor has produced to convey parks and recreation less than management of metropolis council. However, the group can’t total its perform right until the provincial government agrees to amend the Vancouver Constitution.

The govt initial wants the metropolis to explain thoughts over land possession, the long term of personnel at the park board and seek the advice of with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations.

Leading David Eby has not pushed back from the mayor’s request, but has informed reporters it is not his government’s best priority.

Also, only the Musqueam has publicly stated its help for the transition, with the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh only agreeing to meet up with with the provincial authorities to focus on the city’s proposed amendments and how they relate to the Provincial Declaration Act.

‘Don’t fall down dead’

Digby made it very clear at Monday’s conference that he was not willing to give up on the battle to maintain an elected physique that was very first made in 1890 — a issue a couple dozen former park commissioners have made in a marketing campaign to cease the board’s abolition.

“I have a principle in existence that I don’t slide down useless right up until I’ve been shot,” he claimed. “And opposite to some of my friends, I get the sense close to the table that they are ready to fall down dead right before the shot is even fired.”

Digby and more than 100 people collected at a town corridor meeting Feb. 1 at town hall, wherever all but a single of the speakers opposed the mayor’s shift. The conference was structured by Inexperienced Bash councillors Pete Fry and Adriane Carr, alongside with OneCity’s Christine Boyle, who voted in opposition to abolition of the board.

On Wednesday, council is scheduled to hear from employees on up coming ways on Sim’s proposal, which he has argued will correct “a broken program.”

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