Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim moves to axe city's elected Park Board

Park Board may be axed

Mayor Ken Sim says he's moving to abolish Vancouver's elected Park Board, which is the only such body in any Canadian city.

Sim told reporters at a news conference at City Hall on Wednesday that he would move a motion next week to ask the province to amend the Vancouver Charter to bring its parks under city council control.

He said this would involve eliminating the requirement for an elected Park Board, calling it a "long overdue" step representing a "new level of accountability."

"It's vitally important that at this moment in time that we take bold action to elevate the care of these essential spaces," he said.

Sim's ABC Vancouver party has a strong majority on council, making it likely the motion will pass.

But the move has been opposed by others in ABC. The party had six commissioners elected to the seven-member Park Board, but only three were on stage with the mayor as he made his announcement.

Commissioner Laura Christensen said in a post on social media on Wednesday morning that she and fellow ABC members Brennan Bastyovanszky and board chair Scott Jensen had been "removed" from the party.

Christensen shared a message on X, formerly known as Twitter, bearing the name of Sim's chief of staff, Trevor Ford, telling the three they would not take part in the transition "as you have chosen not to support the Mayor on the folding in of the Park Board."

Sim said the move would ensure long-term viability and growth of parks and recreation services, and the current system of management "just doesn't work."

He said the move would bring Vancouver in line with "every single city in North America," except Minneapolis.

"We don't see people clamouring to institute an elected park board in these cities," he said.

He said the move would result in operational efficiencies, freeing up staff time and getting things done quicker, and allow management "in harmony with the city's broader perspectives.".

He said "anyone who loves our parks, and always wants parks to be parks, and golf courses to be golf courses," would love the change.

"The system is broken and no amount of tweaking will fix it," Sim says.

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