To form committees, not form committees or dissolve them—that is the question.
At least that’s been the question several park boards have pondered soon after being elected. The board will decide Monday night whether to consolidate its planning and environment and services and budgets committees into a single entity called the Park Board Committee.
In 2011, the park board held 19 regular board meetings and 12 committee meetings. Many agenda items decided at regular board meetings are first discussed at committee meetings, which gives the commissioners an opportunity to gather information before making recommendations or decisions on issues and proposals.
According to a park board staff report, members of the public are often forced to make presentations to a committee and then again to the board, an approach not followed at city council.
If approved, the newly formed Park Board Committee will meet prior to regular board meetings.
This rang a bell for me, so I did a quick search of past stories I’ve written. The first was from 2003 with the headline “Committee system coming to park board.” That story detailed how the then COPE-dominated park board had voted to create three committees—finance, planning and environment, and culture and recreation—to better reach the public.
I wrote a story in 2006, not long after the next civic election, with the headline, “COPE doesn’t appreciate NPA’s artistic approach: Dust up at park board over cutting committee.” That story noted how the then NPA-dominated board was absorbing the culture and recreation committee into planning and environment. The next year, 2007, I wrote a story with the headline, “COPE accuses NPA of diluting park board democracy,” which detailed how the NPA-dominated park board was going to collapse two of its committees, finance, and environment and planning into one. Now it looks like the Vision Vancouver-dominated park board will roll finance and planning and environment into one committee. And so it goes.
The owners of the Boathouse Restaurant at Kits Beach want to build a rooftop, outdoor patio, and a public meeting is planned for Feb. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. on the ground floor at the concession.
I couldn’t find a report on the proposal, but there is a link to a short survey on the park board’s website that asks, “How often do you visit the Boathouse?” “How far from the Boathouse do you live?” What is your age category?” Do you use other restaurants in the area?” And finally, “Do you support the proposed seating on the roof deck?”
Public consultation has been ongoing and as a result the original plans for the patio have been revised. The survey is available at vancouver.ca/parks. Look for the Public Consultations link on the lower, right hand side of the page.
Whale of a time
The animal-rights group No Whales in Captivity is holding a rally outside the Vancouver Aquarium next Thursday night protesting what it says is an unethical decision by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to host a party for international media next to the whale tank. The AAAS is hosting its annual general meeting and conference in Vancouver Feb. 16 to 20, which includes a symposium entitled Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans: Ethical and Policy Implications of Intelligence.”
No Whales says it hopes some of the journalists at the party will wander out to the Feb. 16 evening rally to hear its side of the debate.