To the editor:
Re: "Police called to marathon meeting, Feb. 6.
Based on the actions of the elected commissioners at a hastily called "special" park board meeting on Monday evening, it's clear that the decision was made before the doors even opened.
Despite the lack of notice and a last-minute change of venue, more than 300 people showed up. Seventy-three signed up to speak to the board and voice opinions about a proposal that, if not handled properly, could have a profoundly negative impact on community centres across the city.
Some used their five minutes to voice frustrations, while a couple agreed with the report and proposal presented by park board general manager Malcolm Bromley - a proposal that was only released publicly a few short hours before the meeting began.
However, the vast majority of the public called into question several key pieces of data referenced in Mr. Bromley's report. At one point, he was finally forced to confess that his staff did not verify several pieces of information and there were bound to be some inaccuracies. It's important to understand that these data formed the basis of and rationale for the sole motion allowed on the table that evening by park board chair Sarah Blyth.
What was particularly shocking as an observer was watching the reactions of many of the elected commissioners as their electorate spoke at the podium. Constructive criticism was met with stone faces, commissioners whispered to one another while thoughtful comments were made, and informed citizens such as former commissioner Bill McCreery were cut off abruptly.
During a short recess called in the fourth hour of the meeting, several councilors huddled and rolled their eyes with senior members of the Vision Vancouver party, including Stepan Vdovine.
The crowd had enough by midnight and pleaded for the chair to adjourn the meeting so that "clearer heads could prevail," but the answer was no. Finally, at 3 a.m., the last person spoke. The motion was voted through - as it was always going to be. The crowd erupted with clear displeasure; heralding in what is sure to be a long and bitter battle for control of the community's money.
Trevor Boudreau, Vancouver