Central Park

RUNNING MAN

Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Raj Hundal confirmed to me this week he will run for the NDP in the next provincial election.

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In the past few months I've asked Hundal several times if the rumours he'd seek an NDP nomination were true, but couldn't nail him down. Those rumours were confirmed July 10 following an NDP nomination meeting when Hundal beat out three others to win the candidacy for SurreyTynehead.

Hundal says in his nearly three years with the park board he's learned working well with the provincial government is vital to get projects done. "While municipal governments are distinct, there's a lot of overlap with the provincial government and they need to work together for positive change," says Hundal, who is planning to move to Surrey.

Hundal notes the earliest a provincial election could take place is September or October, which means he can complete his park board term, which ends in November.

PAY IN THE PARK

I recently heard from a reader upset with the prices being charged at the Klahowya Village display in Stanley Park.

Christine McCrea wrote that it cost her family of four $43 to ride the train at the Stanley Park Farm Yard because the price is now tied into the First Nations display. With the additional cost of $10 for parking, she notes it's an expensive day at the park.

But McCrea says Klahowya Village is a bargain compared to the neighbouring Vancouver Aquarium, which charges $27 for adults and $17 for children ages four to 12. Students pay $21. Throw in parking and lunch and a day at the aquarium for a family of four, including one child and a student, will run you about $150. While annual memberships quickly pay for themselves, I doubt tourists will find solace in that.

The free Stanley Park shuttle is also no more and instead visitors pay an adult fee of $10 and $5 for children for all-day passes for the Vancouver Trolley Company's Hop-on, Hop-off Tour.

Across town the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre at Kits Point charges $15 for adults and $10.75 for students ages five to 18 and seniors, while the admission fee at Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park is $5 for an adult and $3.48 for seniors and youth and $2.50 for children ages three to 12.

WASTED GREEN

Another reader emailed me to ask how the park board and city plans to care for the tens of thousands of new trees in the city's Greenest City Action Plan and Street Tree Program when it's struggling to find the funds to care for the trees already there. Not to mention the fact grass is being left to grow in some parks due to a budget shortfall.

Annette Trinder says she watched recently as two park board employees attempted to cut overgrown grass on a small triangle of land near her home. She said a half-hour job for one person became a 90-minute struggle for the two employees as they battled pouring rain to cut grass longer than 10 inches. Trinder said her tax dollars are being wasted by a lack of common sense.

sthomas@vancourier.com

Twitter @sthomas10

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