Central Park: Lazy liaison?

The board of the Riley Park/Hillcrest Community Association has applied to the park board to replace Vision Vancouver vice-chair Aaron Jasper as its liaison.

Each park board commissioner acts as liaison between specific community centres and the park board. Jasper is the liaison for the Marpole-Oakridge, West End/Coal Harbour and Riley Park/Hillcrest community centres. He also acts as a liaison for the Stanley Park Ecology Society, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Vancouver Aquarium and Vancouver Food Policy Council. (Jasper also has a full-time job as a realtor and is the father of a baby girl.)

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Riley Park association member Jesse Johl says Jasper attended a meeting in February and then the board didn't see or hear from him again until July. Johl adds during the February meeting Jasper was texting the entire evening. "He just seemed very disinterested," said Johl. "And then he just disappeared."

Johl says if a community centre association board member misses three meetings without cause, they're automatically removed.

"And since we hadn't seen him for months we decided to find someone more interested," said Johl. "I guess he's just got other things to do and that's OK, we're all busy."

The board has since requested that Vision Vancouver commissioner Niki Sharma take Jasper's place as liaison. Johl was one of two NPA candidates acclaimed to run in the last civic election, but he dropped out of the race at the last minute.

Jasper says he's "baffled" by the Riley board's decision. "Actually, I have yet to be invited to one meeting since February," said Jasper. "I've been liaison to this board for three years and was always invited to meetings until Jesse became president."

Jasper adds more than half the board has resigned and been replaced since February, so he suspects it's facing challenges.

"The irony is I had a really good rapport with the former board," said Jasper. "And I have no intention of asking for a reassignment. That's not the way it works. I intend to continue to wait for an invitation from this board to one of its meetings."

MAN CHARGED

Last week, 70-year-old retiree Abraham Kiewiet was arrested in connection with charges of sexual misconduct. That's of interest here because Kiewiet is a former park board employee.

It's alleged a man preyed on four young boys in the 1970s and '80s after meeting them during swimming or lifeguard lessons. Kiewiet was both an instructor at the Vancouver Lifeguard School and a volunteer coach with the YMCA aquatic safety program. He was arrested Wednesday.

As I reported last week on the Courier website, the Vancouver Police Department conducted numerous inquiries and as a result, so far, four victims have come forward. At the time of the offences, the victims were between the ages of 11 and 17. The men are now in their 40s and 50s.

Kiewiet has been charged with five counts of indecent assault on a male and five counts of gross indecency. Kiewiet was released on a promise to appear motion and his next scheduled court appearance is Oct. 10, at 222 Main St. VPD Const. Lindsey Houghton told me Tuesday morning that as the result of the media attention the story has received, more information is coming in, but nothing that can be made public.

Sex Crimes Unit Investigators continue to conduct inquiries and believe that there are other victims yet to come forward. Police encourage anyone with pertinent information to contact the tip line at 604-717-0618.

sthomas@vancourier.com

Twitter: @sthomas10

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