If approved next Monday, the Vancouver park board will soon launch a one-year trial that will see food trucks located in test parks that offer little or no food services.
Vision Vancouver park board commissioner Constance Barnes says not only does the board want to offer park visitors more food options, it's also time to start generating more revenue.
"We can't always be at the city scratching at the door for money," she says. "If approved, this is going to be the start of a big change that will see the park board generating more revenue on its own."
Barnes says locations being considered for the initial trial are the Information Booth in Stanley Park and the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park. "Queen Elizabeth Park gets lots of tourist buses, but there's nowhere for those tourists to grab a snack," says Barnes. "It's the same with the Information Booth."
Barnes says the park board will have a process in place to choose suitable food trucks that offer healthy choices. If all goes well, the program will expand after one year. One idea, she added, is to have food trucks at sports fields, such as Andy Livingstone Park, that either offer no food at all or have seasonal concession stands. "Those fields are used for soccer all year long," says Barnes. "It's the same with baseball fields."
A former park board commissioner says a proposal to change the way parks and public spaces are named by the Vision Vancouver-dominated park board opens the door to nepotism.
Stuart Mackinnon served one term on the park board as a Green Party commissioner until last November.
Mackinnon says if the proposal is approved, the change means the community has less say in naming parks and public spaces, while the politicians have more. He says this is the way parks were named before 2007, when it was decided the community should lead the naming process.
According to a parks staff report, there are a number of new parks that will be named within the next two years. As a result, the report says the way things are done today is too "resource consuming."
A committee created for each park with approval from the park board names parks. Staff wants to eliminate committees and move to a web-based model, which would still include community input and final approval from the board.
In an email to the Courier, Mackinnon said under the new protocol it will be staff that solicits ideas and then prepares a report to the commissioners, who will then choose the name.
"This can lead to political interference and the naming of parks and public spaces after friends and allies of the particular board of the day with no recourse for the community," says Mackinnon. "The 2007 protocol was created to stop any hint of favoritism and to put the authority in the community."
Vision Vancouver vicechair Aaron Jasper says the power will still be in the hands of the public. He adds it was staff that suggested the change because today's process is too cumbersome.
"We're not returning to the good old days when sitting commissioners sat around the table naming parks after themselves," says Jasper. "This just offers a more balanced approach."
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