Those waiting to hear what park board commissioners think of the proposed long-term plan for the city’s pools, beaches and aquatics amenities will have to wait a little bit longer.
At the final meeting of 2017 Tuesday night, the board voted to rescind its previous motion to refer debate on the proposal to Jan. 15, and then voted to add the issue to the Jan. 29 meeting.
Vision commissioner Catherine Evans made the motions because Green commissioner, and outgoing board chair, Michael Wiebe will not be present for the Jan. 15 meeting.
While the motions passed, not all commissioners were in support. The NPA’s John Coupar and Sarah Kirby-Yung both voted against moving the discussion on the proposed VanSplash plan to a later date.
Coupar said the expectation was already set in the community that the proposal would come back to the board on Jan. 15. He also added that the move could set a difficult precedent for the board.
“The board requires a quorum to do its business. I’ve never seen in my experience a change for a particular commissioner,” he said.
“I’m also concerned about varying the business of the board for one commissioner because we will have situations when people do have travel plans or others and I think that the business of the board needs to continue,” Kirby-Yung said.
Commissioners heard from close to 50 speakers on the proposed — which lays out a plan for the future of Vancouver’s indoor and outdoor pools, wading pools, spray parks and beaches, and other aquatic attractions — over two nights Dec. 11 and 12.
The proposal includes a variety of elements: a destination natural outdoor pool along the Fraser River; a harbour deck in a prominent location; a new, larger pool at Britannia; a new destination pool at Connaught Park; an outdoor pool in South Vancouver, with Marpole and Killarney community centres as possible locations; as well as upgrading or replacing changing rooms, concession stands and food services at beaches.
In a previous version of the plan, Lord Byng and Templeton pools were slated for demolition. They were to be replaced by new, larger destination pools at Connaught Park and Britannia Community Centre. The recommendations were revised for the final report. The revised recommendations keep the pools open pending a review of the impacts of the new pools and consultation with pool users, the community and key stakeholders.
The park board has a new chair for the coming new year.
Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon was elected board chair for 2018 and Vision’s Catherine Evans was elected vice chair. NPA commissioner Casey Crawford was elected to another year as committee chair and Green commissioner Michael Wiebe was chosen as committee vice chair.
Wiebe is also the outgoing board chair.
“I’d like to thank all the commissioners for their support in this past year as chair,” he said. “It’s been an eye-opening year,” Wiebe said, adding that he has learned more in the past year than he has in a long time.
“Thank you all very much,” Mackinnon said. “This is a position I never thought I would find myself in. I look forward to our continuing commitment to reconciliation and the completion of the many initiatives commissioners have brought to this table over the past few years.
“There’s many that I think we need to get through and I think it will be a very, very successful term for all of us if we’re able to do that. Despite the multi-party nature of the board I believe that we have, by and large, worked well together over the past few years and I look forward to ten months of hard work.”