Vision Vancouver maintains park board control

COPE commissioners wiped off park board

Vision Vancouver will dominate park board for a second term after winning five seats out of seven in Saturday's civic election.

Incumbent Constance Barnes led the five Vision park board commissioners elected with almost 64,000 votes. Also elected to park board Saturday night were Vision Vancouver's Sara Blyth with 62,198 votes, Aaron Jasper (58,343), Niki Sharma (58,330) and Trevor Loke (49,878). Winning seats for the NPA, and now official opposition, are John Coupar (50,375) and Melissa De Genova (56,501).

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The NPA dominated the near win category, including Casey Crawford, Gabby Kalaw, Jason Upton and Dave Pasin in eight, ninth, tenth and eleventh place consecutively, with incumbent Stuart Mackinnon of the Green Party placing 12th with 44,761 votes. Jamie Lee Hamilton received the most votes for an independent with a respectable 19,495. Longtime park board watchdog Eleanor Hadley also did well as an independent, garnering almost 11,000 votes. These numbers are as posted by the city Monday afternoon.

And for the first time in a decade there will be no COPE commissioners on the park board, a far cry from the party's dominance in 2002 with five out of seven seats. In a surprising upset, COPE park board candidate Brent Granby placed 13th with 42,769 votes followed by fellow COPE member Donalda Greenwall-Baker with 39,033.

COPE commissioner Loretta Woodcock, who is retiring from the park board in two weeks after serving nine years with COPE, said she was "extraordinarily disappointed" Granby didn't win a seat on park board.

"When you have two parties it can be very polarizing," said Woodcock. "But the role of the third party is to be the watchdog and Brent would have done that well. He's already been working behind the scenes."

Barnes told the Courier Monday that while she's delighted with her party's win, she's also disappointed Granby didn't win a seat on park board and that COPE's Ellen Woodsworth didn't get re-elected to council.

"It breaks my heart," said Barnes. "They are great, hard workers at the grassroots level. I had looked forward to working with Brent. He shows up to every meeting and is very involved."

Barnes said she's also going to miss Mackinnon.

"He's very smart," she said.

As for working with Coupar and De Genova after the fierce battle between Vision and the NPA during the election, Barnes is pragmatic.

"I will do everything possible to make this the most effective board ever," said Barnes. "Our job now is to work together."

Coupar agreed. He told the Courier that while fighting to save the Bloedel Conservatory from demolition, he worked closely with the Vision-dominated board.

"It was Vision that got the roof for the conservatory in the capital plan," said Coupar. "I think we can work well together for the best of the city."

Coupar admitted he has much to learn, but added his goal is unwavering.

"The reason I ran for park board is because I believe our parks and green space must be well looked after because that's part of the Vancouver lifestyle," he said. "And I intend to do that."

The park board commissioners will be sworn in Dec. 5.

Twitter: @sthomas10

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