Reader saddened by loss of pne's guided walks

To the editor: Re: "Camel, croc and kangaroo meat on the menu at the PNE," Aug. 14.

While you give us the low-down on the deep-fried (and, I'm sure, completely healthy!) foods at this year's PNE, you might be interested to hear that the PNE is no longer offering guided walks around The Sanctuary. For the past few years these tours, running three times daily, have been showing people the wonders of the little bit of green space clawed back from the concrete jungle and encouraging participants to learn and share information about some of the more common plants found there, hear about cultural and ecological importance of these plants, and generally discover the peaceful setting offering a break from the razzmatazz of the fairground.

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This is sad for several reasons.

Firstly, many people on the PNE grounds do not even realize that a sanctuary area exists, with its lovely lake, tall trees, shrubs and greenery offering a modicum of tranquility. Secondly, this area needs all the support and interest it can get in light of the not altogether excellent introduction of fishing in a sanctuary where birds nest, stop on their migration or live year round. Guided walks also give an opportunity to discuss the politics behind maintenance of this green space and raise awareness that whenever the PNE is not in progress, this is a free park open to all year-round. This is something many people do not even know. They think they can only access it while the fair happening. It is a hidden gem in a very industrial part of Vancouver - the whole area should have been green space originally until they paved over paradise - and dropping these walks during the fair is reducing the PNE still further to the land of fast food and hucksterism, with little else to offer a pleasant diversion and an opportunity to learn about "the other side" of the concrete jungle.

Rosemary Taylor


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