Sunset Beach public space targeted for new Gregor Garden

sunset-sign
You’d be forgiven for missing the notice erected on Sunset Beach

On most warm summer days, a stretch of grass on Sunset Beach in Vancouver is normally frequented with a number of young men and woman who are playing a pickup soccer game. This public space has been a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy everything that English Bay and the West End have to offer. But for how long?

If you’ve walked by this property lately, you may have seen in the distance a white sign with a bit of writing on it. The sign is from the Vancouver Park Board and it is a public notice letting you know that this open space is now earmarked for a new Gregor Garden. A report will be going to the Park Board soon and it is anticipated to get approval.

Prior to her departure (aka retirement), former Park Board General Manager Sue Mundick could be heard behind the scenes vehemently opposing the transformation of public park space to quasi-private gardens. It would appear that her replacement is not as convinced that eliminating park space and replacing it with a vegetable/flower garden is a bad idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the concept of community gardens. The previous NPA government actually supported a motion to install 2010 new community gardens by 2010. In fact, there is a very clear policy paper that the Park Board has developed on where, and under what terms community gardens should be created. Terms are that there must be a community consultation process, and that the garden be built at no cost to the Park Board.

However, the gardens were never meant to be installed in places that wouldn’t eliminate well used park space or be heavily subsidized by taxpayers. This is clearly not what is being implemented with Gregor’s Green Garden program.

Erich Timm, a West End resident is fuming over the proposal to remove park space at Sunset Beach. He tells CKNW news:

There’s at least well over a dozen probably wrestling with the Park Board right now that are totally, totally against it.

According to CKNW’s report a "government grant" will be required to build the garden. Vancouver has been using money from its so-called $100,000 ‘greenest city neighbourhood fund’ to support gardens over the past year. According to the Province:

Funding of about $30,000 for the project is coming from the YMCA, which got the money from Welcome B.C. — a joint program of the federal and provincial governments to aid newcomers to the country.

In response, the YWCA’s Linda Rubuliak tells NW that almost nobody has complained about the proposed Gregor Garden:

We have received only one comment thus far, as a negative comment. Oh, this is garbage, total garbage.

It is also being reported that prospective gardeners will have to take workshops on topics like diversity and antihomophobia.

I recently visited the original Gregor’s Garden on the front lawn of City Hall to see just how many vegetables were growing there. I can report that although there are vegetables growing in the raised beds, there are curiously a lot of perennials and annual flowers growing there as well. I’m an avid weekend gardener and do have a small vegetable patch, but was taken aback that the land set aside to grow vegetables was being used for marigolds and cosmos flowers.

As for the garden itself, it sure no longer feels like a part of the public domain. I felt like an intruder walking in between the beds and taking photos. Perhaps it’s because each of the gardens has a small plaque which says something like "Dave’s Garden" or "Jan and Bill’s Garden". Hmmm. These labels send a not-so-subtle message to stay out, don’t pick the fruit and trespass at your own risk. However, is this property not owned by the taxpayers of Vancouver? Is it really "Dave’s Garden" or is it "Joe Sixpack’s Garden"?

Before you form your own opinion, I would recommend you read a post Mike Klassen previously wrote discussing the pros and cons of urban agriculture. He talks about how these gardens are great community builders and can help educate the public regarding the importance on locally grown food, but have little to do with food security and not worth big public investment. As you will note from the write up on "Dave’s Garden" plaque, even he acknowledges his plot only provided food for a few suppers and the occasional lunch.

Will Sunset Beach be torn up and replanted as part of the Robertson/Soloman 500-year plan for Vancouver? Or will West End residents band together and say public park space should remain accessible to the public?

It will be interesting to watch how this debate unfolds over the coming weeks as one of the most high profile Gregor Gardens is being planned for a beach with a lot of community supporters. What do you think? Should a portion of this beach be turned over to a few residents to plant vegetables and flowers? Or should it stay as park space? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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  • Max

    I support public gardens, however, not at Sunset Beach.
    Public gardens are typically limited to those few that get the opportunity to tend a garden plot – and it does become more of a personal space rather than a public domain.
    The green space caters to the greater number.
    Picking another location shouldn’t be a problem.
    (But, why do I think this is probably already a done deal….)

  • Nancy

    This is just more manufactured conflict by our Parks Board/WERA overlords.
    See the Province’s story and some of the comments…
    “Proposal for garden on West End green space irks residents”
    http://www.theprovince.com/travel/Proposal+garden+West+green+space+irks+residents/3599574/story.html
    I love gardens and enjoy gardening, but I also like open play space to toss Frisbees and footballs, which is the type of space this garden is being proposed to impose on.
    One shouldn’t come at the expense of the other.
    I hate to think of what mess will be made of this here come the fireworks or… any other regular night…
    I had wondered if WERA had something to say on this… sure enough…
    http://wera.bc.ca/archives/1415
    In addition, another one………………
    It appears that WERA is one of the groups behind the creation of this garden – this is an extension of the (expensive) garden undertaking on the roof of St. Paul’s hospital. (Cue the harp music, and images of leprechauns skipping into a meadow under a rainbow…)
    I love gardens, and I like the concept of community gardens. I just don’t like the mess that has been created in Nelson Park, and will be sharing my concerns with Bill Manning and the Parks Board that we not scar one of the jewels of Vancouver with more plastic sheds and piles of compost.
    And, another one………………
    No public consultation on that either but like the garden Pks Board said they have community support. Yeah right.

  • Doug P

    The community gardens have generally been installed in space that is vacant and not particularly usable for recreation or other uses. Installing a community garden on a waterfront beach seems a waste of the space. Wouldn’t it better to pursue this in the summer, when it can be ascertained what the park usage is?

  • Victor

    I am the first to love a gardener but….you have got to be kidding?
    Since when did a public park turn into a place for only a few?
    Are we builidng a City for only a the elite few? One street’s Bike Lane costs….@ $3.25 million. This spent for an elite gang of lobbyists. Nothihg green about Bike lanes. Cars spewing fumes as they are forced into nearby homes as they sit idling .
    This Vision gang is loosing the plot. They should get back to governing and stop tinkering. Geeze!

  • James

    I live in the West End and will totally oppose this despite the fact I like gardening. This will defacto become private property for a few of the mayor’s cronies. I regularly enjoy that green space which is now open to everyone! Putting a private garden there will have the opposite effect.
    If Vision pushes this through, this will be the last straw. They will completely lose the West End support in the next election. Guaranteed.

  • boohoo

    Anyone else find it funny that apparently people here think those that use community gardens are now the ‘elites’?
    Good stuff.

  • George

    Boohoo,
    Actually there is a lot of truth to that statement. Myself and a few friends found out the hard way that if you don’t “know someone” you can sit on that list waiting for a very long time….still waiting….

  • I smell a rat

    This is such an overtly ridiculous idea, that it has to be a set-up. Float the idea, have a process and retreat. That last story on the issue is that they listened to the masses and rejected the community garden idea.
    If that is not the case, then these guys are completely of their collective sockers, and I don’t believe they are. Close, but not quite there.

  • Glen Hall

    Sunset Beach garden, no problem.
    It comes out when Vision is pushed out the door.
    By the civic election in 2011, there will be a firm movement in the city that anything Vision has done without proper public consultation will be removed with the same lack of public consultation.
    I promise to be leading that charge and WERA can stuff a sock in their protestations on such.

  • Omoishiroi

    “Prospective gardeners will have to take workshops on topics like diversity and anti-homophobia”…is this a joke???

  • bc lee

    The whole idea of having a community garden is to increase green space for the city. Our job is to replace unused, unplanted land and turn it to a garden and have the community take ownership of the project, not to replacing a public park that is already a green space and enjoyed by the community. To replace a green park with a “community garden” is merely a political statement for community garden advocates. We need more green space. “Community gardens” should be an addition not a replacement for parks.

  • JJ

    What a ridiculous waste of a well used public space. Why not do as others have proposed and create green space where none currently exits? How about the DTES (which is also my neighbourhood)? I’d love to see some of the derelict buildings removed and replaced with a lovely flower and vegetable garden. It would be a boon for the local residents as well.

  • kk+

    i support public gardens wherever they be found.

  • Matt

    I thought they already lost that support. How many idiotic examples of ‘we know what is good for you’ do you need? Wake up!
    Community garden in that location is stupid…on so many levels, I don’t even know what is the combined IQ of these clowns, 25 – 36? By far, this Vision dominated council is the worse there was in the past 20 years. The city Hall is administered by a bunch of incompetents and the council is lead by a farmer. Yiiihhaaaaa!
    Honk on your next message if you want them out NOW!

  • daniel

    No, not a joke. The Province newspaper reported that taking these courses would be a part of the community garden program.

  • Todd

    So who is ultimately responsible for this silly idea? The Parks Board General Manager or the Parks Board Chair?

  • Bill McCreery

    From the Pk Bd Policy:
    “2. conduct community outreach programming beyond the Societies members
    b. Allotments of space must be made from a waiting list on a first come first served basis.
    c. While community gardens are a neighbourhood initiative, membership in the Society, and the opportunity to be allotted a plot, must be open to any resident of Vancouver.”
    My understanding is this ‘garden’ is being sponsored by the YMCA for new immigrants. A laudable objective. But, perhaps the ‘Y’ should do this garden @ their Langara location where they have some room ’round their building & it is not on public park land. Why? Please see the above. The Pk. Bd. policy is clear, & consistent with the Charter, that there cannot be a restriction on who gets to be a member of the Society & who gets the next plot.
    This proposal should never have seen the light of day.

  • “(But, why do I think this is probably already a done deal….)”
    45 seconds of Googling turns up this:
    “Vision Vancouver park board chair Aaron Jasper said the proposal is in its early days. “Nothing has been decided and we’re looking for feedback from residents,” said Jasper. “It’s so early on, we’re encouraging people to get back to us.”
    Read more: http://www.vancourier.com/Sunset+Beach+community+garden+proposal+hits+beach/3605295/story.html#ixzz114wb4JXk

  • Bill McCreery

    Chris, what about my suggestion —
    “This proposal should never have seen the light of day.”?
    It’s not about:
    “the proposal is in its early days. “Nothing has been decided and we’re looking for feedback from residents”.

  • spartikus

    Does anyone else think it’s funny that a proposal by the YMCA for a community garden to help acclimate immigrants in a program funded by the provincial and federal governments, is being characterized as “Gregor’s garden”.
    By the by, the original proposed location was David Lam park.
    It was rejected after feedback from the residents.
    Imagine.

  • George

    Chris,
    Aaron Jasper and public consultation in the same sentence, that’s a joke right?

  • Based upon the article I linked to Bill it seems the project has some support from various organizations. Isn’t that the kind of public consultation and input you’re often bemoaning as lacking in Vancouver? Now you want to kill the idea before people have a chance to discuss it? I would think you might welcome the opportunity for area residents to consider the idea and talk about it.

  • George:
    I never joke about gardening… or suntanning. Serious stuff.

  • Marcus

    Community Gardens are a great idea but not at the expense of heavily used recreation area such as Sunset beach.
    People of various ages and backgrounds play pick up soccer, football or frisbee as this is one of the few downtown beach front playing fields.
    Ideally, given the membership charges and ability to fund raise, the YWCA should secure it’s own funds and land to develop their garden.

  • boohoo

    @Spartikus/George.
    Spartikus you say this garden was previously suggested and rejected due to community feedback and then George (and others) claim public consultation is a joke/it’s already a done deal.
    So which is it?

  • spartikus

    Exactly, Chris. It’s not like the YMCA is some fly by night organization – it has history/pedigree. And it’s secured funding for the idea.
    Do you really mean to say you would simply dismiss them out of hand, Bill?

  • spartikus

    According the Vancouver Courier article Chris Keam linked to earlier, the former.

  • RealityCheck

    I used to play pickup soccer there a few years ago. It was great! You just showed up. Anyone could play, regardless of age, gender or nationality. It was very social and you got to know people you wouldn’t normally run into in day to day life.
    It was also a great place to lay out a blanket and relax.
    From the looks of it, there is nothing “community”-oriented about this garden. The land would only be used by what…20 or 30 people?
    So yes…it should be rejected out of hand. The land is already being used by the public.

  • VicRK

    As a West End resident AND active user of Sunset Park, I say bring on the garden! That space is so diverse. AIDS memorial, sun worshippers, roller bladers, walkers, dog runners, ball hockey players, volleyball players. You name it, it’s there. Why not keep the diversity flowing?
    I don’t know about the community gardens near places you folks live, but the one near my place at Davie and Thurlow is such a wonderful part of the community now. People stop and talk, take photos, drink from the new water station. It’s a social space. And my friends who have plots certainly are not elites.

  • It’s a 30 metre square chunk of grass beside an expanse of pavement. I don’t think it’s going to be the end of tanning or pick-up soccer as we know it.

  • George

    Chris,
    Take the time to read what I posted, it had nothing to do with gardening or suntanning.
    Aaron Jasper and his position on public consultation was my statement. Aaron has a record that speaks for itself….but interesting to know what your priorities are.
    Chris it might serve you well to develop a sense of humor..IMO

  • So they want to take away a prime green space that benefits all to replace it with a space that will be used by a couple of dozen people at most?! Great idea!

  • Max

    How about this:
    They run a poll on the city’s website which is open to everyone one who wants to have their say.
    Like they did with the Hornby street bike lane.
    We can have input from all over the Lower Mainland.

  • Why not set aside some space on the very large block of grass where the Lord Roberts school is? They can also teach the kiddies about growing food.

  • Andrew

    Another option – let’s convert some of the larger publically owned golf courses – used by the golfing “elite” – into these gardens.
    Unlike the excellent community spaces that have been created in Strathcona Park, Tea Garden Park, and Stanley Park (hey, did anyone know there’s been a community garden there for years?), these golf courses serve a small number of folks playing a ridiculously unsustainable game. That’s some prime land we could use for increasing our city’s food growing opportunities.
    As for a 30×30 metre garden at Sunset. Let’s see – that’s 90 square metre. And Sunset park is 3.61 hectares (36,100 m2). That means this garden will take up. Wait, what’s the percentage here? Man. The GALL of YMCA for even daring to propose this to the Parks Board!!
    And the GALL of the Parks Board for even following their policy and requiring that a sign be posted and comments solicited. What is the world coming too?

  • Nope, no 30 meter by 30 meter garden at this location.
    It’s too big and eliminates the existing recreational activities that occurs at this spot.
    Flat, well used existing green space is a blank canvas play space to a high density neighbourhood which offers entertainment, leisure, physical activity and social bonding for all social classes – especially the poor or budget conscious locally who can’t, or don’t want to spend more than what it costs to toss around a ball.
    There are plenty of other options, Barclay Square and any of the multiple traffic calming parkettes in the West End come to mind.
    Or you can keep right on along NIMBYing westwards to Stanley Park with that garden. There is plenty of space there and I attest, as I’m sure Chris Keam would, that it’s an easy short enjoyable bike ride from Sunset Beach. Enjoy it there.

  • Mike

    The sign has now come down as of this morning? Check out the photo in this tweet.
    http://twitter.com/#!/CityCaucus/status/26114469045

  • RealityCheck

    Last time I looked, the municipal golf courses were contributing about $1.4 million NET to the Parks Board bottom line. They also make golf accessible to a large number of working class Vancouverites and young people who otherwise couldn’t afford to play at a private course. Plus they were there long before most of these critics were born.
    In short, it’s a self-sustainable activity that adds to the city’s budget and recreational diversity in the city.
    Community gardens are fine and certainly part of this as well. But what I don’t understand is why community-gardens cannot also be self-sustaining? Gardening is a multi-billion dollar business. There is a waiting list for taxpayer-subsidized city plots that operate at a net loss (meaning the price the city is charging is not in line with what people are willing to pay). If the people on the waiting list got together, they could form a co-op or non-profit society that could lease or buy a vacant lot without having to be subsidized by the taxpayer. If the city wanted to encourage it, they could get tax breaks, but they should also change the zoning to stop the current breed of speculators using “parks” and “gardens” as a tax dodge.
    But the answer shouldn’t lie in stopping all activity in a public park to create small garden plots for 20 people, and then holding out their hands to the taxpayer, crying poor. That’s wrong by any stretch of the imagination, and should be fought vigorously.

  • Victor

    Private Gardens on existing public park land. Buildings on existing gardens.
    What on earth is green about all this. This feels like ideology rather
    than thought!!

  • Bill McCreery

    There are 2 relevant points here:
    1] Pk Bd policy says the garden must be open to all / the purpose of this garden is for a specific group, in this case new immigrants. My understanding of the foregoing is that a park for a specific group on public land is a no go.
    2] Common sense, for me @ least, tells me a garden here is inappropriate for the reasons others have outlined + more.
    This proposal will go the same way of the Lam one assuming their listening [forgive those of us who have become a bit gun-shy about public consultation & listening]. Instead of going through this predictable process, wasting lots of peoples time, including Pk Bd staff time = taxpayers $s & setting 1 group against others once more, why not use the other part of the PK Bd policy & assist this group in finding an appropriate location & helping them get set up & running.
    It’s a good idea but, not here.

  • “If the people on the waiting list got together, they could form a co-op or non-profit society that could lease or buy a vacant lot without having to be subsidized by the taxpayer. ”
    So could the golfers. And the soccer players, and the hockey players, and the dog-walkers, and the sunbathers….
    Is that really the direction we want to go in? Or maybe 9 garden plots out of 30 being reserved for people new to the country is actually a small welcoming gesture that is more in keeping with the nation’s character?

  • spartikus

    Fair enough, Bill.
    But do you think it was necessary and/or useful to employ rhetoric like “Gregor’s Garden”?
    The YMCA are good people. Why do they need to be dragged into this spat?

  • “the purpose of this garden is for a specific group, in this case new immigrants”
    Wrong. From the Province article:
    “The proposed Sunset Beach community garden is intended to be an ‘inter-cultural’ garden made up of the same demographic as the downtown peninsula — 60 per cent residents and 40 per newcomers to Canada.”

  • Bill McCreery

    Perhaps not Sparks &, yes the ‘Y’ are good people. I don’t know why they’ve put themselves into such a position. As such, they’re in it, not being dragged.

  • Bill McCreery

    Perhaps you can enlighten us as to how one might manage such a 60 / 40 split. & no doubt someone will be there to challenge the 40% reserved for a specific group which is still, even @ 40%, an exclusive group & therefore, against Pk Bd policy.
    The 2nd point is, it’s a good idea in an obviously dumb place. This tells me it’s a VV strategy to get people thinking good thoughts about gardening. Guess what folks, it ain’t working…… once again. Maybe it’s time to reassess the brain trust.

  • “Perhaps you can enlighten us as to how one might manage such a 60 / 40 split.”
    I have no idea. Perhaps you should ask the people who are proposing the plan?
    “no doubt someone will be there to challenge the 40% reserved for a specific group which is still, even @ 40%, an exclusive group & therefore, against Pk Bd policy.”
    No doubt there will. If only there was some process for people to discuss the issue and decide if the policy needed a change or exception. A ‘consultation’ if you will.

  • david hadaway

    I hate golf. I once broke up with a lovely German gf because of her obsession with golf (it was taken to teutonic levels). Golf courses are one of the chief sources of water pollution – and yet Reality Check is right. They are also self financing providers of opportunity for a large segment of the population. Sad but true, for which strangely enough there is no exact translation in the language that gave us schadenfreude.
    Anyway, the new publicly financed ‘community gardens/farms’ are anything but self sustaining. Just look at them with their top down, tax subsidized, pressure treated corporate tax write off freebies. The contrast with real community effort is clearly visible in their built form. Also, speaking as an immigrant, this is the last kind of thing needed for new arrivals.
    Oh, by the way, the collective savings of the city, built up over decades, are being sucked away by a nest of vampires and a coven of politicians. It’s time to focus on the big issue.

  • spartikus

    So simply to propose a community garden is to propose a “Gregor Garden”?
    Are you sure this is what you want to suggest? I quite honestly don’t see what part Gregor Robertson had in any of this. Even Aaron Jasper and the Parks Board have an Aye or Nay role.
    Not that I necessarily agree with you 😉 but you’ve made some substantive and informed critiques without resorting to such rhetoric. It would have been nice if that had been the case all around.

  • Bill McCreery

    Thank you & you often do as well. I occasionally agree with you.
    I have nothing to do with the title of this post. It seems we all can get a bit personal @ times. That’s why I’ve suggested a mandatory cold shower each AM for all bloggers. Francis thought perhaps a yoga session would do…..
    I still think a blog beer night would help us realize there are people behind those words on a screen. We could all wear masquerade masks & come in costume.

  • “Golf courses are one of the chief sources of water pollution – and yet Reality Check is right. They are also self financing providers of opportunity for a large segment of the population.”
    There’s no requirement to pay for the water pollution you reference. If we calculated that cost, would it still be self-financing, or is there just a big bill attached to this recreation choice that we don’t see?

  • RealityCheck

    Chris wrote:
    “”If the people on the waiting list got together, they could form a co-op or non-profit society that could lease or buy a vacant lot without having to be subsidized by the taxpayer. ”
    So could the golfers. And the soccer players, and the hockey players, and the dog-walkers, and the sunbathers….
    Is that really the direction we want to go in?
    ______
    For the record, the golfers, the soccer & hockey players, and even some of the dog-walkers have already done this…either through private or non-profit ventures. They pay market prices to rent short-term use of public or privately run facilities (such as golf courses, rinks, playing fields or kennels)to pursue their recreational activities. These facilities turn a net profit and are able to sustain themselves. All of the successful organizations who use these facilities are also self-sustaining through user fees, fundraising, etc.
    In the world of recreation, that’s how it’s done.
    Gardening is just another form of recreation. Nothing wrong with it. In fact, I think it would be a smart move for stores like Home Depot to get into the community-garden business and devote a portion of their land to it. But the beauty of this piece of land at Sunset Beach is that everyone can enjoy it now at regular intervals. Creating an exclusive community garden that will be bigger than the red zone at a football game will end that. And asking the taxpayer to foot most of the bill for this is wrong.

  • Bill McCreery

    “So could the golfers. And the soccer players, and the hockey players, and the dog-walkers, and the sunbathers….”
    And, one might add: the Bloedel Conservatory, the Children’s Farmyard, Van Dusen Gardens, pools, recreation centres, etc, etc. Where would you like to stop Chris?
    Water doesn’t add much the our carbon footprint. Not like the traffic snarls Vision’s seat of the pants planned bike lanes are doing or their even more unplanned spot rezonings which over-ride community plan zoning. And, what about Vision’s bald face theft of community centre earned financial surpluses? What about Bloedel? It took a dedicated group of courageous citizens to save it. It doesn’t seem to have worked for the Childrens’ Farmyard, has it? I suppose bike lanes are a higher priority than the Farmyard. Is Van Dusen next? And then the beaches? Where is this going to stop Chris?

  • Congratulations on managing to completely miss my point Bill.
    Public space is often used for specific purposes that exclude other activities. If THAT is going to be the sticking point in the campaign against these garden plots, then there’s some obvious flaws in the argument.
    If preferential treatment is your objection, then there are just as many examples of that behaviour we can use as counter-arguments.
    If it’s against the ‘rules’ then let’s look at the rules and see if they need to be changed, or if we are willing to make an exception. But you think that even talking about the ideas is a waste of time. That’s not how the community consultation you value so highly works, nor is a constant lack of backbone on the part of political leaders a sign of good governance. There must always be a balance between the two and of course there will always be some tension and dissent. That’s a sign of a healthy democracy, not poor leadership.

  • “Not like the traffic snarls Vision’s seat of the pants planned bike lanes”
    There is no more poignant example of the private monopolization of public space than the amount of road space required to facilitate the use of taxpayer subsidized automobiles. You claim to stand for something Bill, but as soon as you think you can score a political point, you abandon the principle in favour of a hyperbolic statement of questionable accuracy.

  • Bill McCreery

    Thxs for the compliment Chris. That’s something I can be good @. But, I take issue. I did not miss your point &, I exposed your tunnel vision in the process. Sorry.
    I’ll tell you what, why don’t you run for Pk Bd on the platform of turning our parks, especially high profile heavily used sites like Sunset Beach into community gardens, not for a few hundred or a few thousand specific users but a couple of dozen.

  • “I’ll tell you what, why don’t you run for Pk Bd on the platform of turning our parks, especially high profile heavily used sites like Sunset Beach into community gardens, not for a few hundred or a few thousand specific users but a couple of dozen.”
    Ummm, because that’s not what I’m saying?
    Why don’t you stop misrepresenting my comments Bill?

  • Bill McCreery

    To add Chris, you say::
    “Public space is often used for specific purposes that exclude other activities. If THAT is going to be the sticking point in the campaign against these garden plots, then there’s some obvious flaws in the argument.”
    — see my previous comment.
    “If preferential treatment is your objection, then there are just as many examples of that behaviour we can use as counter-arguments. If it’s against the ‘rules’ then let’s look at the rules and see if they need to be changed, or if we are willing to make an exception. But you think that even talking about the ideas is a waste of time. That’s not how the community consultation you value so highly works,…”
    — the existing Pk Bd policy clearly, & in my view, appropriately defines how & when the Vancouver Pk Bd & parks will be used for special interests such as gardens. If you want to change the rules wouldn’t it be a better way round to 1st debate the need to change, change if the case can be made & THEN, look for appropriate locations. Not withstanding this Council & Pk Bd don’t understand this process, that is the way it’s supposed to work. Unfortunately for them they’re finding out the hard way it doesn’t work backwards.
    “…nor is a constant lack of backbone on the part of political leaders a sign of good governance. There must always be a balance between the two and of course there will always be some tension and dissent. That’s a sign of a healthy democracy, not poor leadership.”
    — no ? Vision has backbone, although I wouldn’t quite describe it as such. Not sure what you’re saying. Is the balance between ‘backbone’ & ‘good governance’?
    “You claim to stand for something Bill, but as soon as you think you can score a political point, you abandon the principle in favour of a hyperbolic statement of questionable accuracy.”
    Yup, I do stand for somethings & i do do something about it. In the late 70’s my firm was a leader in energy conservation design [now called ‘green’ design’]. Among other things, we won a prize in the Energy Mines & Resources Low Energy Building Design national competition. We did the Granville Island Solar Energy Demonstration Project on the roof of the Net Loft where my offices were, etc. What’s ?able about cars lined up idling & then gunning & increasing our carbon footprint?
    My primary interest in these discussions is the occasional intellectual stimulation of the debate from which I do learn, Scoring political points is a side bar.

  • You are welcome to rest on your laurels Bill, but it’s still no excuse to misrepresent what other people are saying to try to bolster your own argument.

  • Omoishiroi

    tell anyone else in the western civilized world – even far left countries like the Netherlands and Sweden – that you have to take a course in ‘anti-homophobia’ if you want to plant some peas in a community garden and I suspect they will either deem you not credible or fall over laughing. Hey Vancouver – have another big bowl of organic KooKoo Puffs!

  • Janice

    The “Y”‘s a fine organization that will be tainted if they hitch a ride on this horse. It’s absurd to re-purpose lush, open greenspace for a garden used by just a select few.
    Here’s where their plan could be VERY welcome – please try the sorry so-called park @ Howe & Drake. Unkempt with an ugly mix of loose stones/gravel and pooped-on grass c/o Cressey.

  • Janice

    Btw, if there’s still any Van believers this isn’t yet another done deal –
    Email your opinion on this garden to:
    Bill.Manning@vancouver.ca

  • william James

    Sunset Beach, like the rest of the West End, has done just fine without the outrageous financial, political and social meddling on the part of city hall. Now they are building yet another unwanted monument to their own reckless arrogance. Vote the effin twits out or find a way to stop them now before our neigbourhood is hacked to bits.

  • Joseph

    I am on the Sunset beach almost daily, either playing in-line hockey or just enjoying the open space playing grass sports. Only a complete imbecile and there are some, as we can clearly see, would want to take away this free space from West-Enders. Let them put up vegetable garden on top of the YMCA building, where they can do their gardening and in addition have a great view of us, enjoying OUR beach and the grass.

  • Erich

    Our local politics is in a very sad state of affairs when owners at David Lam park clearly tell the Parks’ Board that they do not want a community garden on their limited green space. Apparently the YMCA and Parks’ Board tried the same tactic but with a space only 20% of what is proposed at Sunset Beach. So what does the Parks’ Board and the rest of the juggernaut that is the YMCA, Gordon House and the pathetic WERA ( who should rename themselves because they are not looking after the West End residents, especially the tenants) do, they move down a few blocks, the Parks’ Board puts up ONE LONELY sign in the middle of the large grassy area they want to destroy ( 10,000 square feet ), angle it in such a way that it is very difficult to see, let alone read, send absolutely NO notices to the many rental buildings on Beach Avenue most affected and then hope than no one notices and then they can ram it through because there was no
    negative feedback. This is not a consultative process nor a democratic process and the Parks’ Board are expert at putting up signs, so this example seems to prove something very disturbing.
    I think most people, including myself think that community gardens are a wonderful way to brighten up areas that are neglected but to replace a wonderful and popular recreational space coming from the Parks’ Board is very surprising. Their professionals should have known this is not a good spot, both because of its multi-use popularity but also because the location itself so close to the salt air and winds is not conducive to good gardening.

  • Erich

    I apologize but I should have added that there is only one day left to make your opposition to this proposal known to the Parks’ Board. Only two weeks was given for a response.
    Please email Bill Manning
    bill.manning@vancouver.ca
    Thank you very much and a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Veronica

    It is so easy to get emotional over this outrageous issue…. A “community garden” to REPLACE one of the most spectacular, historic, locally-loved and internationally reputed spaces in our “most liveable” city? It is true, only an election MAY stop this nonsense, but in the interim, please be in touch with me so that we can continue Mr. Timm’s initiative and get ALL of these valuable comments into the public domain. This has to STOP! V

  • Veronica

    All who have been following this, please ensure you are at the “information meeting” next Thursday, October 28th from 5:00 to 6:00 to voice your concern. V