Parks, Recreation, and Arts

Under Vision and the NPA, Vancouver has built up a reputation as a ‘No Fun City’. Shrinking programming and centralized decision-making, aging facilities, lack of local accountability, not enough support for the arts, and a shrinking number of affordable music venues and arts spaces have made having fun in the City increasingly difficult and unaffordable. COPE wants to reverse this.

COPE will increase funding to enhance park spaces and ensure that facilities, programming, and services remain public, keep up with population growth, and serve Vancouver’s diverse communities. This requires not just reversing Vision’s budget cuts, but also improving consultation with local populations and Community Centre Associations to make sure facilities, programs and services match the unique needs of local neighbourhoods. To accomplish this, COPE will turn back Vision’s attempts to centralize Community Centre budgets, and defend the fiscal autonomy of local Community Centre Associations so that programs and services are based on the priorities of local neighbourhoods.

COPE will also immediately work to develop guidelines for the retention and creation of affordable live music venues and art spaces, and will continue to invest in Vancouver’s civic theatres and provide sponsorship to cultural events across the city. COPE will preserve the viability of cultural, educational, and recreational amenities through various measures such as tax relief and zoning relaxations. COPE will also develop a variety of mechanisms to improve funding and supports for Vancouver’s artists, musicians, and performers.

 

How will COPE strengthen parks, recreation, and arts for everyone?

 

Enhance Park Space and Services

COPE will increase the Park Board budget from the City of Vancouver, revoke the $10 million in cuts under Vision, and develop long-term sustainable funding models for services and facilities. COPE will ensure that park space, community centres and recreation facilities are expanded and upgraded to meet the needs of Vancouver’s growing population. COPE will consult with affected communities to identify what constitutes adequate replacements for Vancouver’s lost outdoor pools (Hastings, Marpole-Oakridge, Sunset, Mt Pleasant) and deteriorating or closed wading pools, and to identify gaps in summer aquatic facilities and programs. COPE will restore the free shuttle in Stanley Park and work with City Council and local labour unions to extend shuttle service along the waterfront from Crab Portside Park to Spanish Banks.

Develop and Maintain Services and Facilities for Vancouver’s Diverse Population

COPE will ensure equity throughout Park Board and Community Centre Associations services and programs, citywide. COPE will work in partnership with Vancouver’s diverse population to identify and develop spaces that can better deliver services to the City’s different and diverse communities, including different cultural and language groups, LGBTQ people, and youth.

Build a Sustainable Parks System

COPE will consult with the public and work with Parks employees to identify means of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste. COPE will work with City staff to identify parks which suffer from invasive species, establish a plan for their removal, and engage and educate the public to prevent their further spread.

Promote Local Food Production for Sustainable and Healthy Communities

COPE will collaborate with residents to reallocate civic resources and implement zoning allowances to increase and encourage local food production. COPE will consult with the public and City staff to identify appropriate land and resources to establish urban food forests for local public harvesting and consumption. COPE will advocate for the creation of Community Food Exchange Markets for locally produced food.

Oppose the Privatization of Parks, Community Centres, and Cultural Spaces

COPE will give priority to Parks services being done in-house, award services contracts to local business, and avoid corporatizing services in Vancouver’s parks and recreations facilities. COPE will also establish Cultural Land Reserves to protect cultural spaces so that dedicated venues cannot be gentrified to become condos.

Enhanced Local Consultation and Democratic Governance of the Park Board

COPE will establish more comprehensive public consultation, especially with Vancouver residents who face barriers to participation such as low income, physical or mental disabilities, or a first language other than English. COPE will hold Park Board meetings in venues throughout the city, especially in community centres, to ensure residents of every community can communicate to the Board their issues and complaints, and take a meaningful role in planning for local facilities, programs, and services. COPE will empower neighbourhoods to participate in decision-making by conducting forums in the community at which residents can raise issues and have input in prioritizing both operating and capital expenditures.

Respect the Local Autonomy of Community Centres

COPE will strengthen the Park Board’s partnership with existing Community Centre Associations (CCA’s) to effectively represent their neighbourhoods and consult with their membership to identify and address community needs. COPE will reverse Vision’s centralisation of Park Board funding and spending powers, returning fiscal autonomy to local Community Centre Associations. COPE will ensure that any review of Community Centre services will be done in partnership with CCAs, so that these community organizations can continue to provide unique and localized programs that meet the diverse needs of Vancouver’s many citizens.

Hold a Plebiscite on Dolphins and Whales in Captivity

COPE will hold a public plebiscite on whether to support the keeping of captive whales and dolphins in the Vancouver Aquarium’s facilities in Stanley Park, and will honor the result of the vote.

Establish and Protect Affordable Music and Arts Spaces

COPE will undertake a complete audit of all existing artist studio spaces and live performance venues to help provide guidelines for the retention and creation of affordable art and performance spaces.  COPE will continue to invest in Vancouver’s civic theatres and provide sponsorship to cultural events across the city. COPE will work with local neighbourhoods to preserve the viability of cultural, educational, and recreational amenities through various measures such as tax relief and zoning relaxations.    

Improved Resources for Musicians and Artists

COPE will create a Vancouver Endowment for the Arts, that would be modelled after both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Vancouver Foundation. COPE will broaden the existing Poet Laureate position to include additional artistic disciplines such as visual arts, new media, music, drama and dance. COPE will improve Arts and Cultural spaces and events funding and will insure that people who are economically disadvantaged have access to those spaces and events. COPE will also strongly advocate that the BC government restore funding from the BCLC to Arts, Culture, and Sports.
 

Recent news and campaigns

GEORGIA STRAIGHT: COPE to push for a public vote on whale captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium ahead of 2015 review. “We have tried in the past, at least three times, to have a referendum put forward,” said COPE's Anita Romaniuk. “But due to other people on council or on the park board, that has never happened....So this is about giving people a say on the matter.” Read full story. 

GEORGIA STRAIGHT: COPE to push for a public vote on whale captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium ahead of 2015 review. “We have tried in the past, at least three times, to have a referendum put forward,” said COPE's Anita Romaniuk. “But due to other people on council or on the park board, that has never happened....So this is about giving people a say on the matter.” Read full story.