Fundamental changes could be coming to the Vancouver Park Board: sources

The Vancouver Park Board’s days may be numbered as Mayor Ken Sim is holding a news conference Wednesday on a proposed motion to change the Vancouver Charter.

Sources tell CityNews they believe this is the first step in changing the way the board operates, though there has been no official confirmation of the city’s plans.

Current Park Board Commissioner Tom Digby, who is with the Green Party, says he believes this is the beginning of the end.

“It would appear that all points indicate that he intends to abolish, or attempt to abolish, the park board,” he told CityNews. He adds he has also not received any official word that the city plans to initiate any sort of process.

Digby says he believes this is happening because Sim didn’t get his choice of chair during a vote last week.

He echoed this belief in a post on X Tuesday afternoon.

“That’s cause the [Greens] tipped the balance with split ABC,” he said. “This week it appears he wants David Eby to abolish [the park board] altogether.”

This comes just two weeks after a performance audit report was released on park board revenue management.

Vancouver Auditor General Mike Macdonell said the audit found the park board did not “operate an effective framework for achieving revenue-related objectives for its revenue-generating assets and services.”

One of the recommendations from the report was that the park board does not spend money without city council approval.

Despite the audit, Digby says he believes the park board still holds value in Vancouver.

“The park board’s been around for 137 years, we have a lot of citizen democracy at a very local level,” he said. “We spent 137 years defending Stanley Park and green spaces in the city … I don’t know why the mayor is unhappy with that.”

“I think we’re doing a pretty good job, and I would hope he would get on board with it rather than destroy it.”

CityNews has reached out to the mayor’s office and the province for more information on the matter.

The province would have to approve changes to the Vancouver Charter if the city wanted to go ahead with it.

Sim is expected to make an announcement regarding the Park Board 10 a.m. Wednesday.

With files from Hana Mae Nassar and Srushti Gangdev

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