Press Release October 17th: Hastings Park – Will the public or money rule?

Control of Hastings Park, site of the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), is at stake during a Governance Review of the park promised by Vancouver City Council. It is the only Vancouver park not controlled by the Board of Parks and Recreation. A motion to begin the review process will come before City Council on October 20, 2011. Friends of Hastings Park (FOHP) is urging that a public body be in charge of Vancouver’s second largest park.

The PNE Board has had control of the park on an interim basis since the province turned over ownership of the park to the city in 2001. “The PNE Board’s job is to take care of the PNE business and their meetings and agendas are closed to the public. We need a new model that is open and accountable to the public.” said Georgina Nicholson of FOHP.

A public meeting on Monday, October 17, 2011 will feature Dr. Setty Pendakur, President of the Roundhouse Community Centre and Shane Simpson, MLA for the area around Hastings Park. Both speakers are former members of the PNE Board. The panel topic is, “Why governance is the key to the future of Hastings Park”.

“Our dream for Hastings Park is to have it controlled by a public body that promotes arts, culture and recreation activities within the park. Imagine an east side ‘Round House’ with programs that bring people into the park on a regular basis,” said Nicholson. “The PNE Board has a very limited view of how the park might be used. Renting buildings for giant shoe sales and renting fields for large scale events for thousands of people is not the way we want to bring the public into our park.” she stated.

FOHP believes that a public body in charge of the entire 152-acre site will be publicly accountable and will ensure year-round, public access to the park. “Right now the PNE Board is one of the tenants in the park but is also the landlord of the entire site. This is not appropriate for a publicly owned park.” said Nicholson.

Vancouver City Council passed a 20 year Master Plan for Hastings Park in December, 2010, but delayed the decision on governance of the park until the review is completed.

Public Meeting – Why is governance the key to the future of Hastings Park?

Monday, October 17, 2011
7:00 pm
Hastings Community Centre
3096 E. Hastings St. (at Lilooet)

Media Contact: Linda Shuto 604-255-1085 or 604-842-5323

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