Press Release: Racetrack Lease Rejection Makes Hastings Park Governance Crucial

Press Release – Issued Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Friends of Hastings Park calls on the City of Vancouver to initiate the Governance Review of Hastings Park immediately. City Council approved the governance review in December, 2010 when it passed the Master Plan for Hastings Park. City council has not started this public process that will determine what body should be in charge of the park.

Last week, Great Canadian Gaming CEO Rod Baker, owner of Hastings racetrack, said his company has rejected renewal of its lease with the City of Vancouver, which expires in November, 2012. The racetrack is located within Hastings Park and covers 30% of the parkland in the 152 acre public park.

If the racetrack does not renew its lease the resulting loss of revenue could have implications for the Master Plan for Hastings Park. The racetrack lease includes commitments for park enhancements. No vehicle exists for public input into the future of the race track site.

“Suddenly, the land use for 30% of Hastings Park is in question and no public body is in charge,” said Mary Filippelli of the Friends of Hastings Park. “The city must act immediately to ensure that a publicly accountable body makes key decisions about land use in Hastings Park. That means getting on with the public governance review–no more delays,” she said.

The PNE Board has interim governance powers over Hastings Park, but it is responsible only for the success of the PNE and it has no public park mandate. “It is not appropriate for the PNE Board to decide the future of the racetrack site. The public has no input to the PNE board,” said Filippelli.

“The City Council cannot continue to make piecemeal decisions about this public park. Every other Vancouver park is governed by the Parks Board. The governance review of Hastings Park is years overdue. The racetrack lease expiry now makes this an imperative,” said Filippelli.

Media Contact: Mary Filippelli 604-760-7298 (after 12:00 noon today)

Friends of Hastings Park

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