For those of you unable to attend the May 2nd City-sponsored open house, the consultants revealed their recommended option for the future governance of Hastings Park. SURPRISE. It was the option to basically maintain the status quo. Their option has the PNE Board no longer being just interim governors, but permanent governors of the park.
Many in our community came out in support of our chosen option, Park Board Governance of Hastings Park. Many held signs.
The consultants would not allow those who came to the meeting to speak. Instead, they handed out index cards and instructed us to write down our questions on the cards and drop them in a box. They told us that following their presentation, they would take out the cards and one by one read them and answer them. There were calls from the audience negatively responding to this attempt to silence us. However, the meeting allowed the consultants to proceed with the presentation and the audience was silent. Most of the audience knew that a Community Input Statement submitted from FOHP, HCA and HPC would be presented so they waited for this to happen.
Linda Shuto of FOHP waited for the end of their presentation, then she stood up to ask permission to read our statement. The consultant, Pam, told her she would not be allowed to speak and refused to hear her. Of course this riled the meeting and noisy outbursts began. Pam threatened to shut down the meeting unless there was silence. Linda remained standing. The audience settled down a little, taking Linda’s lead. A question was pulled from the box and read out. An answer was given. Linda tried again to be heard. Now, the audience began to shout, “Let her speak!” and began banging their signs on the floor. Brenda, of the City staff, must have realized how bad it looked to have the City refusing to hear the statement, and be captured on media cameras. She intervened to suggest that Linda be allowed to read the statement. Linda said there was no intent to disrupt the meeting, but simply to read aloud the statement from our community. The consultants then gave Linda permission. Following her reading of the Community Input Statement, many of us filed out with our signs. Some remained to witness the rest of the meeting.
We had 3 media networks cover the meeting with cameras, thanks to FOHP sending out press releases. Both CBC and Global had coverage of the meeting on their 11:00 news. The meeting was the lead story on Global news.