A Fine Letter Sent to the Mayor and Council

One of our community members sent this great letter to the Mayor and Council recently (note that she also copied us at the Friends of Hastings Park. Feel free to email us copies of your letters). We have posted it here to give you ideas about what to include in a letter:

26 November 2010

Dear Mayor Robertson and Councillors:

RE: Hastings Park Plan

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the current version of the Hastings Park Master Plan and urge you not to endorse the current version.

I have been a resident of Vancouver Heights since 2005 and live two blocks from Hastings Park/PNE. When my husband and I moved to the neighbourhood, we were very pleased to learn that most of our neighbours had been living in the area for 20-30 years. This is a distinct indication of an area strongly oriented towards family and community.

The proposed Hastings Park Master Plan does not seem consistent with the community-oriented values of the neighbourhood, nor the progressive plan Mayor and Council have endorsed to make Vancouver the Greenest City by 2020.

Should the current plan be approved, it would:

• Prioritize expansion of Playland, rather than ecological restoration of parkland;

• Facilitate an increase in traffic through the development of either a multi-storied or underground parkade, rather than encourage public transportation or self-propelled transportation to the PNE; and

• Facilitate and prioritize corporate use, rather than community use, of the PNE grounds.

Hastings Park presents a prime opportunity to demonstrate an initiative to restore a natural area, and to return the area back to its original intended use. Hastings Park could become an urban refuge for wildlife and humans alike, and provide a greenway to link Brighton Park and Confederation Park, and encourage low-carbon forms of transportation and increase public access to greenspace.

The Park also presents a backdrop for other ecologically appropriate, community-oriented activities such as:

• a community centre within the Park itself, which would draw residents into a natural environment, with opportunities for nature education;

• a farmers’ market, which would support local agriculture,

• independent businesses that support local products and services, and;

• community garden spaces, which have become noticeably popular in Vancouver.

I applaud the leadership Mayor and Council has demonstrated in adopting and implementing an aggressive plan to “green” the City of Vancouver. I urge you not to endorse the proposed Hastings Park Master Plan in its current form. Residents of the surrounding communities and I would welcome the opportunity to be engage in a truly community-driven process to develop a revised plan for Hastings Park that is consistent with Vancouver’s goal to be the Greenest City.

[Community Member]

cc: Friends of Hastings Park