Letter: Why Park Board is Needed In Hastings Park

Longstanding resident and community leader of the Hastings-Sunrise neighourhood, David Bornman, shared this letter with us that he recently wrote to City Council.

June 15, 2013

Dear Mayor, Councillors and Commissioners,

Thank you for your dedication in governing our wonderful city!

I want to provide a recent example of why the Park Board, rather than the PNE is needed as the governor of Hastings Park.

Our students use Hastings Park daily for PE, Recess, and Nature studies. Last Friday, (June 7) school parents were invited to an end of the year school picnic in the Italian Gardens. All parking lots in Hastings Park were nearly empty and no events were in process. School parents and children brought food and came out for our social event. However, instead of easy access to this already restored portion of Hastings Park the PNE leadership provided the following:

  • Locked Gates at Dundas and Renfrew, shutting off the playground parking. (Normally locked due to the continuous use of this area for catering & film trucks)
  • Pay Parking toll booths at entrance to the forum building/skate park.
  • Parking Attendants told all parents to park by the casino and pay $10

The long term school families were able to explain about the school picnic and parked near the Agridome. But a new immigrant family almost turned around and went home because they could not find parking and had not come prepared to pay $10 for a picnic. Fortunately they were rescued and we had a wonderful afternoon.

Our Park Board is the best suited to manage all parkland: the aquarium would not be allowed to run Stanley Park, nor the Folk Festival to run Jericho Beach, and the PNE is not an appropriate governor for Hastings Park! Citizens have repeatedly welcomed a 17 day “Fair in the Park” but we are not interested in “the park in the Fair”. The past few years of the PNE’s freedom to run rough shod over all uses of Park Land has resulted in:

  • A 300 day Fair set-up and removal schedule resulting in eyesore views surrounding every restored portion of Hastings Park.
  • Removal of much (Donor paid) landscaping in the Italian Gardens
  • Annual decorations of sickly trees in fork lift accessible planter boxes
  • A now three year fencing off of the Empire Fields previously used by 28 youth sport leagues
  • An overdue Casino Lease – resulting in unfulfilled lease requirements for relocation of horse barns and installation of underground parking

One item you are not being told: David Hutch continues to announce that Council has never deemed Hastings Park to be Permanent Parkland. This is true, but not told is that a decision by council is only one of six methods by which property can become Park Land. Hastings Park is already permanent Parkland by gift and therefore our charter requires that it be governed by the Park Board.

Councillors, please recognize the Park Board as the governor of the entire property of Hastings Park and adjust leases and responsibilities as needed. The PNE will remain a city owned asset but it needs to operate as one of the many tenants in our Park.

Park Board Commissioners, thank you for your recent decision to declare that the Park Board should govern Hastings Park.

Thank you,

David Bornman

Chairman of the Board
West Coast Christian School