If you’ve been following Vancouver news, you may have heard the Vancouver Park Board come up. Haven’t heard anything? It’s not your fault, this information can be hard to find! Either way, EYA works closely with the Park Board and we want to share what we we know so far about its future.

What happened?

On December 13th, 2023 Vancouver City Council passed a motion to dissolve the Park Board. This was done without public engagement, consultation with Host Nations, or reasonable conversation with Councillors and Park Board Commissioners. To make this move a reality, the Charter of Vancouver must be amended, needing approval from David Eby/the province. Ken Sim hopes to get approval this February and move forward with a six-month transition plan. Requirements from the province to engage with Host Nations are currently unclear.

For 130 years, the Vancouver Park Board has protected green spaces in Vancouver. This has supported Vancouver in becoming a more liveable, attractive, and biodiverse place to reside and visit. As an organization working in Vancouver parks, EYA has experienced the immense benefit of having a Park Board dedicated to protecting parks and supporting community use of them.

What does this mean for EYA?

EYA has a longstanding relationship with the Vancouver Park Board as a Park Stewardship Partner. Through this relationship, EYA collaborates with the Park Board to complete stewardship work in Strathcona Community Gardens and Renfrew Ravine. The Park Board directly supports this work by providing 1000’s of native plant seedlings for EYA youth to plant in public parks, picking up invasive species for proper disposal, and directly funding projects (such as through the Neighborhood Matching Fund). The Park Board further collaborates with EYA by approving new stewardship projects, supporting us in getting City of Vancouver approvals when needed, and providing expertise and feedback on our projects.

EYA welcomes over 250 equity-seeking youth each year to programs within Strathcona Community Park and Renfrew Ravine. These youth identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, living with disability, low income, or facing other systemic barriers. With the support of the Park Board, EYA youth are actively stewarding urban green spaces and parks through removing invasive species and planting native plants. These parks are vitally important to EYA youth and the surrounding communities who access the spaces for mental and physical health benefits, wellness, community connection, and recreation. Furthermore, these parks provide important wildlife habitat and biodiverse ecosystems which are crucial to protect in our current intersecting climate and biodiversity crises.

There is concern that without the Park Board, these spaces that are so important not only to EYA youth, but all Vancouverites, may not be prioritized and protected in the ways they should be. EYA greatly values our working relationship with the Park Board, which allows us to support equity-seeking youth access nature while restoring urban greenspaces.

What can we do?

We welcome you to use any of the above wording to share with your community and/or email David Eby and other Vancouver MLAs so they can hear how valuable the Park Board is to you. The Protect our Parks link below also shares some tips on good letter writing and suggested talking points. There has been little opportunity for public consultation on the topic, so reaching out directly is a powerful option.

You can email the Premier at Premier@gov.bc.ca or David.Eby.MLA@leg.bc.ca. Below are the e-mail addresses of the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Anne Kang, and all Vancouver MLAs: