City Provides Update on Park Board Transition Plan

February 7 2024 –

Today, Vancouver City Council received a comprehensive update from City staff on the work to plan for the proposed transition of governance of parks and recreation services from the Park Board to City Council.  

On December 13, 2023, Council passed a resolution to request that the Provincial Government amend the Vancouver Charter to remove the requirement for a separate Board of Parks and Recreation and bring these functions under the direct oversight of Council. This transition would provide unified oversight of parks with other City service departments, enabling improved service delivery, simplified public and internal processes, deduplication of dual functions, greater leveraging of staff expertise across departments, and increased designation of permanent parks.    
Today’s presentation highlighted key elements of the transition plan, including the various work streams and timelines. The transition plan outlines two streams related to public service governance and service operations: 

(i)    Governance, Regulatory and Legal: Focused on addressing the essential legislative, governance, legal, and regulatory aspects of the transition in advance of proposed amendments to the Vancouver Charter. 

(ii) Operational Integration: Considering the opportunities for service improvements and operational efficiencies arising from the streamlining of governance. These two service-oriented streams are underpinned by essential cross-cutting efforts related to engagement with local Nations, staff and Union engagement, and public communications.  

As part of the presentation, City staff recognized the government-to-government relationship between the City and each of the three local Nations –  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh). They confirmed the City’s commitment to the current and ongoing involvement of the three Nations with Vancouver parks, including the Stanley Park Comprehensive Plan Intergovernmental Working Group. Consistent with Council’s foundational commitment to UNDRIP, staff noted they expect to maintain the close engagement with the three Nations in relation to parks moving forward. 

Council was also briefed on the progress of their December request for staff to accelerate park protections by identifying opportunities for more permanent park designations. Having Council as the governing body for parks will reduce current obstacles to permanent park designation and also open avenues for accelerating and broadening the scope of permanent park designations. Staff confirmed today that the work to identify additional parks for permanent designation is underway. 

“I am pleased with the progress that has been accomplished by our team in such a short time and have full confidence in their ability to execute the transition plan successfully. Their dedication and expertise have been and will continue to be indispensable in ensuring Vancouver’s parks and recreation facilities can serve our community to their fullest potential,” says Mayor Ken Sim. 

Recognizing the high public interest in parks and recreation services, the City is committed to providing regular public updates regarding the work to ready for the proposed transition. For more information on the these efforts, please visit City’s webpage outlining the proposed changes and updates in the process.