My friend Peter Ladner just wrote a fairly sizzling PIECE for Business In Vancouver about the Mount Pleasant skatepark and how it’s probably not going away any time soon.
In case you didn’t hear, the fairly-newly elected NPA majority Park Board was exploring the option to dismantle the 2 year old facility because of complaints from neighbours. Officials weren’t saying exactly how many complaints there were, just that there were enough that they were considering paying tens of thousands of dollars to dismantle this staple of the neighbourhood which cost a couple hundred grand to begin with. Like every skatepark it’s a place where kids can go to do something productive and stay out of trouble, and the positive value of it can’t be overstated. I know this firsthand as I spent most of my teenage years practicing the sport, staying occupied and keeping my nose clean in a space provided by the City.
The Park Board hadn’t consulted with the skateboarding community before they met to decide on it being a teardown or not, so it was no surprise when hundreds of skateboarders and their supporters showed up at a RALLY last month to protest the motion. It quickly became obvious that this park wouldn’t be disappearing without a fight, and the NPA Park Board must have taken heed as they decided to POSTPONE making a decision on it.
The park is next to an elementary school, which is also next to where the Mount Pleasant outdoor pool was up until a few years ago. Hundreds of screaming children inhabit the space most days, yet somehow neighbours were so angry about the adjacent skateboard park that the Park Board was ready to do away with it. How does that happen, you ask? Well, Peter (who you may recall was an NPA mayoral candidate a few years back) managed to unveil what no other media outlets could: the amount of neighbours who were complaining so loudly, and who one of them was.
Peter revealed that there were a grand total of four. Four noise complaints, and one of them just happened to be from the NPA’s campaign organizer from the previous election. Yes, the guy who helped them secure a majority on the Park Board where they can now make decisions about who they want to keep happy, and which skateboard parks do and don’t get torn down to keep them happy. Isn’t that some sort of coincidence!
HERE is Peter’s article.
The irony in all of this is that the park would have been safe for a good long while had some Vision Vancouver Park Board commissioners not torpedoed their own party right before the last election. The NPA won their majority because people were fed up with Vision’s commissioners and how they treated the Aquarium issue and others, right before the election, taking away Vision’s future to control the greenest part of the Greenest City. We actually had to block one of these commissioners on Twitter because they trolled us multiple times about our support for Ocean Wise and the Vancouver Aquarium, and the way I (and the majority of citizens) voted in the election reflected our distaste for the decisions being made on our behalf.
Regardless of any and all scoops, we’re hoping the NPA Park Board hears what the voters (and their kids) are saying about the decisions they’re making for us, and that they keep the skateboard park. Four angry citizens (one who comes from a political place that’s a little too close for comfort) should not be able to dictate decisions like this.