I was a little surprised last week when @dudechillinpark didn’t take to the Twitterverse to spread its good news.
The park board, at the urging of Vision Vancouver chair Sarah Blyth, has found a permanent home for the “Dude Chilling Park” sign, mysteriously erected overnight in November 2012 in Mount Pleasant’s Guelph Park. As it turned out, the guerrilla art installation had been designed to highlight the Michael Dennis sculpture of a lounging figure at the park. The sign was immediately removed by park board staff, but not before photos of it spread on social media faster than a video of a cat playing piano.
In March, Blyth brought forward a motion to the board asking staff to find a permanent home for the popular sign.
Last week, Blyth let me know the sign has a new home in the Brewery Creek Community Garden, located within Guelph Park. The move was made after resident Dustin Bromley launched an online petition calling on the city to permanently rename the green space Dude Chilling Park. While the idea was a popular one with the public, the city nixed it. In 1972, the park was named after the adjacent Guelph Street, which recognizes Queen Victoria’s family name.
In July NPA commissioner Melissa De Genova brought forward a motion asking staff to report back with a communications strategy for the OneCard, a system-wide pass rolled out in June to seven community centres with plans to introduce it at 15 more facilities in September — so long as the interim joint-operating agreement was ratified.
At the time, De Genova was concerned because information provided by the park board claimed that come September the OneCard would be accepted at the 22 centres when that was not the case. Hillcrest, Killarney, Hastings, Kerrisdale, Kensington and Sunset community centre associations dropped out of negotiations with the park board over the proposed agreement and refuse to accept the card for their own programs.
In July, De Genova wrote in her motion, “Frontline staff may be faced with difficult and uncomfortable situations in explaining where the OneCard can and cannot be used, if this information is not clearly communicated to the public…”
From what I’ve been hearing from some readers that’s exactly what’s been happening. While some members of the public are frustrated because they assumed their OneCard would be accepted at these centres, others are angry because they purchased memberships for their community centre, only to be told the free OneCard would eliminate that need.
According to the park board there were two incidents over the Labour Day weekend when an association board member harassed a frontline worker, and in one case police were called to escort the man from the centre. As a result, the board brought in park rangers to act as security guards for the weekend.
De Genova told me Monday that in response to her inquiry, she was told the park rangers worked 34 shifts of between eight and 12 hours each at $23 an hour during the Labour Day weekend.
That works out to a minimum of $6,200. De Genova argued that money could go a long way to reinstating some of the 900 hours cut from community centres by the board in the past several years.