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Central Park: Manager rejects NPA’s meeting request on bike path

NPA park board commissioners John Coupar and Melissa De Genova insist an appeal for a Nov.
john coupar
NPA park board commissioner John Coupar at Kits Point. photo Dan Toulgoet

NPA park board commissioners John Coupar and Melissa De Genova insist an appeal for a Nov. 4 special meeting regarding the proposed bike path for Kits and Hadden Beach parks meets the requirements of the board’s procedure bylaw dealing with such requests.

But park board general manager Malcolm Bromley disagrees.

In an email to commissioners, Bromley explains the request for the meeting was accompanied by a motion related to the Seaside Greenway Improvements, the related request for proposals (RFPs), and the advisory group. In a nutshell, Bromley writes that because the “essence of the special meeting is to rescind and amend a past decision” it is therefore out of order.

All hell broke loose several weeks ago when the Courier broke the news a 12-foot wide paved bike path will be constructed through Hadden and Kits Beach parks. The $2.2 million bike lane is an extension of the Cornwall-Point Grey bike lane connecting False Creek to Stanley Park and Canada Place.

Many residents and sports and recreation groups, including those representing thousands of basketball, volleyball and tennis players, complained they weren’t consulted prior to the decision. Hundreds of residents and park users held a rally at Kits Beach Oct. 20 to protest the decision, which the park board calls a done deal.

As a result, the park board agreed to create an advisory group made up of residents and sports groups. Coupar says regardless of the fact that group has yet to meet, a request for proposal was issued by the park board with a deadline of Nov. 5.

As for the special meeting, Coupar says according to the park board’s procedural bylaw, 48 hours notice is required prior to such an event. He notes their request was made days before the Nov. 4 meeting he and De Genova wanted.

The motion from the NPA commissioners includes a list of reasons they feel backs their request for the meeting, including the fact  Coupar requested detailed information regarding the route of the path prior to the Oct. 7 vote and was told there was none. He adds he’s since discovered a report including that information dated August and September.

“I don’t understand, why not share that information?” says Coupar. “There were a lot of details missing from that Oct. 7 meeting.”

That alone is reason enough the park board should allow this special meeting, says Coupar.

Other reasons and allegations included on the list include:

  • Commissioners were provided the opportunity for a briefing only days before a staff recommendation went to the park board for approval.
  • Commissioners were told a public consultation had taken place with the Senior’s Advisory Committee and the Persons with Disabilities Committee, but Coupar and De Genova say that’s not the case.
  • Park board chair Sarah Blyth issued a media release Oct. 18, stating that an advisory group would be formed consisting of sports groups and community members.
  • Under the existing RFP timeline it appears impossible that meaningful input from key stakeholders can be received in advance of the Nov. 5 deadline.

Fine film

By the way, Kitsilano resident David Fine has created this short video entitled Kits Bike Path: The Movie, detailing why as a cyclist he has concerns about the proposed path.