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Central Park: Province coughs up cash for southeast Vancouver seniors centre

Vancouver Park Board chair seeks aquarium review

Attorney general Suzanne Anton was at the Killarney Community Centre Wednesday morning to announce $1.2 million in additional funding towards a long-awaited seniors centre for southeast Vancouver.

In 2012 the province committed $1.3 million, less than the $2.5 million hoped for by the city and members of the Southeast Vancouver

Seniors’ Arts and Cultural Society, including seniors activist Lorna Gibbs.

The additional provincial funding tops up the $1.2 million promised by the city in February, which followed their initial $2.5-million commitment made in 2011. The park board got the ball rolling in 2009 when it dedicated the land adjacent to Killarney Community Centre.

In January, the federal government got on board with a promise of $2.5 million so long as work got underway in 2014.

While there are seven seniors centres located west of Cambie Street, there are none in southeast Vancouver, home to one-third, or 27,000, of the city’s seniors. Gibbs has lobbied tirelessly for more than a decade to encourage all three levels of government to work together to make the community’s dream of a seniors centre a reality. She’s been helped by longtime volunteers such as former Killarney

Community Centre Association president Keith Jacobson.

Vision Vancouver park board chair Aaron Jasper told me that while none of the Vision commissioners were invited to the announcement, they’re all delighted the project will finally move ahead.

Suspicious death
I didn’t have much information on this prior to the Courier’s press deadline, but police responded to a call to Stanley Park at 6 a.m. Thursday morning about a woman in medical distress.

The woman has since died, and the VPD say the death is suspicious. Investigators from the Vancouver Police Major Crime Section responded to the scene and Stanley Park Drive was closed for several hours while police conducted their investigation.

Cetacean cessation?
Aaron Jasper is bringing a motion to the board April 28 asking staff to prepare a report by July on the Vancouver Aquarium’s operations with whales and dolphins as well as a review of similar attractions, which may or may not include captive cetaceans.

The park board’s bylaw about keeping cetaceans in captivity is up for review next year.

The motion also asks staff to provide a public memo with an overview of the agreement and relationship between the park board and aquarium and post it on the board’s website. As well, Jasper wants the aquarium to make a presentation to the board about its programming, education and rehabilitation work as it relates to cetaceans and its work with other aquariums.

The motion reads in part, “The issue of keeping cetaceans in captivity is increasingly becoming an issue of heightened public interest; the Vancouver Park Board, through its bylaws, has it within its authority to enable or prevent the use of cetaceans in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium.”

Jasper wanted to make it clear the public is not invited to speak on the motion at this stage, but will have an opportunity to give input once the report is completed.

“The board can approve this Monday night if it feels there’s enough information and if not, it will get shot back to staff,” said Jasper. “But we’re mindful the clock is ticking on this.”