Friday, December 1, 2023

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad


As 2023 comes to an end and we take a breather on all the horrific events of the year it's nice to reflect on some of the things that went well in our own backyard. With the voters having kicked out the grossly incompetent and ideologically deranged park board commissioners at the end of 2022, the new ABC commissioners got busy cleaning up the mess that had been left behind. By summer the Parks Board and City engineering crews had removed the mix of concrete barriers and cones that had created a separate bike lane and a traffic nightmare for all other forms of transportation, not to mention nearly bankrupting all the restaurants in the Park. It was an incredible waste of money to set up the barriers and almost as much to remove them, but common sense finally prevailed and the Park is once again open to everyone.

The beloved Stanley Park train had also been out of commission for the past two years thanks to Parks Board neglect. Qualified mechanics are hard to find, as are the parts yet, in spite of the train being a revenue generator and year round public favourite, with specially decorated trains at Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. But the Parks Board just let the whole operation grind to a halt. Thankfully once again the new Parks Board took stock of things and managed to get the train back up and running in time for the Christmas season.

The other major item of neglect of course is the heavily used Vancouver Aquatic Centre, which has been decaying right before the eyes of the Parks Board for a number of years. The budget for a replacement facility was also approved in the last election but unfortunately it takes a lot of time to design and build a facility of this magnitude. The obvious solution would be to keep the existing Aquatic Centre operating while the new one is built alongside it in the vacant Sunset Beach parking lot, but the Parks Board haven't been very forthcoming on the timeline or location of the new facility. At least the Parks Board has selected an architect to start the process but there's clearly a lot more to be done.

In the meantime Stanley Park has been completely taken over by an epidemic of the nasty Looper Moth which has consumed 25% of the Park's trees (hemlock in particular) and a massive logging operation is now underway to remove the hazard of 160,000 dead trees. It's a natural occurence, like bark beetles, but that's small comfort to a Parks Board trying to do their best in dealing with something that for once isn't of their own making. At the end of 2023 fixing two out of three problems isn't bad and I wish them good luck with cleaning up the mess in the forest.