Last night was the Vision Vancouver Park Board All-Candidates Meeting, held at the Fletcher-Challenge Theatre, SFU Downtown. I believe it went well. For posterity, here is the written version of my opening remarks (not a transcript, as this was written beforehand, and I’m certain I didn’t relate this verbatim). My thanks to everyone who attended.
Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen. My name is Steven Tannock.
I am a business owner and web developer. This may not seem like the most relevant experience for being a Park Board Commissioner, I know, but bear with me a moment here. Fundamentally, Web development is about communication, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I wish to talk to you about this evening.
How many of you here have attended a Park Board consultation meeting?
How many of you here WOULD have attended a consultation meeting, if you had heard about it?
Or still, how many of you here attended a consultation meeting, only to never receive any follow up communication, or any indication that youâ€™d been heard at all?
The Park Board Consultation process is broken. The public has lost faith in the process, and by extension, the board itself. As I sat in on park board meetings this past year, this became starkly apparent as I listened to speakers, regardless of their stance on the issue:
â€œI didnâ€™t hear about the meetingâ€
â€œI live in the neighborhood, where was my notice?â€
â€œThere was only one small sign â€“ you call that notice?â€
And so on.
As an exercise, try and find the status of any current park board project. Identify which councilors voted for, and which voted against the motion. Tell me the budget, hired vendors and the project timeline. Itâ€™s remarkably difficult. To learn about the English Bay Bistro, I needed to open 3 different web sites â€“ and still the best information was found in the Vancouver Sunâ€™s archives, not the Park Boardâ€™s own site.
As a stakeholder in every decision it makes affecting our parks & community centres, it is a conflict of interest for board and staff to also control how, when and where the consultation takes place. The Park Board needs an independent, arms-length Consultation office to oversee all three stages of community decision making: Notification, Consultation and perhaps, most importantly, Reporting. Only this will restore trust in the Park Board communication process.
On September 20th, please nominate me, Steven Tannock, so that I can fight to bring back the community in community consultation and decision-making.