The Vancouver Park Board is poised to seek independent legal advice about challenging Mayor Ken Sim’s plan to disband the elected body.
Sim has asked the provincial government to open the Vancouver Charter in order to scrap the 135-year-old board and to bring parks administration under the authority of city council.
The move is opposed by the majority of park board commissioners who do not sit with Sim’s ABC Vancouver party.
The board is set to debate a motion by Green Commissioner Tom Digby on Monday, that would allocate up to $20,000 for legal advice on launching a judicial review of the mayor’s plan.
“We believe the mayor is way past his jurisdiction and authority to be making an announcement and to be taking any steps towards abolishing the park board,” Dibgy told Global News in a Jan. 29 interview.
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The money for the proposed legal advice would come from the park board’s reserve funds.
Sim originally floated eliminating the elected park board in 2021, but reversed that position in 2022 when ABC ran a slate of park board candidates and he pledged instead to “fix” the board.
Vancouver mayor forges ahead with dismantling park board
In December, he again reversed course, arguing that the “system is broken and no amount of tweaking will fix it.”
The provincial government has signaled willingness to open the Vancouver Charter, but that the city must first address “a number of items” including land ownership, the future of workers and consultation with local First Nations.
Last month, Sim unveiled a new transition group dedicated to advancing the plan to scrap the park board.
The group has been given a six-month timeline to provide recommendations and feedback to council on how it can engage with the public on its proposed governance over parks and recreation services, as well as review the current governance structure and community relations practices of the elected board.
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