The legacy of Vancouver Park Board: Spencer Chandra Herbert

Courier article about Sunset Beach intercultural community garden

This article appeared in the October 22 edition of the Vancouver Courier
Vancouver Courier

by Sandra Thomas

A proposal to create a multicultural community garden on Sunset Beach has been withdrawn due to negative feedback from residents living near the proposed site.

If approved the proposal would have been a joint project spearheaded by YMCA Connections in partnership with the West End Residents Association (WERA) and Gordon Neighbourhood House, with support from the park board.

WERA president Brent Granby said after speaking with residents living near the proposed location, he discovered that while there’s a lot of support for community gardens, there are many misconceptions regarding what they entail.

“The positive feedback was really encouraging,” said Granby. “But it also showed the park board needed to do a bigger round of consultations.” Continue reading Courier article about Sunset Beach intercultural community garden →

Sunset Beach community garden

In my capacity as President of the West End Residents Association I have been participating in a project to develop more community gardens in the West End. The project is a partnership between the YMCA and Gordon House to create an Intercultural Community Garden in the downtown peninsula. The project has already establish a garden on the roof of St. Paul’s Hospital and formed a new partnership with Providence Health Care which has enabled some 5o gardeners to grow organic food.

At the start of the project it was hoped that some space in a Vancouver parks could be found to increase the capacity to grow food in the downtown peninsula. The Vancouver Park Board does have policy in place to support this project. The project work with staff to find a suitable location for the garden and two sites were suggested by staff for the garden. One site was in David Lam Park and an open house was held and area residents gave very heavy negative feed back on the proposal. Staff recommend that another site should go to the public for consultation and this was the Sunset Beach proposal. This proposal was introduce to the area residents for feedback.

While in general there was a lot of support for community gardens the was a major opinion that the Sunset Beach area was not a good choice for a garden. The partners of the project produce the following statement: Continue reading Sunset Beach community garden →

Rooftop garden cultivates community

This story appeared in the Vancouver Sun on Sept. 17, 2010. Click here for the full article.

Gardeners Tomoko Koike (left), Ningna Lu, Chris Barber, Brent Granby (also president of the West End Residents Association), Lynsey Dobbie and Veronika Gruber gather on St. Paul’s Hospital’s rooftop garden. Photograph by: Ian Lindsay, PNG

Imelda Milelli reaches into her small garden box atop St. Paul’s Hospital and pulls up a handful of wheat grass.

A few boxes away, Tomoko Koike shows off her shiso, a Japanese herb used in salads, soups and sushi. As two of 53 downtown peninsula residents with plots here, Milelli, a recent immigrant from Mexico, and Koike, from Japan, are part of an experimental garden.

They aren’t trying to grow super-crops. They are trying to grow a healthy welcoming society. And it seems to be working.

Continue reading Rooftop garden cultivates community →

A Virtual Fundraiser!

Are you tired of cupcakes & raffle tickets, walkathons & wrapping paper? Do you believe in the absolute necessity of public education to the functioning of a civil society? Do you want to support research into this area? If your answer is yes, yes and yes, then the British Columbia Society for Public Education (BCSPE) invites you to attend our first-ever, virtual, non-event; Pro-Education Day on September 15th!

Last spring, BCSPE conducted a public opinion poll which revealed that most British Columbians support public education and believe funding should be increased to ensure the best possible education for children.

While we are a volunteer organization & give of our time freely, polls cost money. This September 15th you can help us continue to support public education through sound research and advocacy. On or before Pro-E Day please send a donation. Our goal is to raise $2,500.00

We will do this by selling you the building blocks from our survey – individual abc’s. You can purchase a lower case letter for $10.00 or an upper case letter for $25.00. We’ll happily sell you an entire sentence or even a paragraph for a larger donation! A cheque payable to ‘BCSPE’ can be mailed to:

BC Society for Public Education
c/o 3088 West 11th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6K 2M6

City to undertake more consultation in the West End

Comox tower proposal won’t proceed to public hearing, says Mayor

A proposed STIR rental residential project on Comox Street that has generated concern in the West End will not go forward to public hearing at this time, says Mayor Gregor Robertson, so that the City can work with the neighbourhood to first identify key planning priorities, issues and community needs.

“We’ve heard from the West End community that people are concerned about new development in their neighbourhood,” said Mayor Robertson. “There’s no question we need more rental housing, both in the West End and throughout Vancouver. However, it’s clear that we also need more discussion about how rental housing goals and other critical needs can be met in the West End.

“I’m inviting community leaders to engage with my office in a special advisory process about the West End,” Robertson said, “and I’ve advised the developer it would not be appropriate to move the project forward at this time until further engagement with the community is completed. We want to hear from people about their current priorities.”

Robertson said that Westbank and Petersen Group, who own the site of a now-closed church, have agreed with this approach. Westbank and Petersen Group have a solid track record of accommodating community needs into new developments, including Woodward’s. Westbank President Ian Gillespie said that their organization understands the need to work with the City and the neighbourhood to better understand community priorities.

“We want to keep working with the neighbourhood and the City to develop a proposal that reflects the need for more rental housing and is sensitive to other priority needs in the West End,” said Gillespie.

Mayor Robertson stressed the importance of new rental housing being created in a way that engages the public.

“Our council is committed to getting new housing built,” said the Mayor. “We’ve shown that we’re not afraid to look at creative options, whether it’s the STIR program to get new rental built, laneway housing, secondary suites or modular housing. But we need to do it in a way that also builds trust and public confidence in the way the city consults with neighbourhoods.

“That’s why waiting for more neighbourhood consultation in the West End is the right thing to do. We need to strive for a win-win.”

The Mayor’s West End Advisory Committee, which will be made up of 12 individuals from the West End, is taking applications up until September 10, 2010. It will be charged with gathering an updated list of community priorities. For more information, please visit

Media contact:

Kevin Quinlan
Executive Assistant
Office of the Mayor
City of Vancouver
Office: 604.873.7232
Cell: 778.995.2264

Nurturing children’s health through nature forum

more images of the public forum Continue reading Nurturing children’s health through nature forum →

Images of Beaver Lake Walk, Saturday July 7, 2010


A dialogue on Beaver Lake, Sat. Aug. 7, 10:30 am

Vancouver Pride 2010

images of Pride 2010