Vancouver Park Board Can Expect Budget Cut

Vancouver Park Board Can Expect Budget Cut
Vancouver Park Board Can Expect Budget Cut

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation’s budget could be cut by $16 million.

A report by the Board’s CEO recommends that the Board support a reduction in the 2023-2026 capital plan through an interim update and a request for recalibration.

If the proposed changes are approved, the council’s capital plan will be reduced from $562.5 million to $546.2 million.

Laura Christensen, commissioner of the independent park board, said she was disappointed with the recommendation.

“We should be putting more money into our parks and recreation system,” she said. “Not less.”

The possible cutbacks would mean four projects would lose their funding.

These projects include a new restroom at Tisdall Park, baseball field and playing field upgrades, a playground overhaul at Ross Park, and a walking trail at Moberly Park. In June, ABC announced the new track at Moberly Park.

Ginny Ghotra, a resident who regularly visits Ross Park with her daughter, said it’s sad to hear the playground renovation may be postponed.

“I wouldn’t want it to be pushed down, of course not,” she said. “We’ve been coming here for a number of years. My daughter loves this place.”

CTV News reached out to ABC commissioners for comment but did not receive a response by deadline.

In the report, park board staff said they are committed to delivering on these projects and will apply for funding in the next capital plan process. Staff noted that there were new priorities that were not anticipated during the 2023-2026 capital plan. When asked for clarification, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation said the additional needs identified by staff were related to the renewal of the artificial turf, Kitsilano Pool and overall maintenance of aging infrastructure.

The staff added that while most projects are progressing as planned, there are challenges, such as high inflation, a tight labor market and supply chain issues.

“The park board is also facing these challenges, so why is the parks and recreation budget being cut while the rest of the city is getting an increase?” Christensen said.

The park board will vote on the report Monday night, after which it will go to the city council to decide whether funding should be cut.