A recording of the Agenda is available at 604-257-8507.
The following notice of motion was put forward at the meeting of the Board held on Monday - May 29, 2000.
Whereas the Grandview Cut is second only to Stanley Park in green space;
Whereas there are Vancouver Park Board lands abutting the Grandview Cut;
Whereas we are committed to the Greenways plan;
Whereas the Grandview Cut is located in the East Side of Vancouver, an area deficient in green space;
Whereas the present ratio of residents to green space is 0.91 in the East Side, and 2.4 in the West Side, an inequality will be further exacerbated by the destruction of the Cut, should it occur;
Whereas the Grandview Cut is located in an area with a high percentage of First Nations residents and especially First Nations Youth, many of whom have no other access to natural parkland;
Whereas putting a SkyTrain through the Grandview Cut would destroy a valuable wildlife corridor, would not decrease stress and pollution, and would reduce green space;
Whereas the aforementioned project would greatly decrease livability;
Whereas the proposed SkyTrain route would decrease property value and negatively impact on local businesses during the two year construction period;
Whereas many members of the public feel there has not been adequate public consultation on this matter;
Whereas SkyTrain riders are subsidized by $40 per person per ride, as opposed to $2 per person per ride on the buses;
Whereas 87% of transit users use the bus and only 13% use the SkyTrain;
Whereas increasing the bus service would substantially decrease transit problems in the lower mainland, and the SkyTrain proposal wouldn't;
Whereas increasing the bus service in the lower mainland would increase unionized employment providing citizens with good jobs in transit;
Whereas the proposed SkyTrain expansion will not decrease pollution or get people out of their cars for a number of reasons;
Whereas the proposed habitat replacement completely ignores the ecological devastation which would occur and cannot be mitigated;
Whereas the destruction of the Grandview Cut represents the destruction of a viable, intrinsically valuable urban natural ecosystem, home to a multiplicity of living creatures which enrich the ecology, our hearts and minds;
Whereas it is the belief of citizens of the East Side that they are subsidizing the project which is above ground on the East Side and below ground on the West Side, and that this is a class and race issue that they take exception to;
Whereas, for the future of the children, the elders, and the animals in the East Side, the destruction of the Grandview Cut would be devastating physically, ecologically, culturally and psychologically;
And Whereas when teams of heavy horses and soiled and sweating men hauled away wagons of earth and shaped the Grandview Cut, no one planted the trees and shrubs that cling where they can to the steep slopes today. There was no need. Native woodland covered the area less than a century ago. In its unassuming way this gradually reclaimed the wounded land. As years passed and trains ground noisily along the bottom of the Cut, the trees grew undisturbed, some to impressive heights. One by one, their fellows in the surrounding woods were felled. House were built, streets were paved, and business communities evolved along what were once skid tracks. Park warblers continued migrating along the corridor of the Cut. The wrens continued nesting in its trees;
Whereas with each kilometer outward that the city spreads, each hectare of forest, field, and creek side lost, every cluster of trees within that enclave, every huddle of shrubs and herbs, every patch of semi-isolated gravel where killdeers might raise their young grows exponentially in importance;
Whereas it is no longer enough to plant tamed and tidy gardens, trees spread daintily along the boulevard. The garden, the laneway, the grid of streets are no longer clearings in the midst of wildness, human habitat gleaned from a rough and endless native world. They sprawl across ecosystems, climate regions, borders, dividing wild from wild. The discontinuity frays the health of wilderness itself, diminishing the richly woven tapestry of life, individual by individual, species by species, ecosystem by ecosystem. We have reached the stage where we need to do everything in our power to reconnect those wild lands, to salvage and restore wherever we can grassy patches, shrubs, woodlands no matter how disturbed or small, no matter that they don't yet represent the ultimate combination of species for this particular patch of land. These are the only refuge urban wildlife has, the only pockets of connection that lets it leapfrog across the concrete that has taken over its home;
Whereas instead of digging in and taking more and reducing what is left - WE NEED TO LEAVE THE WILD, WILD and shape our roadsides, parklands, gardens, backyards wherever we can to a kinder, wilder place that will coax back the great chorus of birdsong, woo home the peregrines and the hawks. We must tame the pollution in the waters and soil and air so that frogs and humans and chickadees alike can happily call this sprawling city home;
Whereas why do we need these wild and semi-wild and returning-to-wild places? Why isn't it enough that new trees and shrubs will be placed in a linear park along Grandview, even if there was a way for this to support the same wildlife that currently lives inside the Cut (which there is not)? It is more than knowing that wildlife is valuable in and of itself, more than knowing that our own well-being depends on healthy forests and bogs and oceans. It exists on a level we cannot always feel, and which expresses itself differently for each of us - as love for a gently parent, as a joyful disorderliness, as a memory of a distant home. We come from the wild land. Even in those of us who love "civilization", the city life, the ways we have learned to organize and fascinate ourselves, part of us is always wild. That part needs to be enclosed, ordered, constrained like a potted plant or a greenway pruned for safety and visibility. We need to be able to look down and know that whether we ever walk in the Cut ourselves, it is growing there, largely unrestrained, and that this is possible for us as well. We need places of great beauty right before our eyes, in our neighbourhoods - not only beauty that has been designed and dictated by someone else, but something that follows its own notion of what is healthful and vigorous growth. We need woodlands to love and grow up beside and fight for. We need to know that wildlife isn't all in the Serengeti or the Far North - that it lives right here, that it's a part of us, and we need to have a place to look at as our home, that will not disappear or be molested with the passage of time.
For ourselves, as well as for the wildlife, we need to save and honour this precious wild land in our midst.
Be it resolved that the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation strongly support the people of Vancouver in demanding a halt to the proposal of putting the SkyTrain through the Grandview Cut, and, that we listen to voices of the people at the next Park Board meeting on this issue, and that we strongly encourage City Council, TransLink and the Province of BC to do the same.
NEXT REGULAR MEETING: Monday, June 26, 2000 at 7:00 pm