Park Board Letter
On March 6, 2023 we sent the following letter to the current Park Board commissioners, whom we’re told will soon “be prioritizing which parks are up for renewal in the 2023-2026 Capital Plan and Strathcona Park is still under consideration.“
To: Bastyovanszky, Brennan <Brennan.Bastyovanszky@vancouver.ca>; Christensen, Laura <Laura.Christensen@vancouver.ca>; Digby, Tom <Tom.Digby@vancouver.ca>; Haer, Angela <Angela.Haer@vancouver.ca>; Howard, Marie-Claire <Marie-Claire.Howard@vancouver.ca>; Jensen, Scott <Scott.Jensen@vancouver.ca>; Virdi, Jas <Jas.Virdi@vancouver.ca>
Cc: Sim, Ken <Ken.Sim@vancouver.ca>; Rosa, Donnie <Donnie.Rosa@vancouver.ca>; Lypkie, Jordan <Jordan.Lypkie@vancouver.ca>; AQProject@strathcona-residents.org
Dear Park Board Commissioners,
The community of Strathcona does not have an adequate city park to serve its residents, which include Vancouver’s highest concentration of people living in social housing, refugee families and many of the city’s most vulnerable, all of whom deserve access to greenspace to gather, relax and exercise.
Our only truly resident-centric park is the 1.2-hectare MacLean Park, which is frequently overcrowded. Though it has a heavily used splash park and playground, there is only enough shaded area to accommodate 2-3 picnic groups at a time. There are few, if any, amenities for teens, seniors, or anyone wanting to exercise, socialize or simply enjoy some peace and quiet. Officially, it is not an off-leash dog park, though many dog owners use it because there is no other easily accessible option, especially on the weekend.
Ostensibly, the much larger 10-hectare Strathcona Park should be our primary greenspace. It includes three baseball diamonds and a gravel soccer pitch (for rental to out-of-neighbourhood sports leagues), two poorly maintained tennis courts, a basketball court, a small skate park, a tiny playground and climbing wall, three picnic tables, and four benches. The fieldhouse washroom has not been updated since the park first opened in the 1960s. Recently, it was inaccessible for nearly a year due to a homeless encampment. Our other nearby parks (Trillium and Andy Livingstone) are primarily dedicated soccer fields.
The residents of Strathcona have told the SRA that Strathcona Park is long overdue for re-imagining and renewal, and are pressing us to reiterate that request to the Park Board. As part of this conversation, we conducted a survey with residents in 2021 to which nearly 400 residents responded. We aggregated those comments and released a list of ten recommended improvements.
We understand this is only the beginning of a much needed public engagement process.
But when considering city parks for renewal, we urge you to prioritize Strathcona.