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The Save Kits Beach Now Coalition Issues Backgrounder Document

As of this writing, more than 1,000 concerned citizens have signed the Save Kits Beach Now coalition petition expressing their dismay at the recent decision taken by Vancouver City Council, and Park Board, to "tear up family park green space in favour of a 12-foot-wide asphalt bike path."

If you haven't signed the petition, please do so now.

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On Sunday morning, Save Kits Beach Now coalition organizer Howard Kelsey led a media tour thru Kits Beach & Hadden parks, outlining the concerns of those who have rallied to defend North America's most highly-related beach park. Courtesy, Global BC. Oct. 27, 2013

This beautifully sunny Sunday morning, Save Kits Beach Now coalition organizer, Howard Kelsey, led Vancouver media — and a handful of concerned citizens who have expressed outrage at the decision taken by Vancouver City Council, and Park Board, to impose a 12-foot-wide, high-speed blacktop bike path amidst the trees, memorial areas, native lands, and picnic areas in both Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks.

Vancouver-based filmmakers Elvira Lount and Laurence Keane were on hand to record the event, and take photos — when the photos, and video, are made available, VanRamblings will publish that material on this page, as we will media video reports made available through Sunday's evening news.

On Sunday morning, Save Kits Beach Now coalition organizer Howard Kelsey led a media tour thru Kits Beach & Hadden parks, outlining the concerns of those who have rallied to defend North America's most highly-related beach park. Courtesy, Global BC, 6pm. Oct. 27, 2013

This past Tuesday, October 23rd, VanRamblings received a call from a source with ties to senior engineering and transportation staff working within Vancouver City Hall. This source related to us that the City / Vision Vancouver had made a decision to push ahead with the approved Hadden + Kits Beach portions of the Seaside Greenway bike paths, despite the issuance of a Press Release from Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth the previous Friday, October 19th, agreeing to strike a Special Advisory Committee of the Board that would give voice to community member concern, and provide a vehicle for community input into the determination of the final route for the much-maligned park section of the Seaside Greenway bike route. This source asked VanRamblings to contact Colleen Hardwick to advise her of such, but as Ms. Hardwick is out of the country, such contact was for nought. Not to mention, VanRamblings could not believe Vision would override the decision of their Park Board Commissioners, and interfere with the democratic process in such a callous, calculated manner.

North end, Kitsilano Beach, blacktop bike path graphical projection
Graphic projection of north-end Kitsilano Beach portion of bike path. Courtesy, David Fine.

On Sunday, October 27th, during the course of the Howard Kelsey-led Media Advisory Kits Beach-Hadden Park walk-through, a senior government official in attendance approached VanRamblings to appraise us, independently, of information confirming the above-planned course of action, with the City moving forward on construction of the approved Hadden + Kits Beach park-destroying bike freeway as early as this week.

Perhaps VanRamblings is naive, but quite simply we cannot believe that a municipal government — even one as tone deaf as Vision Vancouver, with just a bit over 12 months to go til an election — would deign to move ahead with a bike path project that has so raised the ire, indignation and opposition of such a broad swath of the multi-ethnic, demographically diverse, and varied community interests groups, all of whom have come together to oppose the imposition of a 12-foot-wide blacktop bike highway amidst two of Vancouver's, and North America's, most beloved parks.

Apparently, realizing the potential for a scenario such as the one described above, Save Kits Beach Now organizers have set about this week to develop a plan of action in support of those who've come together in opposition to the current approved City plan for a bike route that would hug the foreshore along Hadden + Kits Beach parks, that would forestall any such, or related, eventuality as described in the two paragraphs above.

One has to ask oneself, does the City care so little for the interests of its citizenry? Do Vision Vancouver Park Board Commissioners Constance Barnes and Trevor Loke — both of whom were present at the successful, well-attended Sunday, October 20th rally — have so little regard for the voices of the hundreds who came out to rally and stand in opposition to the imposition of the Park Board-approved Hadden + Kits Beach park bike path? Does the democratic input of the almost 1000 signatories to the petition opposing the asphalt bike path not matter a wit?

Has our Vision Vancouver-dominated city government become so cynical and out-of-touch with the electorate, are they so self-assured (one might even say, deluded) about their prospects for overwhelming electoral victory at the polls in 2014 that orders would be given through the office of the City Manager, Dr. Penny Ballem, to move ahead on bike path construction through Hadden + Kits Beach parks, on a bike path route so widely considered to be contrary to the interests of not just those who are residents of Kitsilano, but also the many tens of thousands of visitors from across Metro Vancouver, B.C. and Canada, from every corner of our vast globe, who visit Kitsilano and Hadden parks to wonder at the magnificence of these two Vancouver west-side parks of unsurpassed, majestic beauty?

While it is true that the strength of the Vision Vancouver political machine — a well-disciplined municipal political organization with an uncommonly coherent focus on power at all costs — knowing no equal in the history of Canadian municipal governance (we've almost become the Chicago of the north, no wonder Sadhu Johnson from Richard Daley's administration came to work under Dr. Penny Ballem), ready to mount an incredibly well-funded, virtually unassailable electoral campaign in 2014 amidst a confused, disorganized, unfocused, and internally-divided opposition, even given all that, is electoral victory in 2014 so much a foregone conclusion, does Vision Vancouver believe that only 30% of those eligible to vote in next year's election will bother to turn up at the polls, while their core union-bike lobby base of support will turn up at the polls lock step, and that no matter what bone-headed moves Vision Vancouver pulls over the course of the next 12 months, a flashy, latter campaign $658,000 five-day suppertime newshour media happy face ad buy blitz will, in 2014, catapult Vision to its third consecutive majority term of government? Apparently so, it would seem.

And more's the pity for all the democrats among us, on that count.

Slideshow. Sunday morning, Save Kits Beach Now Media Tour walk-through of Kits Beach & Hadden parks, on the Park Board-approved bike route. Courtesy, Elvira Lount. Oct. 27, 2013

David Fine has created a brief, poignant (some would even say, anger inducing) blacktop bike path projection photo essay that details the Park Board-approved route through Hadden and Kits Beach parks. Please click on the link.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 27, 2013 12:17 PM in Save Kits Beach


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