February 28, 2017

Disappointment expressed at loss of funds intended for paddling community 

TO: Catarina Gomes
Vancouver Park Board

Dear Catarina:

We were disappointed to learn that the Vancouver Park Board plans to use remaining funds that were originally earmarked by City Council for a non-motorized boating facility in False Creek, for other “marine” purposes. These funds include a $1,000,000 donation that was donated specifically in support of a new boathouse for dragon boat and other paddlers.  It is unfortunate that when the decision by the present Mayor and Council was made to support paddlers in Vancouver, no one from the Park Board was present. If a Park Board representative had been present, you would know that the intent of that additional sentence to the motion was meant to direct staff to include paddling and rowing sport organizations in future discussions. It is unfortunate that until the funds were on the horizon, the Park Board was not interested in supporting the paddling community’s plans.

Fortunately, there were over 120 supporters present at the public hearing, all of whom put their name forward to speak in support of a permanent home for dragon boat and other flatwater racing and paddling in False Creek. These and others will be extremely disappointed to learn that present elected Park Board Commissioners have decided that they would rather use the remaining CAC funds for other non-specific uses.  Our organization does not blame the Park Board staff. Either the elected commissioners are instructing staff to proceed in this direction, or they are not giving any direction at all, and staff are forced to work in a vacuum, hoping to do the right thing.

I suspect you will be hearing a lot more from the paddling community in the near future. The paddling community is made up of many informed voters and we will be reminding them of this Park Board’s specific action in 2018.

Regards,

Ann Phelps
General Manager
Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society Creekside Docks


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