Monday, November 05, 2007

Is Pacific Spirit Park Really Out Of The Woods?


So, in case you missed it, there's this tussle going on out here on the far Western edge of Lotusland........

It began back in the summer, and it involves whether the University Golf Course (read 'Fairways for a Fee') or a chunk of Pacific Spirit Park (read 'Forests for Free') should be given to the Musqueam Band.

Originally, it was to be the golf course.

Then the golfers got upset about the tyranny of a public that loves its parks and started making noises about how fairways are actually more important for future generations than forests.

We are not making this stuff up; here is out one of them said at the time:

"The government doesn't want to offend the greater community. It's easier for them to offend the rich golfers who play out at the university golf course."

Of course, in the beginning it all seemed somewhat laughable - and we said so:

A lot of folks with lots of money and lots and lots of connections are really upset that their beloved LINO's are contemplating giving the UBC Golf Course to the Musqueam Native Band.

And one of the most upset is a very fine fellow named Marty Zlotnik.

But Mr. Zlotnik has a solution.

A very, to say the least, bizarre solution:

....Mr. Zlotnik, who has been a fundraiser for the Premier in the past and organized annual leaders' dinners for Mr. Campbell, said he and his fellow activists will take their case to the Musqueam in a bid to save the 78-year-old club.

They are fine-tuning a pitch to encourage the 1,200-member Musqueam community to seek a 48-hectare piece of the Spirit Park in the University Endowment Lands instead of the 48-hectare course in Mr. Campbell's prosperous Vancouver-Point Grey riding.

And you want to hear something even more bizarre?

Mr. Zlotnik is also a Vancouver City Parks Board Member.

Which, based on the evidence now available, appears to be akin to putting David Hasselhoff in charge of Nuclear Physics at MIT.

Or even a hamburger stand.

Having said all that, we were extremely relieved when the Provincial government also said that this business of trading a golf course for a park was silly in the extreme.

Except it turned out that there was a caveat. Specifically, the leader of the provincial government, Mr. Gordon Campbell, also said that he would wait a few months before making his final decision.

Since then the golf course itself actually raised a whole bunch of money for Mr. Campbell and his governing party's coffers.

And the golfers, who also happen to be some of the same folks that helped the course raise all that money, have been off doing their thing, which includes, according to them, a newspaper advertising campaign of their own.

All of which still seems crazy, right?


Well, the only trouble is, as Rafe Mair once said:

"Six months is an eternity in politics."

Which means that we are now about half way from here to eternity.

And a couple of little birds have been whispering in our ears (or, at least in our Email boxes)......

And they are telling us that there just may be a deal in the works to disappear a chunk of the park.

If true, this is not a good development for those of us who love truly public spaces that have been set been aside for all of us.

Unless of course you are one of those who can afford to regularly pay for greens fees (and all the fertilizer that goes with them).


For more info from the folks who don't have all the power and the bags full either clubs or money - check out the 'Friends of Pacific Spirit Park' website.


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