At their November 3 meeting, Gibsons council gave first reading to a plan to transfer all funds out of the Parks Acquisition Reserve Fund, a total of $338,000, and place them in the Capital Projects Reserve Fund, with the intent of donating $275,000 of the total to a non-park project, the expansion project of the Gibsons Public Market.The bylaw is on the council agenda for possible second and third reading Tuesday night.
We believe that allocating these funds for projects unrelated to parks acquisition is entirely inappropriate.
The expansion of the public market is not the issue—we consider that the concept of a public market is a good one. But the simple fact is the market is not a park. It is a property and business development project.
In going through the contortions required to reframe the parks fund as available for a capital project, the town has also:
- Neglected to reference the Parks Master Plan in their discussions about whether or not we need more parkland.
- Not requested a report to council on this matter from the Director of Parks.
- Ignored the need for park acquisition clearly demonstrated to council by the Friends of Gospel Rock Society (FOGRS).
- Not considered the needs of other community groups made up of children or elders who do not have enough play or activity parks in their neighbourhoods.
A transfer out of the monies would clearly be not only a violation of the purpose for which they have been acquired but also a violation of the public trust, since developers large and small have willingly contributed cash-in-lieu-of-land knowing their contributions would help acquire park land for future community benefit.
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Please help stop the giveaway of the parks fund. Write the minister today.