CUPE 15 joins Vancouver residents in opposing P3 tower: Board nixes plan



    VANCOUVER, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - After listening to the passionate opposition
of over 20 speakers, including CUPE 15 president Paul Faoro, at last night's
Vancouver Park Board meeting, the Commissioners have voted to nix plans for a
public-private observation tower in Queen Elizabeth Park. Non-Partisan
Association member and Park Board Commissioner Marty Zlotnik did not
participate in the discussion and vote due to a conflict of interest.
    The NPA-dominated board has directed staff to be "more entrepreneurial in
their thinking and development of additional revenue streams." The strategic
plan includes direction to "pursue alternative sources of funding," but while
carrying through with the public review process the board encountered strong
public opposition to the P3 tower.
    Surveys showed approximately 70 per cent of those asked were opposed and
over 35 per cent opposed because they did not want their public park to be
used for "private profit."
    "It is everyone's responsibility to ensure our public spaces are
preserved and protected," says Faoro. "That includes protecting them from
private interests that want to turn a profit from a natural park and view that
belongs to the people."
    The $10 million proposal included charging visitors to the tower $10 to
see an unobstructed view of the North Shore mountains, the harbour, downtown,
Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Fraser Delta and Mount Baker. Some opponents
argued that the view should be restored by selective pruning and that the view
fee was restrictive to residents. The board moved an amendment to direct staff
to "report back by spring 2008 on various tree management options with the
goal of restoring views from Queen E. Park Plaza."
    Faoro also argued that the P3 nature of the project meant the community
would lose control of a public asset and that transparency and accountability
would be compromised. This would only result in further commercialization of
the park as the private investor sought ways to expand the commercial
operation.
    Other organizations and groups that had their views heard in opposition
to the Queen Elizabeth Observation Tower included Vancouver Natural History
Society, Dunbar Residents Association and the Wildness Committee.




For further information:

For further information: Paul Faoro, CUPE 15 president, c: (604)
202-1829; Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications representative, c: (778) 229-0258

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