Vancouver’s park board voted Monday night to hire a legal team to guide them in a fight against Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim’s plan to dismantle the elected body.
The motion was introduced by Vancouver Green Party commissioner Tom Digby and seconded by commissioners Brennan Bastyovanszky, Laura Christensen and Scott Jensen, outvoting dissident commissioners Jaspreet Virdi, Marie-Claire Howard and Angela Haer.
This means the park board will spend $20,000 to hire independent attorneys to determine the chances of overturning Sim’s plan, which was approved by the city council on Dec. 13.
When the seven-person park board was elected in October 2022, six members were from Sim’s ABC Vancouver party, and the seventh seat was held by Digby, giving ABC Vancouver full control.
However, when Sim revealed his plan to give the council control of the park board, three of those ABC Vancouver members (Bastyovanszky, Christensen and Jensen) left the party and now serve as independents. This leaves the three remaining members of ABC Vancouver (Virdi, Howard and Haer) with Digby holding the balance of power.
Howard is part of Sim’s transition team, which is tasked with working out the logistics of closing the parks board and taking over its assets.
He was testy Monday night, with President Bastyovanszky accusing Howard of being disrespectful and insulting staff after she said “the park board is an outgoing duck.”
The city will need permission from the provincial government to amend the Vancouver Charter to allow the board to be dissolved.
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