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Vancouver mayoral candidate Ken Sim vows to abolish city’s elected park board

Ken Sim says he will abolish the city's elected park board if he becomes mayor.
Ken Sim says he will abolish the city's elected park board if he becomes mayor. Global News

A candidate running to become the next mayor of Vancouver says he’ll get rid of the city’s elected park board if elected.

Ken Sim says he hopes to abolish the elected park board and roll it back under the authority of city council if he wins next fall’s mayoral election.

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Sim ran as the mayoral candidate for the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) in 2018, narrowly losing to current Mayor Kennedy Stewart. Sim has expressed interest in leading a newly-formed party called A Better City.

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“If I am successful in securing a nomination from an electors organization, I will also be looking to recruit candidates to run for park board alongside me, who will be committed to being the last elected park board commissioners,” he said in a statement.

Vancouver is the only municipality in Canada with an elected park board. According to the City of Vancouver website, the elected park board was created in 1888 to help manage the new Stanley Park.

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It now oversees 230 public parks and a large number of recreational facilities.

Abolishing the park board would require action from the province. The establishment of the board is in the Vancouver Charter, which is provincial legislation.

Sim cited the lack of details around the recently announced sale of the Vancouver Aquarium, located in Stanley Park, to a U.S.-based company as a sign that change is long overdue.

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“This isn’t about the business decision, it’s about a park board that failed, it’s about elected officials who either did not, or could not, succeed in securing the necessary funding from higher levels of government to protect a treasure at the heart of Vancouver’s greatest park,” he said in a statement.

Last week, the NPA nominated longtime park board commissioner John Coupar as its candidate for mayor.

Read more: Longtime political strategist Mark Marissen plans to run for mayor of Vancouver

Earlier in the week, Mark Marissen announced his plans to run for mayor in next year’s municipal election.

Marissen is a longtime political strategist who has worked on both mayoral and federal election campaigns. He is also the ex-husband of former B.C. premier Christy Clark.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart has signalled he will seek re-election.

The next municipal election is scheduled for the fall of next year.

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