Annual Report 1997:

Year-End Report to CHCA Annual General Meeting - November, 1997

The past year was one of change, challenge and growth for our committee. Committee work was eased by having a clear mission statement (“To encourage stewardship of Everett Crowley Park as an urban wilderness”) as a result of a public consultation last November. Five sub-themes were developed to support this mission statement, as was a process for dealing with contentious items at the committee level (see attached overview). Meetings go faster and more gets done!

The workshop and its outputs had some other, unexpected, positive results. In December, ECPC co-Chair Donna Tilley convinced the Board of Parks and Recreation to pass a unanimous motion re-committing it to “the maintenance and preservation of the naturalness of Everett Crowley Park and any steps to enhance its naturalness”. In the spring, Parks Canada selected the committee and its process as a model of “community consultation in park stewardship”, videotaped committee members, and detailed the whole thing in a national staff training package.

A blow came when the Evergreen Foundation ended its funding of committee activities. Martha Norman stayed involved through the summer, however, tying up many loose ends. She produced a detailed final report, titled “A Summary of the Ecology and Community of Everett Crowley Park”. Evergreen also identified seven needed/possible rehabilitation projects for the park, and published a two-year bird study that found over 120 species of birds living in or visiting the Park! Martha is to be congratulated for her efforts, as is Evergreen for their support of the committee.

Other committee publications in the past year included a beautiful trail map, and a history booklet titled “Everett Crowley Park: Paradise Reclaimed”. Both are available through the recreation centre, with the history booklet being nominated for a Heritage Vancouver award. The committee was also closely involved with the Southeast Vancouver “Discovery Project”, and one result is nature-themed embedded artwork in the sidewalk on Kerr St. The second “Sounds of the Solstice” concert at Avalon Pond was a success too. Our committee hopes that the pond will be the site of future cleanup and habitat protection efforts. Stay “tuned” for more on this.

Other committee activities were supported by Mareille Martel, a young naturalist funded by a BC Environment grant for nine months, who effectively developed park-centred activities for the school and the recreation centre. Capilano College students did a second year of environmental science studies in the park - the reports are available! A summer park cleanup was organized by a local youth group, and the City of Vancouver hauled a lot of junk away at the end of the day.

As a result of detailed negotiations with the Park Board, a new crosswalk on Kerr will allow parkgoers to safely access the trails at Fraser View, as well as the washrooms (whose location followed a committee suggestion). A large stone is in place by the Kerr parking lot, and Lee Crowley is arranging to have the park name sandblasted on it. Another goal is to erect a “kiosk-style” covered signboard near the parking lot, with an enlarged trail map and message board.

The BC Summer Games held their mountain bike event in the park with almost no damage being done, thanks to protracted negotiations with the committee over the route and the scale of the event. The Games then donated a “legacy” of wood and supplies to the committee, for use in building a much needed boardwalk to funnel foot traffic away from marsh habitat near the pond’s edge. The civic strike delayed its construction, but we hope to build the boardwalk next summer.

The committee always needs more members, as there is lots to be done. Thanks for your support.
HOW THE “Everett Crowley Park Committee” WORKS!

A. Mission Statement of ECPC: “To encourage stewardship of Everett Crowley Park
as an urban wilderness”

B. Five Sub-themes of Mission Statement: The following sub-themes were developed in a public workshop in October 1996, and provide guidance and integration for the committee as it seeks to balance the interests of people and nature in the use of the park. They are also to help the committee prioritize issues to better serve the mission statement, to develop a stronger identity with the public and the Board of Parks and Recreation, to better represent the community, to attract new membership, and to get things done!

1. Park Maintenance: Manage the park so as to serve its human users while restoring natural habitat

2. Recreation: Support low-impact recreational activities which are appropriate for a natural park setting

3. Habitat Rehabilitation: Assist people to understand the natural processes behind the park’s regeneration, and to appreciate and support the possibilities for improved ecological integrity

4. Nature Education/Appreciation: Improve the habitat of the park so that it supports a healthier mix of plants and animals

5. Larger Ecological Context: Act with reference to local, regional, national, and international environmental challenges and projects

C. Steps of the ECPC Decision-Making Process:
• A specific issue is raised at a monthly meeting by any attendee
• Discussion among whole committee; prioritize importance for committee
• Terms of reference for issue developed by whole committee or discarded
• Motion to pass it on to appropriate sub-committee (pass/fail)
• Sub-committee directed to review issue, suggest action; recommendations must make reference to five sub-themes, other committee activities, budget realities, etc.
• Sub-committee researches issue, develops recommendations
• Sub-committee presents findings at next monthly committee meeting
• Committee discusses issue and recommendations, referring to sub-themes
• Decisions, motions and actions then follow committee deliberations
• Sub-committee may be directed to develop ideas further, return next month
• Motion results are passed on to Community Association, Vancouver Parks Board

D. 1997 Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation unanimous motion:
“That this Park Board re-commit itself to the maintenance and preservation of the naturalness of Everett Crowley Park and any steps to enhance its naturalness.”