The Creekside Park extension story in full: statement for the defence

The Georgia Straight has now charged, tried and convicted me for failing to put pressure on Concord Pacific to build the long-awaited Creekside Park extension on the north side of False Creek across from the Olympic Village.

This verdict has been set next to the campaign contributions made by Concord to Vision Vancouver so readers can draw the obvious conclusion: I am bought and paid for. (I reject that suggestion as well.)

But, as is often the case in the Straight, the prosecution was so anxious to get to the verdict that most of the defence was ruled inadmissable, including the facts that:

  • Concord is not required to deliver the park until it decides it is ready, for its own market reasons, to develop the area;
  • when Concord makes that decision, the province must then approve and pay for soil remediation; and
  • the city must approve a rezoning for Concord that takes these factors into account, including final design of the park.

Until those pieces fall into place, there will be no park.

So pressure alone won’t do the trick, but building new partnerships might. That’s why council has asked staff to see whether reconfiguration of the park, without losing any space, could reduce costs of remediation and thus hasten redevelopment and park delivery.

At the same time, councillors like me are urging Concord and its neighbours to spend more time talking to each other. Simply shouting at Concord hasn’t worked so far. I favour a new approach.