IN BRIEF: Stevenson withdraws election challenge; St Paul’s motion ‘vague’; Nelson Park makeover

Stevenson withdraws election challenge
City councillor and former Vancouver-Burrard NDP candidate Tim Stevenson has ended his effort to contest the results of May’s provincial election.

Stevenson was defeated in the race for Vancouver-Burrard MLA by Liberal incumbent Lorne Mayencourt by a tiny 11-vote margin.

Seventy-one votes were cast in the election but were disqualified and not counted because of administrative errors. Stevenson wanted the disqualified votes counted, but there’s no provision for that under BC’s Election Act. So he petitioned the Supreme Court of BC to overturn the election results completely, Jun 22.

In withdrawing his challenge, Stevenson cites the costs of by-elections to taxpayers, his desire to focus on continuing social issues in Vancouver and the upcoming civic election.

In a Jul 20 letter to BC NDP president Jeff Fox, Stevenson wrote: “Much as I believe the democratic process was flawed on May 17-that those voters were denied their right to have their ballots counted-I believe I can do more by pursuing re-election in Vancouver [city council].”

St Paul’s motion ‘vague’
A Vancouver city council motion concerning the future of St Paul’s offers less clarity than promised, more than 100 persons were told at a Jul 23 Save St Paul’s Hospital Coalition meeting.

Gay councillor Tim Stevenson promised at an all-candidates’ meeting last May that he would introduce a motion at city council to stop the city from rezoning False Creek Flats to permit a hospital.

But the motion moved by Stevenson and passed unanimously Jul 21 only calls for community consultation concerning the future of St Paul’s.

“It looks like we’re making progress but the bottom line is it’s vague,” noted coalition co-chair Alan Herbert.

But Herbert and others at the meeting said the motion was an important endorsement of the coalition’s struggle to include community input in hospital planning. “It recognizes the importance of the issue.”

Stevenson couldn’t attend the meeting due to another commitment but told Xtra West Jul 28 that he has heard nothing but praise from the community for the council motion. He said he couldn’t remember what he had promised at the all-candidates’ meeting.

“That’s neither here nor there. Legally, it was as far as we could go,” he explained. “I’ve been assured of that. It’s the strongest words we could go with at this moment.”

He said council has to keep the door open to the possible development of health facilities in the False Creek area while protecting the health interests of residents of the greater downtown core.

The council motion calls on Providence Health Care to undertake a comprehensive community consultation on its vision for the St Paul’s site and the provision of acute care services in the downtown core. And it asks Providence to defer development at the new False Creek site until the consultation has produced a plan that meets the needs of the West End and the city as a whole.


Gay Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt repeated an earlier promise to resign if St Paul’s is relocated from its current address. Mayencourt also encouraged the Save St Paul’s coalition to be explicit in its message to civic and provincial governments.

Nelson Park makeover
After months of discussion, the future of Nelson Park is still being mulled over and mulled over some more.

Explorations into a redesign of the Davie Village park, which has remained a primarily barren piece of land with a path meandering through it, came under the parks board’s closer scrutiny last year.

Right now, the land is part doggy toilet due to the off-leash area, part home of the Lord Roberts Annex K-3 elementary school and part magnet for drug dealers and vendors of possibly stolen goods and the crime that comes in their wake.

Among the proposals being considered under the Nelson Park Concept Plan are a fenced off-leash area, a basketball court with a controlled hoop to discourage nighttime use, areas for socializing and the relocation of the community policing office into the park’s field house.

The latter suggestion has been almost universally rejected, says George Stephenson who attended a recent parks board meeting on the topic.

He adds many people at the meeting wanted something done with the field house on the park’s northwest corner. “There was expression that it should be blown up,” he laughs.

Stephenson says the board doesn’t want to start the planning process over from the beginning but says commissioners seem to want to go further than originally discussed.

“There is certainly support for redevelopment of the park,” he says. “I don’t think they’ve been spinning their wheels.”

The project may return to a public consultation in September, Stephenson says.

No word yet on when that public consultation might be.

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