Discover more from SaveChinatownYVR
Park Board is gaslighting Chinatown
A tale of three lies about the Sun Yat-Sen Public Park from the Vancouver Park Board
Some of you might have received this email about the Sun Yat-Sen Public Park gate from the General Manager’s office at the Vancouver Park Board:
First of all, when did the eastern Columbia Street gate become a “service gate”?
We dropped by to take a look at what’s really going with that gate, and we were greeted with this new sign:
A service gate? What?
After doing some research online, we found a City of Vancouver 2012 parks way-finding map that clearly marks the east entrance of the park as an actual entrance.
There’s a VIA Rail blog from 2017 with someone strolling into the public park’s eastern entrance.
Even a 1994 PhD thesis by Dongyan Liu at the University of Manitoba included a map of the park with the east entrance visibly labeled.
The east entrance is not a service gate. It never has been, and was never meant to be. These gates have been opened all along during opening hours through the late 80’s until recently. Someone at Park Board just made this all up after our complaints, in order to gaslight the public into thinking that it’s a “service gate” that must be locked.
Secondly, the Park Board’s claim about opening hours not being changed since 2018 from 9:30am to 4pm everyday to align with the Garden’s hours is also inconsistent with documentation.
For example, the current posted hours for the park onsite at the Pender St gate is 10am to 3pm:
In a recent CTV news article about the park’s inaccessibility, the journalist found that the garden hours varied depending on the season. In 2020, the Sun Yat Sen Garden was opened until 7pm in the summer. 4pm is not “after dark” for many months of the year.
So again, the Park Board is just straight up lying about opening hours past and present.
And finally, the Carrall St entrance they point everyone to go to is completely inaccessible for people with mobility aids, because of a prominent bar at the bottom of the gate. There’s no way to call anyone for help with it.
The only other gate on Pender St is also usually locked during opening hours:
In a neighbourhood where there are many elders with mobility aids and challenges, instead of making the only public and cultural green space in Chinatown accessible, the Park Board is actively discouraging them from entering.
In summary, the Park Board:
Turned the eastern entrance into a “service gate” as an excuse to continue to permanently lock it.
Is offering inconsistent narratives about current and past operating hours despite a journalist investigation and what’s posted on their own signs.
Is forcing everyone to enter through the Carrall St gate with a bar that’s inaccessible to people with mobility aids and challenges.
In other words, our government is actively lying to us in order to make what is supposed to be a public park much less publicly accessible.
We need to tell Park Board we’re watching what they’re doing and we’re not afraid of holding them accountable.
Send an email to the Mayor and Park Board commissioners and staff that they need to stop gaslighting us and make the Sun Yat Sen Public Park accessible for the public again:
(If the button doesn’t work, see the email instructions below.)
TO: firstname.lastname@example.org, Brennan.Bastyovanszky@vancouver.ca, Laura.Christensen@vancouver.ca, Tom.Digby@vancouver.ca, Angela.Haer@vancouver.ca, Marie-Claire.Howard@vancouver.ca, Scott.Jensen@vancouver.ca, Jas.Virdi@vancouver.ca, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
SUBJECT LINE: [Insert something personalized]
BODY: [Please personalize this]
Dear Mayor Ken Sim, Park Board Commissioners, Park Board General Manager's Office, and City Councillors,
I'm disappointed by your decision to permanently restrict access to Sun Yat Sen Public Park.
The eastern entrance, previously open to the public, now displays a new service gate sign. Please remove this sign and reopen this entrance during regular hours.
Additionally, a recent CTV investigation revealed that the garden's closing hours have been as late as 7pm. Please extend opening hours to accommodate those who can only visit after work hours.
Lastly, the current Carrall St entrance is completely unusable for people with mobility issues, including many seniors in the neighbourhood who rely on mobility aids, due to the presence of a bottom bar on the gate's only entrance.
I'm disheartened by the Park Board's response. I urge you to reconsider and ensure that Dr. Sun Yat Sen Public Park is accessible to all.