How our project began
Everett Crowley Park holds the colourful story of an urban landscape that has endured and recovered from one of the most devasting of land uses, a city "dump".
The Park was created in 1987 after hard lobbying and planning by local residents, who worked with the Park Board to plan the trail network and other features.
The City ceased using the site as a landfill in 1965. The site was put under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
The Park was named after long time resident and owner of Avalon Dairy, Everett Crowley. He served as a Town Planner and was instrumental in the creation of Killarney Park. His son Lee Crowley is an active member of the committee. The Crowley family donated $20,000 for the enhancement of Avalon Pond.
Our goals and objectives
The Everett Crowley Park Committee (ECPC) is made up of a very dedicated and informed group of volunteers. Through a community development process supported by the Evergreen Foundation in 1994-1996, the ECPC formalized its mission statement as being:
"To encourage stewardship of Everett Crowley park as an urban wilderness".
ECPC sub-objectives were developed through a public consultation process in 1996. These are:
- Park Maintenance: Manage the park so as to serve its human users while restoring natural habitat.
- Recreation: Support low-impact recreational activities which are appropriate for a natural park setting.
- Nature Education/Appreciation: Assist people to understand the natural processes behind the park's regeneration, and to appreciate and support the possibilities for improved ecological integrity.
- Habitat Rehabilitation: Improve the habitat of the park so that it supports a healthier mix of plants and animals.
- Larger Ecological Context: Act with reference to local, regional, national, and international environmental challenges and projects.
Referring back to these principals the committee carries out its activities following these sub-themes as its guide.
How we addressed issues of safety and vandalism
Safety has not been a concern for the Park. The best way to promote and maintain a safe park environment is to encourage regular use of the park by the community. The only hazard that has created a potential unsafe situation is fire. There has only been one large fire that raged through an area of blackberry thicket. The fire department had a difficult time because there are no fire hydrants in the park. There are always illegal summer evening bomb fires that often smolder until morning. These have created some concern but have not spread beyond their pits.
Vandalism is the Park's greatest enemy. Vandals have destroyed or attempted to destroy the park's information kiosk. This kiosk was built by committee members with donated wood from Macmillan Bloedel. Vandals have twice destroyed the roof.
Neighbourhood school children designed signs for the pond to encourage respect for Avalon Pond. Vandals threw the signs, concrete footings and all into Avalon Pond more than once.
Plantings of native trees and shrubs have been uprooted and cast into the pond. There is always the ongoing problem of garbage being dumped in the parking lot. This usually consists of construction scraps and gardening waste.
The Park Board is at a loss to stop this senseless crime. It occurs at all City Parks. As was stated the best deterent is the promotion of use of the Park.
Barriers we encountered and how we overcame them
The ECPC has been very successful in facing challenges and overcoming them. The biggest challenge to date is the elimination of vandalism in the Park. Presently the Committee is persuing the creation of identified off-leash dog trails hoping to get consensus from park users by requesting their input.
There has been recent media coverage about expansion of the Fraserview Golfcourse into the Park to accomodate the PGA Air Canada Open. Local newspapers have covered the story extensively . The ECPC has responded with a factual letter to all media explaining their opinion. There has been no formal proposal brought to the Park Board and senior staff have committed themselves to keeping the ECPC informed should future discussions take place.
In December of 1999 the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation unanimously passed the following motion: "That this Park Board re-commit itself to the maintenance and preservation of the naturalness of Everettt Crowley Park and any steps to enhance its naturalness."
There are major environmental concerns for both the park and the golf course. The ECPC hopes the golf course proposal stimulates a broader discussion about the long-term rehabilitation of this park, and that the work to build on and promote local community stewardship over the past two decades is not ignored or misrepresented.
Our strategies for sustaining the project over the long-term
The ECPC is a sub-committee of the Champlain Heights Community Association which jointly operates the Champlain Heights Recreation Centre with the Vancouver Parks Board. As such the committee is fortunate to have staff support, office access and an annual operating budget. Over the years the committee has applied for and received numerous grants and has hosted a BC Eteam intern for the last eight years.
The committee meets monthly to develop activities and improvement projects supporting its sub-objectives, liaises with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation on both park policy and management issues, and gets its hands dirty working in the park whenever possible.
Our strategies for preventing and/or dealing with volunteer burnout
The following poem has been inspirational through the challenges and celebrations:
Few of us can hope to leave a
poem or a work of art to posterity
but working together or apart we can
yet save meadows, marshes, strips of
seashore and streams, valleys as a
green legacy for the centuries.
Stuart C. Udall