How will this project serve Indigenous people?

    This project will include an Indigenous garden and/or food forest planted, tended to, and harvested in partnership with Indigenous community members. The space will be used to grow traditional medicines and foods, and the proponents will host regular programming focused on intercultural and intergenerational food and knowledge sharing. These will provide opportunities for Indigenous people to practice land care, harvesting and ceremony while also creating space for non-Indigenous people to learn, participate and share.

    This project is aligned with Park Board strategic directions surrounding local food and decolonization.

    What social benefits could this project provide?

    Similar gardens in the city serve as community "hubs", providing opportunities to connect with others and foster a sense of community belonging. Additionally, the Food Forest is expected to provide:

    • Environment and garden-related workshops programming on topics like: vertical food growing in small spaces, soil health, composting, beekeeping, Indigenous land stewardship, permaculture principles, companion planting, seed saving, climate action, and more.
    • Arts-oriented programming and workshops on topics like: natural weaving and dying, medicinal plant walks, story sharing, crop swapping etc.
    • Natural play areas for children to grow plants and learn about the environment.
    • Decolonization efforts including: programming on Indigenous land based knowledge transmission and traditional land stewardship, planting a food and medicine forest with a focus on plants important to the local First Nations and urban Indigenous people.
    • Tailored collaborations with the field house residents and daycare and other community members to offer activities, education and workshops for diverse ages and demographics.

    What environmental benefits could this project provide?

    The proposed garden is inspired by permaculture practices. "Permaculture" means "permanent-agriculture", meaning there will be many perennial (permanent, returning each year) plants and trees in the garden. This is different from conventional agriculture where annual plants may be pulled and soil tilled seasonally. A permaculture-inspired approach provides several environmental benefits:

    • No-till gardening is less disruptive of soil structure and microbiomes.
    • Trees and shrubs can stabilize slopes and prevent erosion.
    • Tree canopy provides local cooling.
    • Can provide habitat for urban biodiversity, e.g. birds, insects and small mammals.
    • Permanent plants can store carbon, supporting climate change mitigation.

    What is a food forest?

    A food forest is a form of food growing and land stewardship used by many Indigenous Peoples including Coast Salish Nations since time immemorial. It is also a term used in permaculture to describe a companion planting food production system based on forest ecosystems. It is a diverse polyculture of fruit trees, perennial and annual food plants including berries, mushrooms, herbs and root vegetables. A food forest grows a succession of layers that are found naturally in forests. 

    For another example of an urban food forest, check out Norquay Community Food Forest.

    How will this project address food insecurity?

    The project will address food insecurity by providing access to opportunities to grow nutritious, local and traditional foods for community members near an Equity Initiative Zone. Through programming, this project can equip people with new skills to grow, harvest, prepare and access nutritional foods. 

    The goal of this project is not to produce a volume/yield of food that can support an entire community. Rather, this is a capacity-building and community-building project intended to provide a variety of social and environmental benefits, including intercultural knowledge sharing about food production, preparation, and traditions.

    Is there a water connection at both sites?

    The South-East site has an existing water connection that would require no additional work to be useable for the garden.
    The North-East site has a nearby water connection that is currently inactive. Work would need to be done in order to make this water connection useable for the garden, including digging and laying pipe to connect the line to the garden site. There are also fees associated with activating the connection since it is not currently in use.

    Who proposed this project?

    The proponents are a group of community-based non-profits from the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood (including Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, Lettuce Harvest, and Refarmers) who have collaboratively developed the Expression of Interest, garden design, associated maintenance plan, and programming. They are called the Vancouver Urban Food Forest Foundation.

    Why has Burrard View Park been chosen for this prioject?

    We explored several potential parks in the Hastings-Sunrise area, including Callister and Hastings Park. We considered park sizes / available open space, future plans for park redevelopments, proximity and connection cost of water source for garden irrigation, proximity to public washrooms, and the ability to serve equity-seeking populations. Given multiple considerations by staff and VUFFF, Burrard View Park in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood was chosen.

    Who will be able to access the garden?

    VUFFF has proposed a garden whereby food and medicines are grown and enjoyed collectively. This means residents will not have to apply, wait for, or pay for an individual plot. Instead, the whole garden is treated as a single plot and cared for by all members, to the shared benefit of all members. Membership will be free, and open to any community member who wants to get involved. For examples of a similar model, see the Riley Park Community Garden.

    Will this garden take away space from the dog off-leash area in the park?

    No. The designated off-leash area is not under consideration as a potential site for this project.

    Will this garden remove informal play and social areas from the park?

    No matter which of the two sites is selected, there will be less space for certain activities that require wide open space, e.g. group sports. In its place, different types of play and socialization will become available. VUFFF has proposed to include nature-based play and learning in their programming and design choices for the space. 

    How have residents been notified of this project?

    During Round 1, we engaged residents in the following ways:

    • As is required by the Urban Agriculture Policy, notices were mailed to residents within 2 blocks of the park. A total of 1,034 letters were sent. 
    • Signs were posted within the park.
    • An informational web-page with invitation for public comments on
    • Provided an opportunity to speak at the Board of Commissioners meeting for this project.

    This (Fall 2021) round of public engagement includes:

    • This informational Shape Your City page.
    • An online and paper survey.
    • A pop-up engagement event at Burrard View Park (Saturday, Nov 20th, 10:30am-1:30pm).
    • People who spoke at the Board of Commissioners meeting were notified by e-mail about this second round of engagement. 

    Note that this Shape Your City page has replaced the previous webpage for this project.

    When will a final decision be made about this project?

    We aim to present the findings of this engagement to the Board of Commissioners in early 2022. See the "Project Timeline" on the main page for more details. You can continue to check this Shape Your City page for updates on the status of this project.

    What else is going on in Burrard View Park in the future?

    The playground in the South-West portion of the park will be renewed some time in the near future. Details about that project will be made available at a later date. The playground renewal is not associated with the proposed community garden.

    Why does the survey feel like it directs the reader to a particular option?

    We understand there have been concerns expressed by some residents about the survey design, and we want to acknowledge those concerns.

    The survey does focus on opportunities and site qualities relevant to the success of the garden, however it’s important to note that there are fields that allow survey participants to offer open commentary on their specific perspectives, which will be captured in the reporting.

    The survey was designed to help the Park Board and survey participants understand which of the two site options was most suitable based on community values. This is why the survey makes reference to the implications of each trade-off in terms of how the two spaces could be used, by whom, and what amenities are nearby.

    There are real differences between the sites, each with different implications for the garden. Staff have tried to represent these differences, like the proximity to washrooms and importance of the multi-use area, honestly in the survey and ask respondents how important each consideration is to them.

    For example, a drawback to the NW site is that there are expenses associated with connecting it to a water line. However, several community members shared that they felt the added expense of connecting water to the NW site would be an acceptable trade-off considering the benefits of preserving the SE site. The survey was designed to elicit this sort of feedback.

    We will proceed with the survey period to honour the time and efforts of those who have taken it so far.

    This response was updated on Dec. 2 to add additional clarifying details. No information has been removed.

    Why can’t you use the tiered garden beds in front of the hospice?

    These garden beds are part of the leased area of the hospice. The beds have been cared for by Park Board in the past and, at present, the Park Board and hospice are discussing the hospice taking over care of that space. The VUFFF could assist with care of that space, but the beds alone would not meet the needs or intention of the proposed community garden, meaning one of the two other proposed spaces is required.

    Can the washrooms in the community room under the hospice be made available for the garden if it is located in the NW area?

    The community room is operated by the Hastings Community Centre Association and is made available through a rental program. The washrooms are available when the room is rented, which might be possible for some garden events or programs. Having the washrooms open for the whole day like those in the field house would require ongoing expenses associated with daily cleaning and monitoring of the space by Park Board staff from the Hastings Community Centre. As the garden is intended to be a long-term installation in the park, and there are already washrooms open every day at the field house, it is not practical to have the washrooms in the community room open except during special events and programs when the room could be reserved for the garden’s use.

    How will pests be managed at the garden?

    The exact approach to pest management depends on the site selected and evaluating problems that arise. Some approaches that will be part of regular maintenance from the time the food forest is established are:

    • Making sure all fallen fruit is harvested to avoid leaving attractants on the ground
    • Constructing a secure, rodent-resistant compost bin
    • Planting herbs like mint, lavender and thyme that deter rodents
    • Promoting increased biodiversity with trees, pollinator plants and native shrubs that can attract predators like owls who help keep the population under control

    What measures are in place to make sure the garden is kept in good order?

    All societies managing community gardens in parks are required to enter into a license agreement with the Park Board. The license agreement dictates that the Society must, among other requirements related to repair and maintenance, “keep the License Area and those portions of the Lands used by the Society in a sanitary, tidy and safe condition”. If the Society fails to comply with this or any other clause in the agreement, they are required to vacate the area and, at the request of the Park Board, return the land to its prior state.

    Why is the northwest site smaller than the southeast site?

    The northwest site is smaller due to its proximity to the dog off-leash area. If a garden is created within 50 metres of an off-leash area, it requires one area or the other to be fenced. We have sized and positioned the NW garden site to avoid the need for a fence.

    Why are there two options rather than just one?

    Staff were directed by the Board to identify a suitable location for the garden. The two proposed locations meet the technical requirements of the garden (e.g., space, sunlight), although they differ in access to infrastructure (e.g., water) and amenities (e.g., washrooms and playground). Staff are seeking feedback from the public to inform a report to the Park Board commissioners who will decide which site is most suitable.

    We acknowledge the engagement process in March of 2020 was flawed and, as such, we chose to offer the SE option in addition to the NW option for public feedback through the current, more robust engagement process. We also now are able to offer some idea of where a new playground could be installed, offering additional perspective on what the south section of the park could look like with a garden, passive space and playground.

    How does the recently passed Local Food System Action Plan (LFSAP) affect the engagement process and implementation of the garden?

    The LFSAP will not change the engagement process that’s in progress. The garden proposal aligns very well with the core principles of the action plan and implementation of the garden will be guided by the newly passed action plan. For example, established in VanPlay and reiterated in the LFSAP, all new community gardens on Park Board managed land will have at least 50% of total area dedicated to collective food growing; VUFFF’s garden is proposed to be 100% collective.

    The VUFFF proposal aligns with the goals of the LFSAP by:

    • Centering Indigenous practice, teaching and perspective in food-growing and community-building and addressing systemic issues of Indigenous food sovereignty.
      • The proposed garden and food forest includes native food-producing plants and programs centred around cross-cultural and Indigenous learning opportunities.
    • Providing access to food-growing opportunities to equity-denied groups
      • "Map 8: Priority Areas" on page 56 of the LFSAP shows that within 2 blocks of Burrard View park is an area identified as high priority for increasing food and culture gardens, in particular cultural learning gardens, where it is likely that more people would have access and benefit to public growing opportunities than in a plot-based garden.
      • Equity-denied groups are those facing barriers to equal access due to attitudinal, historic, social and environmental barriers based on characteristics not limited to sex, age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender, gender expression, nationality, race, sexual orientation.
    • Increasing biodiversity

    Why does installing a water connection in the garden in the NW site cost more than at the SE site?

    The northwest site is in proximity to a water line outside of the park. Work would need to be done in order to make this water line useable for the garden, including bringing a connection into the park, and digging and laying pipe to connect to a hose bib in the garden. There are fees associated with activating the connection since it is not currently connected to the park.

    The southeast site has an existing water connection within the park that would require digging and laying pipe to connect to a hose bib in the garden, but no extra connection outside the park is required.

    Staff are exploring all possible water connections for both sites to be sure that the most feasible option would supply water to a new garden.

    Edited Dec. 2, 2021 to add:

    We have explored the possibility of using the water source on-site at the hospice and it is not a practical means of supplying water to the garden. Because the water at the hospice is within their leased area, the use of their water line would create issues with their leasing agreement, administrative burdens in multiple departments and insurance risk. To supply water to the North-West site, the most viable option would be to create a new water connection to the water main on Penticton Street, as described above.

    If the garden were to be approved for the SE site, would it take up any of the flat, multi-use area?

    The proposed South-East site is largely situated to the north of the fieldhouse, on a slightly sloped area between the fieldhouse and the footpath. The proposed boundary does include a small wrap-around section on a portion of the west wall of the field-house, but otherwise, the majority of the flat area between the fieldhouse and the playground would be preserved.

    The maps on the Shape Your City webpage are the most accurate and up-to-date depictions of the proposed boundary for each site. Information retrieved from other sources may be out-of-date or inaccurate.