News / Vancouver

Fund more rangers for needle pickup: Vancouver politicians

City councillor and Park Board commissioner propose 24/7 patrols in parks

Vancouver park ranger Andrew Don picks up a used needle in Andy Livingstone park on June 15, 2017.

Jennifer Gauthier / For Metro

Vancouver park ranger Andrew Don picks up a used needle in Andy Livingstone park on June 15, 2017.

Two local politicians say the park board needs more resources to deal with an increasing number of needles and garbage in Vancouver’s downtown parks.

A number of resident groups have complained in recent months about the presence of needles and drug paraphernalia in Andy Livingstone, Creekside, and Hinge parks.
Boosting the number of patrols would help keep the parks clean and safe, said Non-Partisan Association Coun. George Affleck.

“It's not just needles – it's garbage, it's everything. Generally the parks downtown are not to the level that Vancouverites should expect,” he told Metro.

“The thing I had no idea about, to be honest, was that the park rangers stop work at 8 p.m. – so there’s no 24-hour oversight of the parks by the park board.”

The board has allocated extra resources to Andy Livingstone Park after parents of children at nearby Crosstown Elementary and residents complained about the amount of needles in the area. Rangers are stationed at Andy Livingstone until 11 p.m., director of parks, Howard Normann told Metro earlier this summer. 

In June, rangers at that location were picking up about 100 needles a day, according to the park board.

The rangers, who are sometimes accompanied by police officers, are also responsible for waking up people who sleep in the parks overnight.

Affleck intends to table a motion Tuesday, asking city council to give more funding to the park board to hire more park rangers.

Park board commissioner, John Coupar, also with the NPA, is set to present a motion Monday night asking staff to calculate how much it would cost to set up 24/7 patrols for all parks.

Both motions also include references to the need for more housing options for those with mental health and addiction issues.

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