The “opening” for the recent $800,000 facelift for Norquay Park took place this afternoon. A due assembly of officials lined up to say the usual words and to stand together to cut a ribbon. Neither an Eye on Norquay press release nor the media relations infrastructure of bureaucracy attracted any significant media coverage.
Norquay residents held up these two signs throughout the ceremonies:
TELL the TRUTH GONE! MISSING?
This is NOT NORQUAY
a “BENEFIT” of our AMENITIES
MASS REZONE Financing Plan
This reporter took up a position about 25 feet to the left of the microphone. Three officials soon got busy taking turns to find out what was going on. To all of them this reporter explained that the signs expressed no dissatisfaction about Norquay Park and no dissatisfaction with Vancouver Park Board — only dissatisfaction with City of Vancouver claims that the park renewal was a “benefit” deriving from the Norquay Plan.
First along was a Coordinator to ask if we would put away our signs and not impact the event. Our answer to him was no. Next along was a Director, who confirmed our refusal to disappear, and then came back for further exchange. I satisfied her question about not spoiling the photo op by saying I had no intention to seek a position in that background. When asked if I planned to disrupt the event, I said I would disrupt only if I heard a speaker try to propagate a claim that the Norquay Plan had in any way led to the park renewal. In such case I intended to counter the misinformation immediately and vociferously. Last in line was a Park Ranger, a person with life connection to the Norquay neighborhood. He seemed quite at ease once I explained the issue.
Later on five officials or so took their turns at the microphone. Not a single one mentioned the Norquay Plan. Commissioner Aaron Jasper did a fine job of telling about the funding sources for the renewal of Norquay Park.
Trying to message about untruth is tricky. But our effort attracted interest, conversations multiplied with new people, and universal sympathy flowed back from those who had the curiosity to ask to ask what the problem was.
At least six participants from Norquay Working Group turned out for the Norquay Park opening event — none of them from the minority faction that offered uncritical support to city planner pressures for more height and more density.