Overgrown grass in East Vancouver park meant to attract bees is attracting complaints too

·2 min read
Megan Watson is pictured in a park where a pollinator pilot project is taking place in East Vancouver.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
Megan Watson is pictured in a park where a pollinator pilot project is taking place in East Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

An East Vancouver resident says she's concerned about garbage and needles in overgrown grass in Falaise Park — part of a new pilot program implemented by the Vancouver Park Board to create meadows to attract more bees.

Megan Watson has been living near the park for 25 years and has never seen the grass this way.

"To me and my neighbours and my community, it's just an overgrown mess and now it's a hazard," said Watson.

She says the Vancouver Park Board's pilot program, which calls for less grass-cutting and natural landscapes, is to blame.

When the project was announced on April 27, the Vancouver Park Board said its goal is to attract more bees, butterflies and birds by creating meadows in parks, golf courses and boulevards across the city this year.

"A recent report provides evidence that intense lawn management practices are responsible for increasing pests and diminishing abundance and diversity of invertebrates and flora, which provide critical nesting habitat and food sources for birds," said commissioner Dave Demers.

Eighteen city parks are part of the project.

Falaise Park in East Vancouver is part of the park board pilot aimed at creating natural landscapes and attracting more bees and butterflies.
Falaise Park in East Vancouver is part of the park board pilot aimed at creating natural landscapes and attracting more bees and butterflies.(Ben Nelms/CBC)

Watson said the park has two parts: a baseball diamond; and another section where the grass has gone uncut that was used by children to play and residents to meditate or practise yoga.

"It's just sad to see it go downhill and to not treasure the green space that we had," she said.

She's concerned there's more hidden in the tall, dry grass than just butterflies and bees.

"There is everything in there now. It's a garbage dump, and some residents of this area, now they're even parking their cars in the park because they just think it's just a dump now."

She said she's complained to the park board, and some grass was cut. But more needs to be done, she said.

"I called in regards to needles being in the meadow," she said.

Vancouver Park Board commissioner John Irwin said specific areas across the city were selected for the pilot project.

"The rationale is that it cuts back considerably on greenhouse gas emissions," said Irwin.

A trail around the perimeter of the long grass has been cut to allow people to pass through the area.

Park Board staff is expected to eventually compile a report with data, outcomes and observations from the meadows pilot.