Friday, September 21, 2007

Killarney Grass

CKNW reported at 4:15pm that parents from the Killarney Youth Soccer Association hired a contractor to cut the grass at the Kerr and East 49th field.

Joan Lichtman (41), Member at Large of the Killarney Youth Soccer Association Board, claims that CUPE pickets threatened the contractor. News1130 expands on the alleged threats.

CKNW reported the contractor denied he was threatened. He said he was simply informed that he was crossing a picket line and asked to stop working on the field.

The contractor stated he was unaware that the field was behind CUPE's picket line otherwise he wouldn't have done it.

Parents are now planning to mow the field tonight.


Soccer parents fail to bring out the mowers

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - The soccer practice for the Killarney Tigers went ahead, but no one brought their lawn mowers.

Soccer Mom Joan was trying to rally up concerned parents to take action on the soccer field and says many people didn't want to interfere with CUPE.

" There's a lot of people on the board of directors who didn't want to do this, despite the fact it's our field! It's frustrating, it's so frustrating, because all we want is for our kids to play soccer."

Joan says the group shelled out hundreds of dollars to pay a landscaper to mow the lawn at Killarney Oval but he couldn't finish the job because picketers threatened to come back with more people if he didn't go voluntarily.

She says last minute planning is partly to blame for lack of action on her part.


Frustrated moms want Vancouver field mowed
Striking workers won't allow cleanup, unless done by managers mowers

Jonathan Woodward, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, September 22, 2007

VANCOUVER - Angry soccer moms say they'll defy Vancouver's striking civic unions and mow a neglected eastside soccer field this morning.

Striking groundskeepers are "holding our kids hostage" by letting the fields degenerate and stopping the soccer season from getting off the ground, said Joan Lichtmann, 41.

When the soccer moms hired a contractor to mow the city-maintained field at Killarney Park Friday morning, he was approached by picketing workers and told to leave, she said. "We've got our field still not cut, and the worst part is that you can't fill the holes," she said. "This is what is going to break our kids' ankles when they try to play."

The parents plan to return with their own mowers today at about 8:30 a.m., she said.

But CUPE 1004 president Mike Jackson, who represents outside workers, including grounds-keepers, said his workers won't back down.

"I understand what they're trying to accomplish, but if they cut the field, it prolongs the strike by letting the city know people are taking the services upon themselves," he said. The parents should complain to city managers and get them to mow it, he said.

But the Killarney oval field has other problems,
according to senior boys rugby player Jonathon Wong.

The 16-year-old was livid when he and his coach, John Falcos, headed to the field for their first practice and found piles of rocks and 15-centimetre nails strewn over the field, which he believes were designed to stop any mowing or playing.

They spent half an hour cleaning the field on Wednesday, but when they started to play they found still more nails.

"It was too dangerous, so we called it quits," he said. His team, the Killarney Cougars, is now playing on a different Vancouver field.

Falcos also teaches girls' soccer, and said he has spent $288 renting soccer field space in Richmond because the girls can't play in Vancouver. "The fields are in bad enough shape as it is, but this strike has made it a lot worse," said Falcos.

Jackson said his workers had nothing to do with the nails.

"That's catastrophic," he said. "Not only does that affect kids and adults playing, but when this strike is over, our members are going to have to clean those fields, and [the nails will] put our members at risk as well."

Soccer enrollment has dropped by 200 players to about 400 girls this year, said Lichtmann. That translates into about $8,500 in lost revenue for the Killarney Youth Soccer Association.

Parents make disturbing discovery at the soccer field

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - Last night we told you about the parents at Killarney Oval threatening to cut the grass so their kids could play soccer. This morning the story made an interesting turn when they arrived at the field.

John Falcos is one of the parents and tells Global BC, they found debris in the grass. This included rusty nails, burnt wood, scrap metal and huge pieces of glass in two places on the pitch.

Falcos says he doesn't know if striking CUPE workers are behind it. Other parents at the field said yesterday the union was threatening to leave spikes in the grass. CUPE is not able to comment because they are currently in mediated talks with the City covered by a media ban.


Jonathan Woodward, Vancouver Sun

Published: Sunday, September 23, 2007

Several ominous paper signs have been posted outside picketed Vancouver city parks, warning parents and children not to play on the grass because it may contain "broken glass, rusty nails, rocks or concrete."

Soccer moms are worried that the signs - which preceded dumping of all of those items at Killarney Park last week - mean that other parks, including Douglas Park and Heather Park, could be strewn with debris.

"If there's a warning out there, there's an implied threat," said Joan Lichtmann, 41.

"Who would do this? It's dangerous for the kids and anyone who uses the field," she said.
Another mom, Deborah Reiner, told The Sun she found the sign at Heather Park "threatening" when she first saw it.

The signs say: "Use at own risk. Playing field may contain: broken glass, rusty nails, rocks or concrete." They are printed in black ink on paper affixed to wooden signs with tape. Some have been ripped down, said Reiner, but at least one is still in place at Douglas Park and Killarney Park.

Both women said that it's hard not to be suspicious of members of the union locals who are striking at the community centres nearby.

CUPE 1004 President Mike Jackson, who represents outside workers, said his workers were not involved.

Some 5,000 members of CUPE 15, which represents the city's inside workers, and CUPE 1004, which represents workers including groundskeepers, have been on strike since late July.

While both sides are in mediation with private mediator Brian Foley, neither is speaking to the media.

When garbage was dumped outside Mayor Sam Sullivan's Yaletown condominium in August, the Anti-Poverty Committee quickly claimed responsibility. Spokespeople for the APC couldn't be reached Sunday.

Park board chairman Ian Robertson said he didn't know of any signs, but said the board couldn't take action against the vandals without evidence.

"Whoever's doing it, you have to see them doing it," he said. "We ask for the vigilance and the eyes and ears of the neighbours."

Sixteen-year-old rugby player Jonathon Wong first discovered the nails on the field in Killarney park on Wednesday, and spent half an hour cleaning it up with his coach, John Falcos.

Then on Friday, when Lichtmann decided to hire a private contractor to mow the field, the contractor was stopped by union workers who said they were crossing the picket line.

Lichtmann announced that she would return on Saturday to mow the field herself, but by the time she and other parents arrived, someone else had dumped two distinct 10-metre trails of ash, broken industrial-sized glass, rusty nails and concrete on the field.

"The mowing was over," said Falcos, who was there at the time. "If you put a mower on that, you'll destroy your mower. If [a nail] shoots out it will kill someone."

B.C.'s labour law says that an employer must not organize people to do the work of union workers during a strike, whether they are paid or not.

Lichtmann said that city managers had agreed to clean up Killarney Park by Tuesday.

Striking workers picketing the Killarney Community Centre would not give their names to The Sun, but denied that they had any involvement.

Dangerous debris found as parents try to mow city soccer field

Private landscaper's earlier attempt had been foiled by striking workers, KYSA says

Lora Grindlay, The Province

Published: Monday, September 24, 2007

Broken glass, old nails and chunks of metal were discovered on a Killarney soccer pitch after a failed attempt by parents to have the grass groomed for games.

The debris, which amounted to about a garbage-can-full and included burned-out speaker casings, will remain strewn across Killarney Oval until mid-week when parks board managers are expected to mow the lawn. The city's outside workers who usually mow the fields have been on strike for more than two months.


Anonymous said...

I bet if Killarney fields were west of Cambie they would be mowed!!! I see the "management" all over the west side parks emptying the containers on a regular basis and yet many of the park containers on the east side are overflowing. I guess you look after those who get you elected!

Anonymous said...

On the CTV late news on Saturday night it was confirmed the kids on the west side are on their grass fields while the kids on the east side are on the gravel. Just confirms the west side is looked after and the news media is just reporting the facts!

WHat about the hockey and figure skating kids???? Whats being done for them??

Picket Boy said...

It will take anywhere from 2 - 4 weeks to get ice rinks operational.

Anonymous said...

Picket Boy

Sunset rink has a sand floor and the sand has heaved with the thaw of the ice. I believe 6 to 8 weeks to get it up and runnig. So why did they take the ice out??

Picket Boy said...

Park Board Management expected a long strike and did not believe they could maintain any of the rinks.

They treated Sunset like any other rink.

The challenge for minor hockey will be the loss of Killarny and Trout Lake plus the time to get the rinks working.

My average on time was based if nothing has gone wrong while the rinks melted.

Anonymous said...

IN past labour disputes the Park Board and CUPE 15 agreed to essential service with regards to the rinks. An agreement was in place to allow CUPE 15 members to go n to the rinks each day to check on the operation of the equipment only as agreed with the boiler inspector. Why not this time? Why is the essential service designation in place at Brittania? Why is the ice still in at Britt?

Picket Boy said...

Honestly I don't know why ice is still at Britannia.

Organizationally, is a hybrid. It's not really Park Board - it's funding comes through Social Planning at City Hall.

Essential services are jointly agreed upon by union, management and the Labour Relations Board.

Designation is usually based on the question "Will closing this facility put someone's life at risk?"

This is why outdoor lifeguards continued to work during the strike and provisions were made at Carnegie and Ray Cam community centres.

If in past disputes ice was left in the rinks it means that union and management agreed to this. Given the state of relations between the two groups any understanding would be difficult to reach.

spartikus said...

I find myself 95% in agreement with today's editorial in the Vancouver Sun: the police should investigate and if caught the perpetrators should be prosecuted with the full force of the law.

Where I diverge:

If CUPE is as concerned about public safety as it suggests in its statement, its members might want to demonstrate their concern with a gesture of goodwill and good citizenship: Put down the picket signs for an afternoon and help clean up those fields so our kids can play without fear.

I agree, it would be a good gesture. But why stop there? If the editorial staff of the Vancouver Sun truly care about public safety as this editorial suggests, they would step away from their keyboards for a day and help clean up those fields so our kids can play without fear.

Think of the children.