Keep Assiniboine Park Public Rally
About 150 CUPE members, their families and other supporters gathered in Assiniboine Park at noon on Saturday, October 14 to rally support for the “Keep Our Park Public” campaign to stop the City from creating a new agency to run Assiniboine Park.
In July, City Council approved plans to set up the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, an independent agency to take over full management of the Park and its activities. The Free Press says “it will have representatives from the city, province and all three non-profit agencies that currently operate within the park: Friends of the Conservatory, the Manitoba Zoological Society and Partners In The Park, which looks after the park's Pavilion and Lyric Theatre.”
The members of CUPE Local 500 think City Councillors should keep the park public. They believe that public ownership and control will keep the Park a viable public service and asset.
“We believe that City operations and control of the Park is the best way to go to assure there is the investment for keeping the Park vibrant. If it falls into private hands, there is a likelihood that fees will go up and the Park will have to generate funds or make cuts in services,” says Gary Swanson, President of CUPE Local 500.
Speakers at the Rally included CUPE Local 500 President Gary Swanson, Mayoral candidates Marianne Cerilli and Ron Pollock. Also on hand to give support were Bill Blakie, City Councillors Harvey Smith and Donald Benham, candidates for City Councillor Livio Ciaralli, Ted Bednarski and Fred Morris.
The rally was very successful in getting CUPE's views out to the public. The event received TV and radio coverage, as well as newspaper coverage.