Last week we launched a Vancity-sponsored contest for three PNE "family packs of passes," worth $275 a piece (it's open until Aug. 11th, so enter now!) Vancity celebrates its member day at The Fair at the PNE on Aug. 29th, and is putting on the contest to highlight its multi-year strategic partnership with the PNE in support of its sustainability initiatives. (A related Tyee article by David P. Ball goes into detail about the 103-year-old institution's significant efforts here.)
As part of the contest entry, readers have the option to offer their ideas for greening the PNE. Vancity will be compiling all ideas to inform their partnership with the PNE, and The Tyee is publishing some of the best suggestions on the results page for the contest.
We've had over 120 ideas submitted in the first week, with some very clear, repeatedly highlighted themes.
The most oft-repeated ideas by far have to do with the food and beverage vendors. Tyee readers want to see lots of recycling bins, composting bins, and an eradication of Styrofoam and plastic food containers, switching instead to compostable and reusable options.
There were also many mentions of providing more water fountains and encouraging people to bring their own water bottles.
Other common suggestions included integrating solar power, more green space and shade, and experimenting with human-powered rides and exhibitor lighting.
According to Michael Woodman, the PNE's manager of sustainability development, many readers' suggestions are already being implemented. (Read this article for our original interview with Woodman detailing the PNE's greening successes so far.)
For example, all vendors have been requested to eliminate Styrofoam and phase in biodegradable food packaging. The PNE's 2013 sustainability requirements for vendors and concessionaires can be found here. Woodman encourages PNE-goers to tell a vendor who isn't complying about their desire for greener alternatives.
Maureen Cureton, Vancity's green business manager, cites composting as a significant plank of the PNE's waste reduction efforts. During the Fair at the PNE (Aug. 17 – Sept. 2), she's hoping people will visit the on-site Green Good composter in Vancity's Eco Alley, managed by Recycling Alternative, which they will be feeding stale mini doughnuts and other food scraps -- so bring your own! During the remainder of the year, the PNE has a composting program that goes off-site.
Cureton also encourages visitors to take advantage of the free bike valet service during The Fair, and to bring their own water bottles to fill up at water fountains around the fairgrounds. On Aug. 29th -- Vancity member day -- Metro Vancouver will be hosting a special watering station in Eco Alley.
Now for some highlights of Tyee readers' ideas for greening the PNE. (Want to add yours and enter for one of three $275 PNE family packs of passes? Enter before Aug. 11 here.)
Getting to the PNE
- Provide secure bicycle parking.
- Provide a bus service from the Fraser Valley (Chilliwack & Abbotsford), where transit options are not available.
- Offer discounted tickets or other incentives for people who can prove they cycled or took public transit to the park.
- Increase the number of recycling bins located around the park to make it easier for visitors to recycle. Wherever possible, allow people to use their own containers, and provide eco-friendly containers for food at the fair. No Styrofoam!
- Involve food vendors in a program to reduce food packaging waste and provide incentives for them to use recyclable or compostable packaging and utensils. Create a marketing program that promotes alternative, environmentally-friendly transportation to the PNE (ride share, bike, public transport, etc.)
- Create a policy that encourages on-site food vendors to use local ingredients and/or stipulate that a certain percentage of said vendors use local ingredients. Switch the lights on rides to LEDs (which would also be prettier).
- Use biodegradable dishes and cutlery. Sell/provide glass or high-quality plastic reusable drink glasses as souvenirs. Provide ample facilities for disposing food waste, paper, recyclables and trash. Hire people to oversee their use (students or people needing work experience). Hire people to ride bikes to power rides etc. -- get a free ticket for x minutes of generating power.
- I love the reusable cups for soft drinks, but hate having to carry them around...how about some kind of string or strap that you could use in a cross-body style?
- I would develop a hands-on composting for kids centre that's educational and fun, showing the process from waste to soil to seedling (with a planting demo at the end).
- Plant a demonstration garden of organic and heirloom fruits and vegetables, fertilized by a demonstration worm compost of all the food waste from the PNE. The harvest, compost and seeds can be sold and stored until guests leave the PNE at the end of the day. I would probably also implement solar power panels to provide energy for street lamps, mobile kiosks and other things requiring less intensive energy use. Provide lots of bicycle parking along Renfrew St. Finally, I would devote an entire hall to the promotion of innovative technologies that assist sustainability.
- Put in a people-powered ride: the more people power it, the faster it goes. Make recycling waste fun: (1) Have solar powered animated garbage/recycling bins that activate when something is deposited; (2) Roving Recycling Robots (actors in costumes, presumably) who inform people about recycling options at the fair (and outside the fair); (3) Recycle This! contests: a daily event which has fair-goers getting points for their recycling during their day at the fair.
Incentives for doing the 'right thing'
- Have reusable mugs etc.: people pay a deposit up front and then receive their deposit back when fair goers return the empty to a dedicated return booth. Ideally, they should not have to line up again at the booth they bought the beverage at.
- Reward fairgoers with free tickets to exhibitions when they take a "green fair" challenge. They can do this by: (1) Bringing their own containers and bags to the fair and taking transit (bus passes are evidence) and/or; (2) Visiting vendors who use recyclable containers or no containers at all, choosing rides that are energy efficient and attending exhibitions that promote or use sustainable technologies. People could collect their visits in a green passport and be eligible to win prizes or get free entry into a show upon showing their green passport.
- Offer automatic bottle deposit return machines that would dispense refunds automatically or in tokens for the amusement park.
- Build the world's first solar powered ferris wheel, a giant one like the Piccadilly Circus Ferris Wheel. What a spectacular draw to the PNE that would be! It would advertise green energy solutions, give the PNE a new centerpiece, and provide one more reason to visit Vancouver. If not solar, then some other novel way to power it. Vancouver's gentle giant wheel.
- I would create new carnival games that use human-driven mechanics to generate electricity that would then feed the blinking lights that adorn most sideshow booths. Something like a pedal bike that on the one hand captures then energy while at the same time propels characters along a race -- have contestants race against each other for an added element of competitive fun.
- Instead of people doing nothing while standing in line for rides, I would set up stationary bikes attached to generators so they could contribute to creating energy, while generating a great message and a little exercise at the same time
- Have the Super Dogs generate electricity in big hamster wheels. Capture methane gas from petting zoo droppings!
- An often overlooked aspect of making a space "green" is run-off surface water. Oil, dirt, plant materials and other contaminants and debris are simply swept off of concrete and asphalt by rainwater, running into culverts and drains and often contaminating creeks and inlets during periods of heavy precipitation. We can turn these hard, grey spaces into green by replacing concrete and asphalt with gravel, grass and natural catch-basins lined with living plants. This allows run-off to seep into the ground and collect in planned drainage, thus decontaminating the water naturally, prior to being released into the surrounding environment. Want to make a grey space green? Simple! You literally make it into a "green" space!
- The roof area on the agricultural/farm animal show barns is quite significant, as is the Pacific Coliseum, at 86,000 sq. feet of roof area alone -- install a rainwater catchment/storage system to reduce the amount of water used for flushing toilets as well as garden/grass irrigation. Installing such a system would not appreciably increase roof loading, as it could be attached to existing gutters/downspouts/roof scuppers.
- More trees for oxygen and shade, more recyclable packaging, composting, and free manure sale at the end of the fair.
- I would require that exhibitors not use any lighting during daylight hours to reduce use of electricity, and switch to high-efficiency lights -- fluorescent over incandescent. Ensure that water conservation measures were in place: high-efficiency toilets, low-flow aerators for all water outlets, high-efficiency dishwashers. Have water fountains strategically placed to encourage people to drink city water instead of bottled water.
Human, animal, and solar powered fun!
Getting serious about systems (grounds & core processes)
To read all reader comments, visit the contest results page here. You can also enter the contest from this page until Aug. 11th.
Read more: Environment
This article is part of a Tyee Presents initiative. Tyee Presents is the special sponsored content section within The Tyee where we highlight contests, events and other initiatives that are either put on by us or by our select partners. The Tyee does not and cannot vouch for or endorse products advertised on The Tyee. We choose our partners carefully and consciously, to fit with The Tyee’s reputation as B.C.’s Home for News, Culture and Solutions. Learn more about Tyee Presents here.