British Columbia

Dinosaurs may roam Vancouver's Stanley Park

One of Canada's most iconic parks could soon be home to more than trees, tourists and spectacular views.

Documents reveal park board plans to install gigantic animatronic attractions

One of Canada's most iconic parks could soon be home to more than trees, tourists and spectacular views. The Vancouver Park Board wants to add another attraction: giant robotic dinosaurs.

This animatronic T-Rex, on display at a Richmond, B.C., shopping mall, could one day inhabit Stanley Park. ((Courtesy of Dinosaurs Unearthed))

Documents obtained by the CBC reveal the board has put out a request for proposals for 25 to 30 life-size animatronic dinosaurs to be installed in Stanley Park near a miniature railroad right next to the petting zoo.

The board hopes the attraction,if it goes ahead,would generate revenue by drawing 400,000 more fee-paying visitors into the park each year. Fees for the exhibit are not yet known.

Even though a request for potential robotic dinosaur suppliers was recently posted on the web, the proposal has so far remained a secret even from some Park Board commissioners.

Park Commissioner Spencer Herbert only learned about the plan Wednesday when the CBC contacted him with the details. He said the plan has never been tabled at a Park Board meeting or made public at any time.

"It boggles my mind," said Herbert. "I took a look at the website and I said, 'What!' I've never been consulted, I've never heard about this before."

Herbert is a member of the COPE civic party, which holds a minority of two seats on the board. He feels politics may have been the reason for the secrecy surrounding the plan.

This animatronic dinosaur is one of several life-sized designs by Vancouver-based Dinosaurs Unearthed. ((Photo courtesy of Dinosaurs Unearthed))

The chair of the board, Ian Robertson, was away from Vancouver and unavailable for comment Wednesday. Robertson is a member of the NPA civic party, which holds a majority of four seats on the board.

Herbert said he is not prejudging the proposal, but he's concerned that if the boardis planning to install 30 giant growling reptiles in the city's most precious green space, the public might like to know about it.

Patricia Thomson, the director of the Stanley Park Ecology Society, which promotes the park's natural attractions, was also concerned about the proposal.

Vancouver Parks Commissioner Spencer Herbert says there has not been enough public consultation on plans to put up to 30 animatronic dinosaurs in Stanley Park. ((CBC))

"I would hate to see it turn into a theme park in Stanley Park," said Thomson.

While dinosaurs may pack in the tourists, the prehistoric beasts aren't a part of the park's history, she said.

"I would prefer that we would get a similar draw from educational components that included our own local and current amphibians and raccoons and such," said Thomson.