Wikipedia was launched in 2001 and is now one of the most popular general reference source on the internet. It has “openly editable and viewable content” which can be a good thing when events or references are rapidly changing.
But it can have another use too, and that is of revising history to suit other purposes. While researching an article I was writing on Vancouver’s greenways (which I was proudly a team member of for many years) I found this surprising entry on Wikipedia:
“The Vancouver Greenway Network is a collection of greenways across Vancouver, B.C that was planned and initiated by the City of Vancouver’s Vision-Party-led City Council in 2011 to reduce car use despite continuous citizen opposition. Greenways are streets where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritized over motorized vehicles, through structures such as road closures and road diverters to prevent or limit motor vehicle traffic, widened sidewalk-promenades, narrowed road space, speed restrictions, bike lanes, raised sidewalks and speed bumps. Vision Party City Councillors hope to create and maintain the trend of constructing new greenways to establish a network where, potentially, every citizen could access a city greenway within a 25-minute walking or a 10-minute cycling distance of their home rather than by car. The Vision Party hopes to achieve this goal through restricting motorist accessibility, use and parking.
Of the three sentences in the Wikipedia quote above only the middle one, taken from an interview with the American Society of Landscape Architects is correct. And I know this because the second sentence is a quote from me.
In fact it was the NPA dominated council with Mayor Gordon Campbell that set up the volunteer Urban Landscape Taskforce (chaired by Moura Quayle) that brought forward the report to create greenways in 1994.
There is absolutely no truth to the statement that this City of Vancouver Council policy that was developed in the 1990’s had any involvement from anyone in the municipal Vision Party or those councillors or mayor. I have written about the remarkable history of how greenways started on Price Tags and you can review that article here.
But this type of political rewriting is how history and information becomes compromised when factual policy information is revised for an untrue political history. If you have in the past participated in any significant policy work for the City of Vancouver, you may want to check on Wikipedia to ensure that the true information is there and has not been shuffled aside for political rewriting purposes.