Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces

Top 3 priorities (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

  1. Funding facility renewal
  2. Accessible/Welcome parks
  3. Genuine consultation

Platform (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

“As a father of sport-enthusiastic sons, I’ve enjoyed our family’s experience of Vancouver’s parks and facilities, particularly for team sport. Facility upkeep, maintenance and asset renewal is vital as the city grows and densifies.

It’s also important that we engage our neighbourhoods in park and recreation planning, ensuring they have a voice that is acknowledged and heard. Fiscal oversight that manages the budget responsibly and is respectful of our taxpayers will bring this all together.

1. What is your favourite park or park board facility in Vancouver, and why?

Jericho Beach Park. Having lived in Vancouver all my life, I enjoy a park space with a connection to water. Jericho offers rolling grassy hills with open spaces, forest areas to walk on a rainy day and of course beaches to sit aside a log and contemplate the views. Our family has also enjoyed many years playing soccer and baseball on the sport fields. A park with something for everyone.

2. We’ll be sharing the top three priorities that you provided the City of Vancouver, but we want to know: which one of your three priorities are you most passionate about, and why?

An advocate for maintenance, renewal and strategic planning for our sport facilities, particularly for youth. As a father of two boys, I believe in the power of team and individual sport, and the life skills a young player can develop. As the city densifies, we need facilities available to allow our youth to experience sport in a variety of ways. With all the budgetary challenges at Park Board, I want to ensure this vital community amenity is a part of the conversation.

3. Vancouver is a growing city! What are your ideas for ensuring that the city’s parks and recreation facilities can respond to the needs of an increasing and diversifying population?

There are several strategies to ensure we respond to growth and accompanying diversification. Advocacy for appropriate funding from the City is vital. Our budget contribution from the City has been virtually flatlined for the past ten years. This should be increasing to reflect the growth in the city and the needed accompanying amenities. Partnerships with other government agencies, non-profits and community groups can extend our reach and ensure we get best value for our taxpayer dollars. And of course, consultation with the various neighbourhoods to confirm we hear what the needs and wishes are of the community.

4. Given the high cost of land in the city, what suggestions do you have for how the Park Board should approach the creation of new park spaces?

Creative ideas are appearing in cities all over the world. Pocket parks, roof-top public parks (public or private buildings), temporary parks is spaces slated for future plans, partnerships with other land-owners. We can certainly learn from the experience and discussions happening all other the world as cities grapple with the issue.

5. What, if any, role do you see the Park Board playing in responding to critical social issues such as homelessness, the opioid epidemic, and social isolation?

The Park Board, and in particular front-line staff such as Park Rangers have essentially become first responders as the city struggles with critical issues like the opioid crisis and homelessness. To support staff and provide better support for the community, we need two things – better funding for Park Rangers to increase availability and provide appropriate coverage for over 230 parks in the system; Park Board staff needs access to the resources and support systems for referral. In many ways, the struggles have been left with the park system that is ill equipped for the crisis, and Commissioners need to get the message to higher levels of government that people need help that can only come through housing, mental health and addiction supports, not just shuttled from place to place.

6. In the past few years, the Park Board has taken steps to acknowledge First Nations cultures and the impacts of colonization on local Indigenous communities. Would you continue this work? If yes, how?

Yes, I have supported the initiatives put in place over the past four years and will continue to work to see them implemented. My hope is that our partners in the First Nations will guide this process in their own time and allow us to tell their story in the parks by creating permanent displays that feature this history.

7. How can Vancouver’s parks and recreation facilities best respond to the challenges posed by climate change?

The Park Board can play a significant role in educating the public and demonstrating immediate ways we can help tackle climate change challenges. With the rise in ocean levels, there are strategies to protect our shorelines from the Fraser to Burrard Inlet; we can introduce more native and low-water plantings into our naturalized spaces and gardens (and include low-after plants in our semi-annual tree sales); and we can continue the efforts (through programs like the tree sale) to increase the tree canopy.

8. What, if any, role do you think privately owned companies should play in the management, operation, or naming/branding of Park board facilities?

Over the years, there have been several spaces and facilities in the park system named for donors that helped acquire or build the space. That reflects the attitudes in the past for acknowledging these relationships. I would support naming for individuals (not corporations) that support the park system with significant contributions to build programs (supported by a transparent policy). The management and operations or our park system should be the responsibility of Park Board staff.

9. What, if any, role do you feel that neighbourhoods or community groups should play in the stewardship of park spaces and facilities?

Community groups and neighbours to park spaces and facilities should play a significant role in on-going stewardship. This has always been the basis of the Community Centre Association (CCA) and I will continue to support this model. The local community provides great insight into the unique interests of the neighbourhood, and the needs and wants to help create vibrant communities. I’m certain there are further opportunities to expand on these stewardship ideas to involve the local parks and garden spaces more effectively.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your platform?

I hope to continue my work as an advocate for youth sport facilities in the city in discussions around the Board table, particularly during budget planning. Progress can move slow in government and there are many exciting opportunities where I hope to work with local neighbourhoods to help bring to completion. With such a large ballot this year, thank you for taking the time to learn more about the candidates.

More information:

City of Vancouver Park Board Candidates webpage