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

Top 3 priorities – City of Vancouver candidate form

  1. Foster Sustainability
  2. Improve Accessibility
  3. Promote HealthyRecreation

Platform –┬áCity of Vancouver candidate form

“As a Green Party Park Board Commissioner, I intend to champion true sustainability, improved accessibility and community partnerships in all our parks and facilities. I am committed to healthy recreation and active transportation. I will prioritize measures to increase biodiversity in our cities and continue the important work towards reconciliation.”

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

Granville Park because it is the closest to my home, the one that is right there when I need a bit of fresh air or some shade (in this case, shade is provided by a beautiful row of hornbeam). This park is far from fancy, not new, not overly designed, it is ‘just there’, quiet and restful.

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?

‘Foster Sustainability’, most definitely. Under this general title are a few ideas, one of them being our desire to change the current ‘no net loss’ to a ‘net positive’ approach. This would mean that no intervention could be allowed (think of paving a bike lane through a park, or having the City cut a corner of green space for a road) without having first secured the full replacement at a ratio of 1 to 1.5. This, we hope, would help us grow our park space as population grows and urbanization intensifies.

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?

I think our dedication to ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for all to our parks and recreation facilities must underpin all decisions that we take. Specifically, we would like to mandate that all new facilities be universally accessible and offer gender-neutral options (and that older facilities be gradually retrofitted as such). Furthermore, we would like to instigate a complete review of Parks by-laws (to bring them up to speed with our time) and limit to a minimum commercial interests on our grounds and in our facilities.

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?

I would personally focus on ‘pocket parks’, those smaller, versatile and more affordable green spaces that can be ‘inserted’ in dense neighbourhoods. This approach could help us re-equlibrate the city-wide distribution of parks (certain areas of the city, as you know, are already very dense but lack in park space).

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?

As our city densifies, parks become the backyard of more and more people – or the ‘home’ of many of the homeless. Therefore, our park rangers and workers are the eyes and ears that help ensure safety and peaceful sharing of our green spaces. While we are not advocating for park workers to be become social workers, we acknowledge that they play an important role in collaborating with other levels of government.

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, most definitely. As our platform stipulates: we will fulfill Park Board commitment to a complete audit of its colonial roots and progressing towards reconciliation with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people.

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

As a horticulturist by trade, and having worked in a variety of cities and under different climates, I am naturally tuned to these regional details that, once all tallied up, make such a big difference in the efficiency and resilience of our green spaces. I see plants and smart plantings (along with the infrastructure that favours them e.g. curb-less raingardens, deeper tree pits, etc) as some of the most promising mechanisms to adapt and help mitigate a changing climate.

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

I will fight for a limited role of commercial interest on Park Board grounds and facilities. It has always been and will remain a priority for the Green Party of Vancouver to limit such commercial interest, for the sake of inclusivity and impartiality.

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

I see the community play an important role in the stewardship of park spaces and facilities. The community is the main reason such facilities exist and must therefore be at the centre of it all.

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

Thank you for your interest!

 

More information:

City of Vancouver – Park Board candidate webpage