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

Top 3 priorities (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

  1. Invest in Parks & Rec
  2. Reduce User Costs
  3. Clean, Safe & Accessible

Platform (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

“As an Olympian and a long-time volunteer, I have represented Vancouver and Canadians alike. Now, I will work tirelessly to ensure your voice is heard in how our Parks & Recreation Facilities are utilized, programmed and managed. You stated you want our parks, beaches, trails & recreation facilities to be accessible, affordable, relevant, clean and safe. I will ensure Parks & Rec is deemed an important investment, not an expense. Invest now or pay dearly.”

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

With more than 230 public parks in Vancouver and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, rinks, fitness centres, golf courses, street trees, marinas, playing fields, and more, its hard to narrow down one or two top locations. As a tourist in my own town, I take my dog every day to a new park around the city and on the weekends to create diversity and fun for him. I identified a park in a number of my usual areas of Vancouver we frequent but also my choices for fitness centre and indoor/outdoor pools. These choices identify the ones I frequent the most. I live parks and recreation every day as I visit our parks, trails, beaches and facilities daily because I have a dog and this keeps him and me active at least twice a day and all day on the weekends.

Parks

  • Riley Park area – Queen Elizabeth Park at 4600 Cambie St Dog park
  • Hastings Sunrise area – New Brighton Park at 3201 New Brighton Rd Dog park, Playground, Outdoor pool
  • Shaughnessy area – Oak Meadows Park at 899 West 37th Ave Dog park, Jogging trail
  • Victoria-Fraserview area – Tecumseh Park at 1751 E 45th Ave Dog park, Playground
  • West End area parks – Stanley Park at 2000 West Georgia St Dog park, Jogging trails, Playground, Running track
  • West Point Grey area – Spanish Banks Beach Park at 4801 North West Marine Dr Dog park
  • Downtown area parks – Coopers’ Park at 1020 Marinaside Cres Dog park, Playground, Skateboard park
  • Kensington-Cedar Cottage area – John Hendry (Trout Lake) Park at 3300 Victoria Dr Dog park, Playground, Jogging trail
  • Kitsilano area – Hadden Park at 1905 Ogden Ave Dog park
  • Mount Pleasant area- China Creek North Park at 1001 East 7th Ave Jogging trail, Playground

Outdoor pool – New Brighton Pool at 3201 New Brighton Rd

Indoor Pool – Vancouver Aquatic Centre at 1050 Beach Ave

Fitness Centre – Mount Pleasant Fitness Centre 1 Kingsway Ave

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?

  • Our goal should be to improve quality of life for residents and visitors, creating a community where we can be proud to live, work, and play.
  • I want the city to invest more in our parks and recreation facilities whether that means new capital assets, facility revitalization, safety upgrades especially to old equipment and program support so that we stop the continual increase in costs to community users.
  • That said, a priority needs to be vetted through the community via the Community Centre Associations. Public engagement, dialogue with solutions oriented strategies is imperative for complete and more successful buy-in.
  • Parks & recreation is an investment, not an expense and we need to invest appropriately upfront now or pay dearly for the rest of our lives.
  • Recreation, arts, sport and physical activity should be a right for all children and youth under 18. Studies have shown that more active kids do better in school, make better decisions, stay in school longer and more likely to graduate.
  • I will investigate the logistics to develop a program where Vancouver registered vehicles would not have to pay for parking in our parks while vehicles not registered to a Vancouver residential address would cover the revenue normally generated through parking.
  • Continual increase of green space through existing, unique spaces and through new development applications is imperative.

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?

  • Our green spaces and facilities keep us healthy and ensure our wellbeing by providing important venues for learning new skills, being outside, connecting with friends and neighbours, vibrant community cultural events, and playing sport.
  • The Parks Board needs to grow and renew parks, community centres and recreation assets to keep pace with population growth and evolving needs.
  • The most effective means of determining the evolving community needs is through strategic, diverse, respectful community engagement.
  • Work with other key stakeholders to determine the opportunity, viability and affordability for new spaces such as Parks Board, Community Centre Associations, BOMA, VRCA, Developers Professional Association, City Planners, Trio of Coast Salish First Nations.

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?

  • Work with the City to develop (in concert with various stakeholders including Parks Board, Community Centre Associations, BOMA, VRCA, Developers Professional Association, City Planners, Trio of Coast Salish First Nations to name a few) a Green Space Development Accountability Framework for all new developments.
  • Explore unique, unused space that is deemed undevelopable including under bridges, escarpments, waterfronts.
  • Call out to land owners wanting to bequest their property to Parks & Recreation.
  • Explore the current concept that the Oakridge plan is embarking upon and develop some lessons learned but also develop a strategic plan or process to provide to developers to consider.
  • Encourage or require green roofs where and when applicable for new developments and consider ideas for discussions on retrofitting existing buildings. Share the opportunities and challenges with [Ends midsentence]

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?

  • Being mindful, educated and compassionate approach is the most socially acceptable. Sitting at the table with relevant community associations and social/health/housing organizations, policing, youth services, parks board, city, park commissioners to sit at the table and discuss collaborative and cooperative solutions.
  • The public needs to know that the parks Board is concerned both for the issues befalling society and the need to address these, but also the public taxpayers who are displaced from these spaces.
  • Compassion fatigue is an issue with the public and all parties need to come to the table to find real solutions with timelines that are in respect of all parties
  • Communication, education, understanding, mindfulness and compassion solutions based dialogue is imperative.

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?

  • The City of Vancouver was founded on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, and those Nations have endured decades of unjust treatment at the hands of the colonizers.
  • Seeking truth as a foundation for reconciliation with each of the three Nations, commitment to the hard work of truth telling; the acknowledgment that First Nations are integral rights holders in the future of public parks and lands; the important process of reconciliation with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations; and working towards a relationship built on equality and reciprocity needs to continue.
  • Parks Board needs to continue to partner with First Nations in preserving spiritually and archeologically significant places, and stewarding our park ecosystems for generations to come.
  • Actions speak louder than words and talk is often followed up with idleness.
  • Listening, learning, collaborating and working in respectful cooperation
  • Consideration should be taken to hire First Nations subject matter experts from the three Coast Salish Nations to be part of the process of managing historical and ancestral sites, educating the public and cataloging
  • First Nations need to be at the table as equal partners and we must be mindful that we are guests on First Nations land.

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

  • With a rapidly changing climate with warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers being felt in Vancouver, the Parks Board must adapt to our parks & recreation amenities in relation to this changing climate.
  • These changes will have numerous implications for people, parks and infrastructure.
  • Protection of our green spaces, protecting existing parks and recreation spaces from loss, encroachment and densification is imperative.
  • Community engagements through town halls to educate, inform and get community buy in with strategies is important.
  • Tree replacement & enhancement plan to add to the over 450,000 current trees.
  • Urban Forest Strategy to provide tools for growing and maintaining a healthy, resilient urban forest for future generations.
  • Biodiversity Strategy to ensure a healthy city, supporting wildlife of all shapes and sizes and offering access to nature.
  • Continue to increase our green space footprint. Develop a green space enhancement strategy to develop short and long term goals.
  • Work with key stakeholders to come to the table to determine strategies to increase the green space
  • Review opportunities, costs and benefits for adding solar panels and electrical car plugs at recreation centres.

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

  • Confusion between naming, branding, management and operation can occur when you add local CRA and City staff.
  • As a general rule of thumb it may not be prudent considering how it may effect the CRA staff and city union staff. That said, where applicable, joint operating agreements must ensure the best interest of the public is protected.
  • If agreements that incur a loss or control of facility or entity, then not prudent to proceed. If the net benefit of the naming/branding favours the local community or citizens of Vancouver as a whole then it may be prudent to explore.
  • Creating a committee to review naming strategy that would provide recommendations of going forward or not and if does go forward, a Branding/Naming Committee that would include parks Board, park commissioners, local community representation and First nations representation.
  • If naming of park board facility was on the discussion table, this process should involve community engagement to ensure mindfulness of community desires, needs and sensitivities.

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

  • Our neighborhoods and Community centre associations are the pulse and lifeblood of our unique regions and areas of the city.
  • We cannot underestimate nor undervalue their importance to understanding the needs of the community, the people and the overall population.
  • Accountability and good stewardships starts at the local level, holding each other accountable and creating roles and responsibilities.
  • To remove this level of accountability, responsibility and knowledge base would not only unfair and unwise, but a bad decision as these groups are our past our current and our future.
  • Decentralization.

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

Greg Edgelow’s Top 23 Talking Points & Key Messages for Parks Commissioner:

1. Employ strategies to ensure parks, gardens, beaches & recreation facilities are safe, clean, accessible, affordable and welcoming that includes more park rangers, more garbage cans & cleaning staff
2. Explore new and novel revenue streams to augment operational costs to reduce barriers inhibiting participation of children and seniors in recreation facilities by exploring more fee-free programs and services
3. Support community recreation association autonomy in managing their community facilities and developing programs that support community needs into perpetuity
4. Develop a long-term strategy to increase environmental footprint by developing more green space and convert to multi-functional park space
5. Parks Commissioners to commit to monthly community engagement activities with meaningful public consultation to help make more informed decisions on what matters to the community
6. Parks Board Commissioners challenged to commit to visiting every community center per annum to be more learned on broader issues in the recreation centre portfolio & not just liaise with a few centres
7. Commission a review of the maintenance strategy in parks & recreation facilities & where unsubstantiated disparity occurs, advocate equitable investment where fiscal deficiencies have been identified
8. Advocate increased capital investment to seismically retrofit & renovate dilapidated facilities
9. Commitment to ensure long-term, sustained investment strategy in VanDusen Botanical Gardens & Bloedel Conservatory and revisit new opportunities to manage maintenance costs of vehicles for mobility challenged visitors
10. Increase total footprint of dog parks in park portfolio & create more environmentally relevant off-leash dog compounds to enhance canine experience and reduce pack roaming activity
11. Review VanSplash & ensure strategies in place to upgrade aging pools including Templeton and New Brighton, respecting uniqueness of local cultures and traditions and commit to building 1 new outdoor pool in next 5 years with consideration of Mount Pleasant without eliminating pools
12. Develop a strategy to promote the features, benefits & value of parks, gardens, beaches & recreation facilities to the public so they become champions of Parks & Recreation
13. Stop encroachment of new pay parking in parks and around recreation facilities & propose a new license plate recognition strategy that provides complimentary parking for Vancouver residents
14. Advocate a strategic approach to immediately reinvest the profit from concessions into better upkeep of concessions, washrooms and changerooms
15. Ensure good stewardship of healthy choices by ensuring locally provided, affordable, healthy and diverse selections of food are available at all concessions
16. Review options to create new skateboarding parks in creative and unique locations across the city
17. Develop a long-term strategy that increases community utilization of Vancouver golf parks while supporting the existing course length, but also maximizes creative utilization of the entire park footprint for green, non-golf initiatives
18. Initiate review of Park Board investment in Burrard Civic Marina to determine disparity between marina fees and budgeted operational & maintenance costs & initiate a new marina capital & maintenance plan
19. Initiate process to review, recommend and develop new and novel public & private partnerships that drive new investment funding into Parks & Recreation portfolio to reduce increased user costs
20. Support a new community driven initiative to reclaim Vancouver’s park spaces from illegal sales activities, squatters and ensure the safety of citizens & their pets from needles and biohazards
21. Champion the consideration of a new branding of the Parks Board to “Parks, Arts & Recreation”
22. Commission a comprehensive review of the existing parkland and facilities square footage and subsequent changes over the past 35 years as it relates to the increased densification and population growth of Vancouver. Identify correlations and propose recommendations accordingly
23. Initiate discussions to create new and novel partnerships to utilize or share resources, fill gaps and collaboratively cooperate together between Parks Board, Community Centre Associations, Neighborhood Houses, School Board & other relevant organizations.

For more information please contact:
Greg Edgelow: greg@gregedgelow.com or greg@provancouver.com Cell: 778-989-0287
Greg Edgelow Wikipedia

Olympian & Community Leader Running for Vancouver Parks Board Commissioner

Greg Edgelow, 1992 Olympian and 1994 Commonwealth Games Gold medalist has fought many difficult fights and represented Vancouverites, BC and Canada for many years as a national team athlete, but running in the Civic elections is one off the toughest challenges he has embarked upon. Greg is running for Vancouver Parks Board Commissioner under the ProVancouver banner. Greg’s success on the mats is historical record and his volunteer efforts in the community and non-profit organizations has spanned a quarter century, but “asking for citizens to support you because they believe in you is humbling and rewarding” says Edgelow, “and that is what keeps me going”. “I have always had a community, sport or civic responsibility in mind to give back and support others” indicated Greg. “A lot of good people supported me as a youth and adult in school and sport where bullying kick-started my wrestling career, and I want to ensure children, youth and others are given that opportunity too. Sport and recreation was my pathway to combat bullying in school in grade 8” commented Greg. “Parks, Gardens, Beaches, Arts & Recreation is the best Civic avenue for me to help make a difference in our communities by making good decisions and investments that will eliminate or reduce barriers inhibiting participation of children, youth and seniors in parks, gardens & recreation facilities” stated Greg. A promise Edgelow is making is to facilitate community engagement sessions every month for the year to reach every community centre and continue with at least one community round table a month, each year thereafter. Candidates are often fearful that they may be asked to stand up for an initiative that is indigenous to that centre or region. Edgelow will seek out those issues, discuss them, share with the Parks Board or City Council and find strategies to resolve or address them.

Edgelow was recently inducted into the Indigenous Gallery at the BC Sports Hall of Fame for his outstanding sport successes is a coach, a sport & non-profit organization volunteer, a 1996 Outstanding Alumni winner from SFU and recipient of the 1999 Canadian Sport Athlete Leadership award where he was chosen over Wayne Gretzky because of his sport excellence and investment of his time into community. Greg has served in numerous boards including Sport BC, Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association, Simon Fraser Alumni Association, Blanket BC and was recently appointed to the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood House Board of Directors. Greg has also worked in the local communities like the Community Centre Associations of Britannia, Hastings and Templeton and was the Children’s Breakfast Program and Food Bank Coordinator at Kiwassa Neighborhood House.

“Parks, Arts & Recreation is an investment, not an expense. There are true and demonstrated dividends, now and long into the future. Recreation, Arts, Sport and Physical Activity is a right for all children. Children who engage in more extracurricular and physical activity do better in school, more likely to stay in school and graduate. We need to invest now and continue or pay dearly for the rest of our lives!” “This also means investing in our seniors!”

Currently Greg is an Operations Supervisor, Public Works on the North Shore where managing facilities and grounds would serve well with the task of managing Vancouver’s 230 parks and 24 community centres.
Edgelow’s platform is all about listening to and investing back into the Vancouver’s unique and diverse communities by strategically investing in its widespread parks & recreation infrastructure to ensure no barriers to access and affordability for all, but also safe and clean. Greg’s key messages are based on his personal experiences and especially listening to the citizens of many local hamlets of Vancouver. It will be almost 50 years to the date upon election time that Edgelow’s biological father won a seat in the Edmonton Civic Elections for School Trustee.

More information:

City of Vancouver Park Board Candidates webpage