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

Top 3 priorities – City of Vancouver candidate form

  1. Horticultural excellence
  2. Clean safe Parks for all
  3. Park Board independence

Platform – City of Vancouver candidate form

“Parks and recreation deliver our cherished Vancouver lifestyle. I will work to increase park maintenance standards, park safety, and increase public park infrastructure, such as pools, seniors centres, and recreation facilities. I believe in responsible management, smart sustainability, and creating a healthy and enjoyable way of life for all Vancouver residents. I am passionate about our city, its parks and public gardens, and ensuring the well-being of all residents and visitors.

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

Queen Elizabeth Park as at its pinnacle is the Bloedel Conservatory and Quarry Gardens. It is a special place for me as it represents the crowning achievement of my Dad Charlie who was a 42 year employee of the Vancouver Park Board. He was the first Director of the Conservatory when it opened in 1969. When Vision planned to close it in 2009 I formed a group called Friends of Bloedel and with lots of help we we able to save it. Since my election in 2011 I have been able to achieve a roof replacement and marketing improvements. I am very happy to see the delight this facility and gardens bring to residents and visitors.

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?

Horticultural excellence, as growing up and watching the development of our Parks and Gardens, I know how important well maintained a beautiful gardens and parks are to both residents and visitors as we all need some respite from our busy lives. The time spent in parks and gardens has a scientifically proven measurable impact on health and wellness.

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?

The operations of the Park Board are funded approx 50% by the City of Vancouver and 50% by the fees we charge for parking admissions etc. Over the past 10 year while the COV budget has increased 45% the COV,s contribution to Park Board has only increased marginally. This as left a funding gap in the Park Boards ability to fulfill its mandate. I will strongly advocate for adequate funding for the Park Board to insure we can deliver Vancouver’s cherished active lifestyle and exceptional parks and gardens.

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?

Recently Vancouver City Council cut the Development Cost Levy contribution to the Park Board which was 42% and directed to Park Board to purchase land and develop future parks it was cut down to 16% .This will severely impact the Boards ability to meet the needs of our growing city. The return to the 42% DCL contribution is critical to meet the needs in future. We are in need of new land at the south of Cambie to build a new waterfront Park for our growing density along the Cambie Corridor. I will push hard to have this critical funding restored.

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?

Our Park Rangers are an essential connector to people suffering from homelessness, addiction and illness in our Parks. Our Rangers are ambassadors and are often able develop relationships of trust with those in vulnerable situations.These connections and their ability to connect them with the appropriate agencies can be transformational. I support an expanded Park Ranger program in our Parks.

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 was Chair of the Park Board when we had our first historic Government to Government meetings. I have and continue to support our ongoing work on reconciliation with our first peoples.

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

Certainly with hotter summers we need more pools and spray parks,additionally due to sea level rise seawall will need to be raised and berms will be required in parks prone to flooding. We will also need to change our planting strategy to more drought resistant plants and trees as well increase automatic irrigation systems to reduce water use, recently we have begun watering with non potable well water. These are initiatives I support.

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

We have always had relationships with Public Corporations. Many facilities,gardens,art and venues have been funded wholly or partly through donations or partnerships these include The Bloedel Conservatory, VanDusen Botanical Gardens, Macmillan Space Centre, Henry Moore Sculpture,Laughing Men Sculpture, Rich Hansen Playground, Nat Bailey Stadium to name a few. However generally my preference is to keep Parks clear of any permanent association with corporate branding or management.

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

Local input and involvement is critical that is why I am a strong supporter of our Community Associations ,Van Dusen Botanical Gardens Association and many more associations and groups that tie us to the neighborhoods we serve.

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

I have great pride in the work of the Park Board and feel that over its long history its advocacy and development of Parks, Recreation and Public amenities has had a huge impact on the development of a positive active lifestyle in Vancouver as well as unparalleled access to nature. As a two term Commissioner I feel my knowledge, experience and my record of working hard for residents and visitors to deliver great Park and Recreation experiences will hopefully give me the opportunity to serve a third term.

 

More Information

City of Vancouver – Park Board candidate webpage