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

Top 3 priorities (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

  1. Inc park safety
  2. Adding dog parks
  3. Working w/Comm Centres

Platform (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

“Working with all officials and community groups to improve park maintenance, and helping families to feel safe again.

We must re-establish trust between the Park Board and Community Centre Associations. Athletics and arts programs are key to a healthy city, and accessibility for all must be our guiding principle. 50,000 dogs in the city need room to roam, and parks to play in and socialize.

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

Spanish Bank dog park. It’s a great place to take my dog, he also loves it there. My family would also make the trip out, and spend the day at the beach at Spanish Banks.

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?

It’s tough because I can narrow it down to 2 priorities of equal value (more athletic programs/upgrades to community centres and increase diversity in parks). As a follow up to the first question, I’ll say a top priority is to have diversity in parks. I would want to see more dog parks, community gardens, urban trails, playgrounds (toddler vs child) etc. I strongly feel that in an urban city, parks are the backyards of the residents of the city and as such they should be diverse and accessible to all people. Green space is crucial to creating a well organized and happy city.

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?

A new and sustainable city plan, with consultation and forethought of community growth is needed at the council level. As the city grows, our current facilities and green spaces need to be maintained and Park Commissioners need to work closely with council to ensure that the operating budget for the Park Board is increased to match the increase in usage of our spaces/facilities. Additionally upgrades and development need to be planned with forethought and in collaboration with other partners. Models like Britannia where there is a strong relationship between the Community Centre (Park Board) and School Board, have proven how well partnerships can work.

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?

A new city plan is needed, and the Park Board needs to be involved and have input to ensure that as multi residential areas are developed, park and community space are also developed and considered in the planning process. For every increase in density, there needs to allocated space that the city gets to create community spaces (parks, centres, etc.).

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?

I believe that when presented or faced with an issue, it’s important to act and not blame or push the decision off to another. The Park Board can work with city staff, and non-profits to ensure that those that are homeless (camping out in parks) are presented with support, compassion and opportunities to be homed. I strongly believe in a proactive approach, where PB Staff work alongside other partners, ensuring that our staff are well equipped with either information and support required when dealing with homelessness. I am also very much for increasing the number of Park Rangers, and promoting stewardship and public safety education so citizens are informed.

I also think that park staff should get training on what to do when an overdose occurs, as unfortunately it is more and more prevalent in our city.

In regards to isolation, PB can keep promoting and organizing events that reach out to different people in the community. Linking back to diversity in parks, it’s important that we have different types of spaces and programs for all kinds of people.

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 would go forth with the Colonial Audit and wait for their findings. Whatever the result, open dialogue is needed with our First Nations peoples on how to proceed with reconciliation and what they would be interested in doing with the Park Board.

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

PB can take initiative by working with partners to establish best practices in day to day operations, ensuring all PB facilities and services are analyzed with a sustainable and proactive approach to being as least wasteful as possible. There are many small things that PB that can be seen as leading by example, like switching all foods to locally sourced foods, promoting non-meat options, ensuring that events on PB land are sustainable and organizers adhere to best practices.

An idea/opportunity arises where the PB can create a rubber stamp of approval for events that meet certain requirements in terms of sustainability and environmentally friendly best practices.

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 am very much in favour in partnerships, and working with all groups of people. In terms of planning for new park spaces, I am in favour(prefer) of the new park land being obtained and being owned/managed by the PB.

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 are extremely important, as they are able to provide the PB with information on the local community’s needs and wants. Each community is different, and we have many diverse neighbourhoods in Vancouver, as such Community Associations play an important part in addressing those needs. PB Commissioners and staff need to work with and listen to CCAs to ensure the needs are met for the people they represent.

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

Something I haven’t talked about much was my interest and passion for athletics. I’ve been a coach for 7 years, and always see the positive benefits that sports have on kids. I really want to work with CCAs, city council and other partners to bring in more sports and athletics (recreational and competitive) programs to our city. I truly believe that with partnerships and innovative approaches we can bring in more programs and athletics for all ages and abilities of people.

More information:

City of Vancouver Park Board Candidates webpage