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

Top 3 priorities (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

  1. Revitalize Facilities
  2. Partnership rebuilding
  3. Financial Accountability

Platform (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

“When elected, this Park Board will re-invigorate the Capital Plan process so as to revitalize aging facilities. Improve the 80+ year old collaborative relationships with community association, while strengthening partnerships with field user groups. Seek to reduce pay parking at public parks and fields.”

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

Hillcrest/Queen Elizabeth Park: Why, it’s were my Dad learned to love golf ( he never played before and loved the Par 3’s – then ended up golfing like a maniac in Retirement). It’s where my Mom would love to wonder through the Rose Bushes and where She and my Dad would want to go every-time they came from Ottawa to visit me as a young adult. It’s where my now wife and I would go on dates playing Tennis, throwing the baseball, playing pitch & putt and meeting up with other friends. It’s where we as a family (Wendy my wife and two young sons at the time) would run 4 consecutive Sun Runs. Hillcrest is where our boys both played Little League and now community ball…. I have more but you get the point from the pol to the ice rink, the Conservatory to the Raqeuts club, we have done almost it all and still use this great space on a weekly basis.

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?

I. Maintain and grow more Green and Community Spaces.

II. Reduce barriers to Parks and facilities where possible making them more inclusive. This would include a First nations and Multi-cultural approach.

III. Expand existing facilities to accommodate additional users. Ie: twin or reconfigure Ice rinks, Add lights on fields to increase capacity (of course not every field as we don’t want to illuminate the wrong viewpoints.

I believe all these points are really important and attainable. Inclusivity requires re-thinking how we operate and we definitely need additional capacity.

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?

We would plan for the future now with a plan to see where we rank nationally and internationally, we would develop and consultative approach to build a vision and purpose for our Parks and Recreation (Health) needs. We would plan financially and look to other levels of government, non-profits and the private sector to achieve this vision.
Examples include: Twinning proposed new rinks, not closing any pools but retro-fitting them, Making three mini-rinks out of Killarney for young kids and multiple groups to use for lessons and their sports.

In addition I believe we should look to other counties including China and India to see how we can meet the Cultural need of our historical large immigrant. Of course we should also look to include our First nations immediately and seek their involvement.

There is much more, I believe we should spend a long time determining what we value in public spaces as well as what our needs are and then plan accordingly!

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?

Wow, tough one. Three ways come to mind.

I. I believe we should involve the developers themselves. Just as property values rise when a skytrain station is build I believe property values are high when there is a park, school, mall or community centre near by. So we would work with developers to make sure we have appropriate lands.

II. Private Sector and endowed lands such as universities. We would hope that we could find a Ted Turner(yes of TBS) who is the largest conservator of land in the USA to help us keep Vancouver from being turned into a parking lot.

III. We would partner with the Vancouver School Board to turn all the schoolyards into parks. We would work with them to meet their needs while enhancing their spaces for overall community use where possible.

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?

Such a big Question. I believe park Board can play a role but believe the provincial health system should be the lead on these items.

How specifically can Park Board help?

I. Heating and Cooling Respite centres for the homeless.

II. Food/Meal and essentials (socks, Touques, tooth brushes/mail) Pick-up locations.

III. Meeting Place for health professionals to meet Homeless and impoverished persons(every dorr is the right door Phylosophy)

IV. Social Time, music, sowers and more(Tea and Coffee) could be a service point for people in distress.

V. Emergency Disaster response and support centres for Homeless and the entire community.

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 continue these efforts and expand them to include creating opportunities for First nations to build their own facilities, or be part of existing in their own way, to ask First nations to share their Culture(s) with everyone, to seek their sacred and ancestral burial grounds and perhaps look to support additional opportunities with our First nations People.

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

I believe we should conserve as many green spaces as possible. We should also look into remediation of green spaces to prevent damage due to climate change. I note the Sydney N.S. example of how “Day-lightling Streams” is a way to prevent crazy floods. Perhaps we can look at repairing our shorelines and adding to our urban forest. Perhaps we work with our parks Staff and UBC and Van Dusen Staff and look at research as to how we can change our practices to combat the negative effects of global warming.

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 believe we should look at these possibilities. As a public servant I sometimes worry about a private management company running our facilities but I have seen many cities such as Burnaby, Richmond, Delta, Abbotsford and maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows all thrive with private operators. I think Non-profits might also play a role. As for naming, I have seen a “lion’s park, Rotary Park which are non-profits, I have also seen Minto Field (Ottawa Developer) and believe the public has benefited from these ideas and realities.

We must both be careful yet open minded to these ideas NOW and into the future.

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

I Believe Community/Neighbourhood Associations should be involved in community centres

Role No. 1 – Local Amenity Provision

Role No. 2 – Local Planning Advisor

Role No. 3 – Neighbourhood Advocate

Roles from the Calgary Neighbourhood Associations Review.

When is the last time the City or Parks Board folk reached out for meaningful input.

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

We are in this to Win, to make thing change so citizens will have an active voice. We are not politicians but believe thast we can help put the city back into a direction that will make public spaces through Parks and Recreation the World Class City it Is.

More information:

City of Vancouver Park Board Candidates webpage