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

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?

Cliff Relph (Independent): 

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Improve Community Centres; (2) Expand Community Gyms (3) Involve Community groups.

“Improve Community Centres. The cost of living in Vancouver is very high, and it’s going to keep going up. Newer generations aren’t going to be able to afford the space or backyards that other generations have been able to get, and are going to need to turn to our Centres and our parks to make of the difference. I want our Community Centres to become hubs for people to connect, which I can’t understate how important that is.”

Gwen Giesbrecht (COPE):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Barrier-Free Parks & Rec; (2) Neighbourhood Pools; (3) Indigenous Programming.

“I can’t differentiate, I am passionate about them all. Thank you for sharing all of my priorities.”

Rick Hurlbut (Pro Vancouver):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Innovative Park Design; (2) Sustainable Funding; (3) Community Engagement.

“Sustainable Funding. It’s little known that Park Board gets less than 50% of its operating budget from City Council. This means Park Board has to generate something like $60M annually from fees and permits. Which is why there is fee parking in our most popular parks. We need a more fair relationship with Council, one that recognizes that the tax payer believes they’re supporting our parks, but that this is actually not the truth.”

Dave Demers (Green Party):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Foster Sustainability; (2) Improve Accessibility; (3) Promote HealthyRecreation.

“‘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.”

Stuart Mackinnon (Green Party):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Sustainable Parks; (2) Affordable Recreation; (3) Reconciliation

“As a candidate for the Green Party, sustainability is my most important priority. Preparing Vancouver, a sea-bound city, for the changes brought about by climate change has to be at the forefront of every decision we make. We must ensure that new facilities meet the needs of today and tomorrow, and that we continue to look after the assets we already have.”

Mathew Kagis (Work Less Party):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) More Community Gardens; (2) Less Expensive One Cards; (3) Carbon Sequestering

“Community Gardens. With that one thing, we can encompass so much of what I feel is important. Giving people much needed space to grow some of their own food, creating a stronger sense of community by connecting neighbor through shared activity. I think they beautify parks and increase the family friendly feel of them. AND: in some small way helps to sequester atmospheric carbon. A drop in the bucket, I know, but with enough drops… Whether it’s a single person who want’s a bit of food security & basil. Or parents who want to show their kids the magic of growing food from seed, I think everyone who want’s a space to grow things, should have access to it.”

John Coupar (NPA):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Horticultural excellence; (2) Clean safe Parks for all; (3) Park Board independence

“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.”

Ann-Marie Copping (NPA):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Reinvest in parks & rec; (2) Safe enjoyment in parks; (3) Improve city liveability.

“Reinvest in parks and services – As individuals and families are living in smaller spaces, our parks are our frontyards, backyards and living rooms. We need to ensure that we invest in our parks and beaches so that all of us can enjoy safe, accessible and fun parks and beaches.”

Casey Crawford (NPA):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Funding facility renewal; (2) Accessible/Welcome parks; (3) Genuine consultation

“An advocate for maintenance, renewal and strategic planning for our sport facilities, particularly for youth. As a father of two boys, I believe in the power of team and individual sport, and the life skills a young player can develop. As the city densifies, we need facilities available to allow our youth to experience sport in a variety of ways. With all the budgetary challenges at Park Board, I want to ensure this vital community amenity is a part of the conversation.”

Leo Heba (YES Vancouver):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Inc park safety; (2) Adding dog parks; (3) Working w/ Comm Centres

“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.”

Chris Fuoco (Vancouver First):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Revitalize Facilities; (2) Partnership rebuilding; (3) Financial Accountability

“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.”

Tricia Barker (NPA):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Be a voice for seniors; (2) Park safety; (3) Save soft walk/run paths

“I’m a personal trainer for seniors, older adults and people with terminal illnesses. I’ve been doing this work for 21 years and feel a deep connection to this vibrant group. I listen to their needs and concerns every day and feel the necessity to be the strong voice speaking up on their issues. Too often a senior is invisible and their voice is not heard above the other groups asking for priority. I hope to be their voice on the Park Board.”

Gregory Edgelow (Pro Vancouver):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Invest in Parks & Rec; (2) Reduce User Costs; (3) Clean, Safe & Accessible

  • “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”

Pall Beelsa (NPA):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Park safety & cleanliness; (2) More outdoor pools; (3) More turf fields

“Swimming Pools. I feel swimming pools promote healthy exercise and and more importantly create an outlet for children and youth so as to stay active in sporting activities, as opposed to video games and other distractions.”

Camil Dumont (Green Party):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) sustainable systems; (2) safe, clean Parks; (3) just, honest policy

“Sustainable systems and just policy. The science & evidence on climate, biodiversity and ecological systems breakdown is the largest threat to our well-being, in my view. I did my graduate work in a science faculty at UBC and came away understanding that at all levels of government we need to place ecological healing and sustainability at the heart of policy. There are different avenues to get there but building and preserving sustainable systems must be “main-stream.” I want to live ecological, social and economic justice. I want it for my child and her generation. I don’t believe they can exist independently from one another. That drives me.”

Ray Chang (Coalition Vancouver):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Lower facility fees; (2) Upgrade Public Facilities; (3) Giving Community a Voice

“1) Cleans Parks Plan
–> For too long, our parks were riddled with garbage and needles. My grandparents used to love taking walks at the Downtown parks. But after learning how easy it is to get transmissible disease such as HIV/AIDS just from pricking yourself with a contaminated needle, they no longer do that. My team and I will double the cleaning crews to clean up the garbage and safely dispose of the needles to make our parks into something Vancouverites can be proud about.

2) Keeping Community Centres from the community, for the community
–> There is a huge threat that is passing under the radar. The current Parks Board have tried and failed in court to remove all associations and centralize all community centres. Now they are trying to make community centres sign a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) containing a “sunset clause” that legal kicks out community elected associations from community centres after a certain number of years. My team and I find this unacceptable. There should never be an expiration date on volunteers. Once elected, we will remove the sunset clause and renegotiate the JOA to make it more community friendly and less “money-grabbing” because community centres should never be a business.

3) Reducing costs/cooperation with others to increase accessibility
–> Fees for facilities are becoming too expensive. We are sometimes even more expensive than private for-profit fitness centres/pools. We will reduce costs. Additionally, we will work with schools and other facilities to open up gyms and fields for community sports teams. For example, if an elementary school gym is not being used after 4pm. We will open them for little leagues and other sports teams in the community to use.”

Winnie Siu (Coalition Vancouver):

Top three priorities (City of Vancouver candidate form): (1) Community Involvement; (2) Safe & Clean Parks Plan; (3) Free Parking & Lower Fees

“Cleaning up the parks is a top priority and making them safe for children and families.”


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