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

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?

Cliff Relph (Independent): “I want to improve our city gyms and improve their hours to get more people using them. It promote more active lifestyles, and with it being cheaper, it would help people save money, and keep it in the local economy. Also introducing more broad programs into our community centers, and modernize what is offered will help connect people, and help people cross social lines and make new relationships.”

Gwen Giesbrecht (COPE): “Restore funding previously cut. Make facility up-grades a priority. Have neighbourhood pools. Lower user costs and remove participation barriers.”

Rick Hurlbut (Pro Vancouver): “Increasing population has everything to do with capacity, which includes both green space and amenities. This all comes down to funding, which again goes back to Council for adequate financial support. Diversity is all about programming, and we rely on the neighbourhood Community Recreation Associations to respond to the needs of their users. Park Board can support this through diversity training, multilingual messaging, and fostering new events which reflect this diversity.”

Dave Demers (Green Party): “I think our dedication to ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for all to our parks and recreation facilities must underpin all decisions that we take. Specifically, we would like to mandate that all new facilities be universally accessible and offer gender-neutral options (and that older facilities be gradually retrofitted as such). Furthermore, we would like to instigate a complete review of Parks by-laws (to bring them up to speed with our time) and limit to a minimum commercial interests on our grounds and in our facilities.”

Stuart Mackinnon (Green Party): “Ensuring that parks and recreation facilities are open and welcoming to all. Our community centres should be hubs for everyone, young and old, with day-care, fitness facilities, recreational programming, and seniors’ centres. Whether you are new to Canada, new to the neighbourhood, or new to this world, a warm and welcoming community centre can help at every stage of growth, development, and life. The diversity of Vancouver should be reflected in the programming offered. Community centres must be safe spaces for all, and open to all regardless of income, age, gender, ability or background.”

Mathew Kagis (Work Less Party): “This is a matter of funding & responding to local area needs. My first initiative would be to ask city hall to centralize CAC money. Currently, developer fees paid to the city are used for improvements to the area where the development has occurred. I would like that money to go into a central fund which is available to local communities and parks to draw from on a needs based basis. Specifically when it comes to cultural needs and practices. What that looks like would be guided by the neighborhoods and people directly affected.”

John Coupar (NPA): “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.”

Ann-Marie Copping (NPA): “We need to reinvest in our parks and neighbourhood community centres. The city contributions to the Park Board over the past 10 years has remained relatively flat and we are seeing the results in our aging community centres, pools, ice rinks and overall park maintenance and cleanliness. We need to listen to what Vancouverites want and need in each diverse community.”

Casey Crawford (NPA): “There are several strategies to ensure we respond to growth and accompanying diversification. Advocacy for appropriate funding from the City is vital. Our budget contribution from the City has been virtually flatlined for the past ten years. This should be increasing to reflect the growth in the city and the needed accompanying amenities. Partnerships with other government agencies, non-profits and community groups can extend our reach and ensure we get best value for our taxpayer dollars. And of course, consultation with the various neighbourhoods to confirm we hear what the needs and wishes are of the community.”

Leo Heba (YES Vancouver): “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.”

Chris Fuoco (Vancouver First): “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!”

Tricia Barker (NPA): “Let’s talk to the park neighbours to find out what they need. And then after the discussion, let’s make sure what happens addresses their needs. There is also the huge problem with having adequate funding for parks. We need to have the City of Vancouver restore the level of funding that was in place ten years ago.”

Gregory Edgelow (Pro Vancouver):

  • “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”

Pall Beelsa (NPA): “We need to ensure we are investing in community based needs. For example, if a swimming pool is lacking in one area, then an investment should be made in that facility so as to cater to the residents and also to alleviate congestion in other centers that have those capabilities already.”

Camil Dumont (Green Party): “This is a huge issue moving forward. The cost of adding new green & community amenities is daunting but it must also be viewed as an investment in out long-term health as Vancouver. We desperately need to value the existing infrastructure we already have in the system. We need to keep our operation at a standard we can all be proud of and grow it in response to the shifts in population and usage. The go-to is to require developers to provide amenities and green space as a step in their approval process. I feel like there are issues with that as a primary policy. I’d like to see city council value and emphasize Parks as the necessary component of a healthy community they truly are.”

Ray En-Jui Chang (Coalition Vancouver): “We will not sell a single piece of city land like the previous city hall. We will upgrade and renovate existing facilities and parks to that of sustainable and safe standards for the growing Vancouver population. Accessibility is key, our policies will increase accessibility as mentioned above so that everyone can afford to lead a healthy lifestyle and get involved with their local community. Keeping a strong community elected association at our community centre is key. It offers a diverse group of people that fully represent the community and cater to the community’s needs.”

Winnie Siu (Coalition Vancouver): “We believe in strong community centres which are important community hubs that encourage activities that caters to the neighbourhood and diversifying population.”



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