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

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?

Cliff Relph (Independent): “I would like to see more space made in East Vancouver, to help distribute the funding more around. Many more people are going further east as rent increases, so having more space in East Vancouver is something that is going to need to happen.”

Gwen Giesbrecht (COPE): “Work with city council to direct developer permitting and community development fund contributions to create equity between westside and eastside neighbourhood parks and amenities.”

Rick Hurlbut (Pro Vancouver): “As a culture and society, we have thankfully moved past expropriation. Which means the acquisition and cost of land is driven by market forces. This means adopting creative ways of getting double and triple use out of existing parks. Or, as with the Oakridge Mall redevelopment, doing something completely new. I was recently in Toronto and toured both The Meadoway, which is adding natural vegetation AND recreation to an existing hydro right-of-way, and The Bentway, which is adding public space under the Gardiner Expressway. Vancouver can’t afford to lose any more industrial land for fear of eroding the tax base and losing jobs. But there’s nothing to keep us from adding green space atop a warehouse or car dealership which occupies an entire city block.”

Dave Demers (Green Party): “I would personally focus on ‘pocket parks’, those smaller, versatile and more affordable green spaces that can be ‘inserted’ in dense neighbourhoods. This approach could help us re-equlibrate the city-wide distribution of parks (certain areas of the city, as you know, are already very dense but lack in park space).”

Stuart Mackinnon (Green Party): “New ideas are needed to face the growing densification of Vancouver. We cannot continually look backward to another time when land was plentiful and costs low. Smaller pocket parks like they have in Montreal, using unused or repurposed spaces like the Highline in New York City, or creating public spaces where none existed before like the new Oakridge project are just some of the ideas we need to look to. We need to look to the future not the past to have better parks and recreation for all.”

Mathew Kagis (Work Less Party): “There are some unique opportunities on the horizon. Hastings Race Course, with their lease about to end & there’s IF the viaducts come down. Both are excellent opportunities to expand our park network. I also think we can tie the housing issue into this. The COV should be looking at opportunities to buy homes next to parks, run them as social housing rentals until such time as more non market housing is built & then incorporate these properties into existing parks.”

John Coupar (NPA): “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.”

Ann-Marie Copping (NPA): “Establish a Parks Foundation to enable philanthropic and private sector financial support for our parks and recreation facilities.”

Casey Crawford (NPA): “Creative ideas are appearing in cities all over the world. Pocket parks, roof-top public parks (public or private buildings), temporary parks is spaces slated for future plans, partnerships with other land-owners. We can certainly learn from the experience and discussions happening all other the world as cities grapple with the issue.”

Leo Heba (YES Vancouver): “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.)”

Chris Fuoco (Vancouver First): “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.”

Tricia Barker (NPA): “With the many cuts in Park funding this has become an almost impossible task. If we want more parks we will have to restore the Development Cost Levy to a level where there are adequate funds to create new spaces. We should also look to private sector partnerships.”

Gregory Edgelow (Pro Vancouver):

  • “Work with the City to develop (in concert with various stakeholders including Parks Board, Community Centre Associations, BOMA, VRCA, Developers Professional Association, City Planners, Trio of Coast Salish First Nations to name a few) a Green Space Development Accountability Framework for all new developments.
  • Explore unique, unused space that is deemed undevelopable including under bridges, escarpments, waterfronts.
  • Call out to land owners wanting to bequest their property to Parks & Recreation.
  • Explore the current concept that the Oakridge plan is embarking upon and develop some lessons learned but also develop a strategic plan or process to provide to developers to consider.
  • Encourage or require green roofs where and when applicable for new developments and consider ideas for discussions on retrofitting existing buildings. Share the opportunities and challenges with [ends midsentence]”

Pall Beelsa (NPA): “Park Rangers, supported by the Park Board and VPD, can be the facilitators of change in helping collect data to better understand how we can assist in these matters. An extended Park Ranger program, in which Rangers are provided adequate training, can help facilitate in these critical areas.”

Camil Dumont (Green Party): “This is a tough one. We are not going to see another Stanley Park or QE. It’s just too expensive to do so. That said, we need green space now more than ever. One idea is to increase the number of “pocket Parks” as one might see in the Montreal model. There are a few examples around Vancouver where that has been pretty interesting and effective. We have included in our platform the development of a net positive park replacement policy, that would potentially grow park space & certainly signal that we deeply value the space we already have. I think the PB will have to be creative and very attentive to opportunities to grow green space as we continue to evolve as a city. It won’t be easy but it’s very important that we push for more and better green space and Parks.”

Ray En-Jui Chang (Coalition Vancouver): “Great question. Parks are important for both physical and mental health and as such should be planned into communities as they are developed and grow. Careful study and understanding should go into developing acceptable ratios of human density and park space to ensure that everyone has reasonable access to park space. The land itself can be acquired through development costs.”

Winnie Siu (Coalition Vancouver): “Great question. Parks are important for both physical and mental health and as such should be planned into communities as they are developed and grow. Careful study and understanding should go into developing acceptable ratios of human density and park space to ensure that everyone has reasonable access to park space. The land itself can be acquired through development costs.” [Duplicates response from Ray En-Jui Chang]


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