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

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

Cliff Relph (Independent): “1)Make sure our plans continue to move towards sustainability 2) Make sure our parks and recreation facilities are accessible to help centralize the burdens we’ll be facing.”

Gwen Giesbrecht (COPE): “Protect the canopy. Stop building destinations. Daylight waterways. Work with transit to create affordable transportation. Have greenspace small and large wherever possible, including laneways.”

Rick Hurlbut (Pro Vancouver): “It may already be too late to implement, but as we develop and restore the Seawall, it can both act as a levy, but if we set it back somewhat from the high time line, we can also re-establish natural shoreline ecologies which help mitigate both pollution and rising sea level. Each year, every swimming pool in the system is emptied into the sewage system before receiving maintenance; I’d like to see this water retained for either non-potable uses, like toilet flushing, or allowed to off-gay to the point where it could water lawns. These are just a couple of examples of how our existing assets can be made more environmentally responsible and responsive.”

Dave Demers (Green Party): “As a horticulturist by trade, and having worked in a variety of cities and under different climates, I am naturally tuned to these regional details that, once all tallied up, make such a big difference in the efficiency and resilience of our green spaces. I see plants and smart plantings (along with the infrastructure that favours them e.g. curb-less raingardens, deeper tree pits, etc) as some of the most promising mechanisms to adapt and help mitigate a changing climate.”

Stuart Mackinnon (Green Party): “As a sea-bound city, recognizing climate change will have a profound impact on our city is paramount. Planning for sea level rise, ensuring our community centres are prepared to be emergency hubs, and educating the population on measures they can take to mitigate and prepare for change is a key role for the park board. The park board has been, and must continue to be, a lead local agency in natural mitigation and preparedness. Planning for climate change at the park board has already started. This must continue to be a priority.”

Mathew Kagis (Work Less Party): “Again, this ties back into my ‘more gardens’ platform plank. I think that tree canopy is also crucial. We’ve lost far too many mature trees in the last decade to rampant development. We need to reverse that trend in our parks and streets. We also need to continue encouraging more trees on private property, I have 2 trees in my (rental) yard from the Park Board $10 tree program. The apples & figs are lovely. We also need to examine our park maintenance strategy & find ways to make them as low footprint as is reasonably possible.”

John Coupar (NPA): “Certainly with hotter summers we need more pools and spray parks,additionally due to sea level rise seawall will need to be raised and berms will be required in parks prone to flooding. We will also need to change our planting strategy to more drought resistant plants and trees as well increase automatic irrigation systems to reduce water use, recently we have begun watering with non potable well water. These are initiatives I support.”

Ann-Marie Copping (NPA): “Climate Change is a reality we need to address in our coastal city. Working with experts, I would like to see the Park Board adopt a strategy to mitigate and protect our parks and facilities while educating the public on how they can help with solutions.”

Casey Crawford (NPA): “The Park Board can play a significant role in educating the public and demonstrating immediate ways we can help tackle climate change challenges. With the rise in ocean levels, there are strategies to protect our shorelines from the Fraser to Burrard Inlet; we can introduce more native and low-water plantings into our naturalized spaces and gardens (and include low-after plants in our semi-annual tree sales); and we can continue the efforts (through programs like the tree sale) to increase the tree canopy.”

Leo Heba (YES Vancouver): “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.”

Chris Fuoco (Vancouver First): “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.”

Tricia Barker (NPA): “We should be looking at what the reality is today, what is expected in the very near future and then acting appropriately. I believe our Parks will become an even more profound part of our city as we deal with climate change in the future. Luckily we have experts we can rely on to give us the direction we need to move.”

Gregory Edgelow (Pro Vancouver):

  • “With a rapidly changing climate with warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers being felt in Vancouver, the Parks Board must adapt to our parks & recreation amenities in relation to this changing climate.
  • These changes will have numerous implications for people, parks and infrastructure.
  • Protection of our green spaces, protecting existing parks and recreation spaces from loss, encroachment and densification is imperative.
  • Community engagements through town halls to educate, inform and get community buy in with strategies is important.
  • Tree replacement & enhancement plan to add to the over 450,000 current trees.
  • Urban Forest Strategy to provide tools for growing and maintaining a healthy, resilient urban forest for future generations.
  • Biodiversity Strategy to ensure a healthy city, supporting wildlife of all shapes and sizes and offering access to nature.
  • Continue to increase our green space footprint. Develop a green space enhancement strategy to develop short and long term goals.
  • Work with key stakeholders to come to the table to determine strategies to increase the green space
  • Review opportunities, costs and benefits for adding solar panels and electrical car plugs at recreation centres.”

Pall Beelsa (NPA): “We need to ensure that we use different sources for watering our plants, so as not to run into drinking water shortages. We should also invest in plants that do not require as much watering. Outdoor swimming pools and water spray parks would also be a great investment for youth and families to enjoy in hotter weather.”

Camil Dumont (Green Party): “It’s going to be the biggest challenge of our lives I’m afraid. For one, we need to make sure there are accessible, well managed green spaces where people can connect with the natural world. Kids need to play and grow amongst nature if they are to understand its magic and value. We need to be keenly aware of water use and implement conservation standards. We need to lessen our emissions and impact. We need to plant trees & prioritize a healthy biodiversity. We need to lead by example by shifting the systems that make up our Park Board to a place of true ecological sustainability.”

Ray En-Jui Chang (Coalition Vancouver): “This will be largely determined by how things change over time.”

Winnie Siu (Coalition Vancouver): “This will be largely determined by how things change over time. We should also engage ecology expert to determine best course of actions.”



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