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

Top 3 priorities (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

  1. Be a voice for seniors
  2. Park safety
  3. Save soft walk/run paths

Platform (City of Vancouver Candidate Form)

“My work with the older adult and senior community is close to my heart. I believe this vibrant group needs a strong voice speaking on their behalf. I hope to be an advocate for those who have become invisible and whose voices have been diminished. We should be listening to their needs and concerns and then acting on those issues. I want to ensure we make our beautiful parks welcoming and safe for their enjoyment.”

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

TThis is like asking who is your favourite child! Every day I travel all over Vancouver and often have time in between clients to stop in a park. Each has their own personality. Kits for the perfect sunset picture, Quilchena for a neighbourhood stroll, Trout Lake for the serenity of the calm water. If forced to pick one I would have to opt for Stanley Park and my love of the Seawall.

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’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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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?

I appreciate the role our Community Centres play in helping people but we must make sure the added funds are there for these services to continue. I would also like to see an increase in the number of Park Rangers we have ensuring everyone’s safety. These Rangers are often an ongoing contact with the people in need. When I was a teenager I experienced homelessness. The most profound lasting memory of those times is not the hunger or cold, but the kindness of when someone stepped up to make the tragedy a little less severe. I hope we can be that help for someone that needs our assistance today.

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?

I support the on-going reconciliation with our First Nations. Listening, understanding and then acting.

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

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.

8. What, if any, role do you think privately owned companies should play in the management, operation, or naming/branding of Park board facilities?

In the past I believe our parks have been able to benefit from some private support without “selling out”. I would be very cautious about allowing this to happen without very strict rules. I enjoy the Bloedel Conservatory, I love Nat Bailey Stadium and VanDusen Botanical Gardens is a gem, but we should be very careful with any step in this direction in 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?

Community groups, neighbourhoods and associations play a paramount role in our parks. We should welcome people to take an active interest since they know best about their own local park.

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

Our local parks have brought me an incredible amount of joy over the years. From being a young child and amazed at the low tide at Spanish Banks, to walking through the gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park with my Dad, to leading running/walking groups throughout our trails, to my hours of photography as an adult. I cannot imagine Vancouver without thinking about our incredible and diverse parks. I hope to take the next step and serve on the Park Board. Thanks for this questionnaire and the opportunity to share some thoughts.

More information:

City of Vancouver Park Board Candidates webpage