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

Candidate Profile – Tricia RILEY – #215 – (Green)

Top 3 priorities (from City of Vancouver Election webpage)

  1. Access to green space
  2. Sports and programming
  3. Advancing reconciliation

Platform (from City of Vancouver Election webpage)

Prioritize the expansion of equitable access to parks and programming so all Vancouverites can enjoy them today, tomorrow and for generations to come. Focus on improving infrastructure and fields that support our sport communities. Enhance our urban ecosystems by expanding our tree canopy. Advance reconciliation with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and jointly explore opportunities to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous values in our parks and recreation sites through co-management.

2022 Park Board Candidate Questions

1. You’re speaking to a friend from out of town, and they ask for a quick overview of “where things are at” with Vancouver’s parks and recreation facilities. What do you say?

I’d tell my friend that Vancouver’s parks and recreation facilities are some of the best in the world and offer amazing opportunities to get active and connect with the community. There are definitely things we need to focus on going forward though, for example: refurbishing some of our aging community centres, building in climate resilience in our infrastructure (especially along the seawall and beaches) maintaining and growing our tree canopy across the city, and increasing access to spaces and events year round that can make our city more vibrant and social!

2. The topic of equity features heavily in both VanPlay (the Parks Board Masterplan) and the recently approved Vancouver Plan. What’s your take? Does Vancouver’s park system need to be more equitable and accessible? If yes, what changes would you propose and/or prioritize to make this happen?

It’s no secret that not all areas of the city have the same access to green space, recreational sites and programming. We need to prioritize equitable access to parks and programming across the city so that all Vancouverites can enjoy them. What this means is when we’re approaching new projects (be it pools, skateboard parks, or community centre upgrades) we need to ensure we’re providing fair value to all neighbourhoods and prioritize those areas which maybe haven’t had the same attention. One specific project that comes to mind is advancing the outdoor pool in Oak Park.

When we’re thinking about access, we also need to consider equitable access and support for all individuals coming to our parks and facilities. This means ensuring all our sites are accessible to meet diverse mobility needs, and prioritizing the creation of more clean and accessible public washrooms with gender-neutral options, to remove barriers that limit people’s enjoyment of our parks and recreation centres.

3. As a general principle, should parks aim to accommodate cycling paths within their boundaries? What are your thoughts on bikes and bike lanes in parks? (Please note: this is not specifically a question about Stanley Park).

Yes, we should accommodate safe cycling paths to and through parks. As a city, we should support and increase active transportation networks, while also accommodating diverse mobility needs and taking a thoughtful approach to design and placement of separated lanes.

4. What role, if any, do you see the Park Board playing in responding to the needs of people experiencing homelessness/houselessness and encampments?

We need to support all communities across the city – and when it comes to some of our most vulnerable communities, we need to take an all-hands on deck approach. The Park Board should continue to connect people sheltering in parks with the supportive housing and services that they need by working with City Council, the Provincial Government, BC Housing, and social service organizations.

5. Should Vancouver’s parks and recreation facilities play a part in supporting climate resilience or ecosystem restoration? If yes, how?

I see our parks as the heart of our urban ecosystem that can help us mitigate the effects of climate change in our city. For example, the value of green spaces and tree canopy in mitigating the urban heat island effect is well documented — we need to increase our tree canopy and green spaces across the city to combat the effects of summer heat domes. We should also be looking at opportunities to build climate resilience into our community centres (for example, incorporating the heating and cooling systems to provide shelter from extreme weather) and our recreational infrastructure (for example, shoreline improvements along the seawall and beaches to better prepare for coastal storm events).

6. Is having a Board of Parks and Recreation the best way to govern and manage Vancouver’s park system? If yes, why? If not, what would you propose in its place?

The Parks Board in Vancouver is unique, and so too are the iconic parks it was established to protect. At a time when land values are skyrocketing, along with the influence of developers, we need to protect our park lands and expand them. Having an elected board focused on the protection and stewardship of our parks is an asset from my perspective, and provides an opportunity for greater democratic input in the future management of our lands.

7. What, if anything, do you think the Park Board should do to support/facilitate community activation/events and stewardship of park spaces and facilities?

The Parks Board should actively support community stewardship and events. Whether it’s a shoreline clean up, or maintenance of a well-loved sport field, community stewardship brings people together and empowers park users to take an active role in tackling issues they see on the ground.

8. In the past few years, the Park Board has taken steps towards reconciliation, decolonization, and co-management with MST First Nations. Would you continue this work? If yes, how?

Embracing and advancing reconciliation will lead to a brighter, more equitable future for everyone in our city. As a Commissioner, I will prioritize collaboration with the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations to explore opportunities for co-management of parklands. I’ll also work with urban Indigenous organizations and community members to ensure they are included in planning and initiatives of the Park Board.

9. If you could make changes to one park in the city – which park is it, and what would you do?

I don’t think I can pick one park, but one change I’d like to see is more individual and group fitness options in parks. I’ve seen really great outdoor gym equipment and fitness trails in other cities (in particular, I love the Terri Fox Fitness Trail in Winnipeg) and I’d like to see more of that incorporated in our city . By doing this, we can remove barriers to accessing fitness (no need for expensive gym memberships!) and encourage more people of all ages to get active outdoors.

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

If you told me a year ago that I’d be running for Park Board, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But when this opportunity to step up and serve our community came up, I knew I had to take it.

When I moved to Vancouver after finishing law school 11 years ago, I found my community through sport, specifically by rowing and coaching at the Vancouver Rowing Club. VRC is where I’ve made some of my best friends and found a community that means the world to me. So I know that for the sports teams and clubs in our city it’s about more than just getting active, it really is about building community. This is why I’m running, to support the teams, clubs, and places that bring us together.

Biography and Contact

Biography (City of Vancouver Election Webpage)

I’m a trained lawyer and rowing coach, working in Indigenous Relations in the renewable energy sector. As an active park user I see the value our parks and recreation sites bring to communities as places where we can connect with the outdoors and each other. I will work tirelessly to keep our parks accessible and beautiful for all Vancouverites.


Instagram: @triciariley4parks