A Plea for Parks and Green Spaces: Park People’s Concerns about the Potential Dismantling of the Vancouver Parks Board

décembre 13, 2023
Dave Harvey

Putting Parks and the Needs of Vancouver’s Communities First

Park People, Canada’s national city parks advocacy organization, is extremely concerned that efforts to scrap the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation will take away from much-needed work to meet the park needs of the city’s communities. 

“There are major challenges facing our parks,” said Masheed Salehomoum, Park People’s Manager, Vancouver. 

“Maintenance budgets are falling behind, new park development is challenged to keep up with growth, changes in park use and changes in our climate are putting severe strain on our park system. Blowing up the century-old structure of how we deliver vital park services will result in a complex, lengthy and ultimately distracting process.” 

A debate was opened during the recent election on the future of the Park Board, but Mayor Sim firmly closed the door on that debate and committed to keeping the Board. Now, there is an effort for the Council to vote on this issue with only one week’s notice. Restructuring and amalgamating park services in other Canadian cities has resulted in many years of disruption and confusion, taking a toll on park staff who are already pressed to deliver services. Park People believes the primary focus should remain to safeguard Vancouver’s parks and to ensure they remain accessible, well-maintained, and vibrant spaces for all. 

The Park Board is working on some Canadian-leading initiatives, from park equity efforts in VanPlay to ongoing decolonization work through initiatives like the Local Food Systems Action Plan. Let’s not lose momentum for that important work in pursuing better parks and stronger communities. Let’s prioritize the needs of the people over structural changes and ensure that Vancouver’s parks continue to thrive, providing solace and joy to all who enjoy them.

Established in 2011, Park People works with others to advance parks as an essential part of the transition to equitable cities where people and the rest of nature thrive. At a time when we need to radically reimagine how we live in cities, Park People supports and connects Canada’s city park changemakers, influences decision-makers to invest in city parks, and amplifies the programs, practices and policies that inspire the transformative power of parks for cities.