With more and more Vancouverites living in condos, Katherine Day believes it’s important for the city to turn “underused spaces” into “community spaces”.
Day, one of nine candidates for four Vision Vancouver park-board nominations, told the Georgia Straight that she envisions alleys being “beautified” with gardens and more parklets being built in street parking spaces.
“I grew up in a home with a backyard,” Day said by phone from her Gastown office. “Parks and community spaces for us are going to be the backyards that our children will know.”
Day is a Kitsilano resident who does communications work for an information technology company. A member of the Liberal Party of Canada, she previously worked in the Prime Minister’s Office under Paul Martin and in the Ottawa office of Liberal MP Hedy Fry.
Another idea put forward by Day is that of outdoor fitness gyms. According to her, Kitsilano Beach would be a good site for such a facility. She’d also like to see more circuit training facilities in Vancouver parks.
“I started thinking about it through my involvement in CrossFit, because we tend to use laneways, alleyways, parking lots for our sport—just to get outside of the gym,” Day said.
Another Vision nomination candidate, Brent Granby, told the Straight that he would bring “a lot of experience” to the park board. A former president of the West End Residents Association and the West End Community Centre Association, Granby is an NDP member who ran for the park board with the Coalition of Progressive Electors in 2011.
Granby, who is working to establish himself as a visual artist, said he wants to promote active transportation and, in general, encourage people to be “more active” for health reasons.
“I think community centres and our public spaces and our parks are all going to be immensely important to that whole project,” Granby said by phone from his home in the “beautiful” West End.
Six year ago, Catherine Evans unsuccessfully sought a Vision council nomination. This year, the former chair of the Vancouver Public Library board considered another council nomination bid but ultimately opted to go for a park-board nomination.
A “semi-retired” lawyer, policy advisor, communications business owner, and Liberal Party of Canada member, Evans told the Straight that she has a “proven track record of building coalitions and moving issues forward”.
“The public spaces that we share are going to be increasingly important to the livability of our city,” Evans said by phone from her home in Kitsilano. “So to the extent that we can make those public spaces as welcoming, as inviting as best we can, I think that will benefit the quality of life in the city and the ability for people to enjoy living there.”
Evans, a founding member of the B.C. Society for Public Education, also noted that it “bugs” her that parents have to fundraise to buy playground equipment for their kids’ schools. While she acknowledged it’s more of an issue for the school board, Evans said it’s something that she would speak out on as a park commissioner.
Graham Anderson, who identifies himself as a “nonpartisan progressive”, is a member of the city’s active transportation policy council. A former board member with the Grandview Woodland Area Council, Anderson is an owner of Shift Delivery, which uses tricycles to move cargo around the city.
“I’m concerned about social isolation in our city, and I see that our parks and community centres play a crucial role in connecting us with our neighbours,” Anderson told the Straight by phone from his home in Strathcona. “So I’m running to help create more vibrant and dynamic public spaces.”
While this is Anderson’s first campaign, fellow candidate Mark Mitchell recalls running for city council in St Albans, England, in 1996; he lost by 40 votes. Mitchell is a West End resident and Liberal Party of Canada member who works as the director of tax compliance at a local shipping company.
Mitchell told the Straight that he’s seeking a nomination because he believes the park board can “really make a difference in people’s lives”.
“For whatever reason, there are people who are not necessarily as happy with Vision as they were three years ago,” Mitchell said by phone from downtown Vancouver. “We need to reach out to people, and in particular we need to reach out to people in the centre. We need to directly take the fight to the NPA and we need to reach out to people who are not sure whether they’re voting NPA or Vision.”
Naveen Girn, Trish Kelly, Sammie Jo Rumbaua, and Coree Tull—who have formed a slate called New Voices, One Vision—are also seeking Vision park-board nominations.
At a June 22 nomination meeting, Vision will add four candidates to its park-board slate, which already includes incumbent Trevor Loke.
The municipal election is scheduled for November 15.