Trevor Loke: I believe in the power of taking action, not delivering rhetoric
As a lifelong participant within organized sports, I know firsthand the gifts that involvement can offer, particularly when it comes to young people. I have played at public facilities in every corner of our city, and understand how important they are to building community, emphasizing healthy lifestyles, and instilling a foundation for lifelong success.
Today I am still an avid hockey player, and am passionate about opening up Vancouver’s recreational facilities, programs, and opportunities to as many people as possible.
I have stepped forward to run as a candidate for the Vancouver park board because I believe in the fundamental principles of accessibility, activity, and advocacy.
I want everyone to feel comfortable in accessing all the park board has to offer when it comes to recreation. It is important that park board commissioners work to ensure that financial, cultural, or safety issues never present barriers to any Vancouver resident.
The park board must renew a commitment to ensure that fees remain amongst the lowest in Metro Vancouver. Working closely with community centre associations, the park board can continue to make team sports within reach for all financial backgrounds.
It is crucial to design and offer programming that encourages participation by all, regardless of religion or cultural background. By reaching out to communities and asking for guidance about how to engage those who traditionally have not used their local community centre or oval track, we can create a greater sense of ownership and buy-in.
We must also make sure that safety never deters someone from enjoying our open spaces across all of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods. I am encouraged and excited about my fellow Vision Vancouver colleague Niki Sharma’s proposal for a Safe Parks and Recreation Charter, which will take all necessary steps to uphold the principles of inclusion, tolerance, and security.
Once these steps towards accessibility have been taken, the park board has an opportunity to encourage usage toward Vancouver’s status as Canada’s healthiest city.
With the network of green space, community centres, ice rinks, swimming pools, and playing fields that the park board oversees, it only makes sense for elected representatives to promote the wide-ranging benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.
I do not believe that being a provider of such opportunities prevents park board commissioners from taking that next step to incorporate health, wellness, and exercise into their interaction with residents. In fact, I believe that park board commissioners have a responsibility to constantly champion the benefits of such lifestyle choices.
Finally, I am a supporter of elected representatives at the municipal level standing up as advocates on behalf of local interests.
In spite of difficult economic circumstances over the past few years, the park board was able to secure $16 million in federal infrastructure funding that was parlayed into over $40 million worth of projects.
In the same vein, the park board should be aggressive in pursuing any and all avenues for new funding sources to maintain and build new facilities for the next generation. With the B.C. government announcing $30 million to help pay for new recreation facilities in B.C.’s municipalities, it is important that our elected representatives make a case for as large a piece of this funding as possible.
Vision Vancouver has already proposed two projects to be advanced as the target for this newly available funding stream: fitness-oriented installations in under-serviced neighbourhood parks and conversions for waiting pools to new water spray parks. I am a candidate that is equipped with ideas, enthusiasm, and passion. As a park board commissioner, i would only gauge success based on my ability to take tangible steps to implementing my proposals.
I believe that politics often gets in the way of progress, and my commitment is that a vote for me is a decision to support action over rhetoric.
Trevor Loke is a Vision Vancouver candidate for the park board. He is a West End resident who is an active volunteer and community member. Loke is also a goaltender with the Cutting Edges Hockey Club, and the development and sustainability officer at the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.