Jamie Lee Hamilton eyes a seat on park board

Jamie Lee Hamilton told the Georgia Straight that she plans to run as a candidate for the Vancouver park board in the 2008 civic election. She hasn't said if she'll be seeking a nomination for any party.

However, she has been extremely critical of Vision Vancouver on several occasions, once drawing a defamation suit from Coun. Heather Deal and former mayoral candidate Jim Green.

Here is a statement that Hamilton sent to her friends today:

April 14, 2008

Hi Friends and Supporters

After being asked numerous times on whether I plan to run in this years Municipal election and after many requests to do so, I feel a sense of duty to let you know what my future plans are.

Originally, I hoped to have made up my mind by June, 2008 and waited until September, 2008 when normal municipal election campaigning starts, unfortunately, with the press having gone wild so early in the election cycle, speculating about who is running or not, I feel it necessary at this time to let my supporters and friends know that I am considering challenging for a park board seat this November.

I announce this now before many of you commit to other candidates and I wanted you to know about my intentions.

Park board has been an interest of mine for quite some time as it involves Public & Park spaces, Arts programming, Recreation, Cultural life and Youth & Social issues.

My civic involvement includes sitting as a steering member for the Downtown Eastside Arts in Parks Committee and as a Coordinator for A-STEP, an Aboriginal sexually exploited Youth Arts-based program funded by the McCreary Centre Society.

I am involved in PRIDE, a gay, lesbian and transgender cultural festival where my work includes sitting on the archive and fund-raising committees along with serving as a PRIDE director. I played an instrumental role and led the successful fight against trademarking PRIDE. This led to PRIDE remaining in community hands.

I also sit on the board of the Prostitution, Alternatives, Counselling and Education (PACE) society.

I am an event planner and have two small companies called The Party People Event Planners and Tricia Foxx Entertainment.

A number of emerging issues are on my radar screen and in many cases are quite exciting, yet challenging and potentially concerning for Vancouver citizens. This is why I am seriously considering a Park board run.

With the City densifying, I think our public spaces and parks will become even more important to our well-being and happiness. It is important to ensure that appropriate land resources are kept for the enjoyment of all our citizens to enjoy. Quality of life matters will be paramount to our livability as we are squeezed in tighter together.

With the City embarking on its Civil City campaign, I want to ensure that we don't attempt to sweep away our problems. Homelessness and drug problems has become a major concern for Citizens of this City. Rising homelessness in Stanley Park and other parks is a major concern.

Because there is a significant homeless population, including Youth at-risk in far greater numbers with-in our City, I want to ensure that all three levels of our municipal governance bodies are working responsibly and cooperatively in a non-partisan way to find smart solutions which address these inequities and challenges facing us.

Another key area which I plan to focus my energy and creativity and this is a personal one, is toward lobbying for a public space to be named after the late Councillor, Harry Rankin.

Mr. Rankin was a beloved Vancouver Citizen and the longest serving member of City Council. In 1999, I was the only candidate outside of Mr. Rankin's COPE party to receive an endorsement from him.

I am embarking on a campaign to ensure that Mr. Rankin receives proper recognition for his tireless advocacy on behalf of Citizens of this City.

I believe Park board should not be seen as a committee of Council. Vancouver Parks and Recreation board is the only elected Park board in Canada and I think it is vitally important that we ensure that our masters are the people who elect us.

I am concerned that the Park board budget is approved by Council and that as Park Board Commissioners, we appear to be at the whim of Council for our share of municipal tax-payer funding. We should pursue other options which would be more efficient and less cumbersome and provide more transparency & accountability to the citizens we represent.

I will need to fight hard to ensure victory and for those of you who know me, I have an abundance of spirit which I think is necessary in political life.

As a born and raised Vancouver citizen, although I do not have a famous last name, I am so proud of my late Mother, Alice Hamilton, who was one of the co-founders of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre. My mother was a tireless and well recognized leader for Aboriginal people in Canada and like my mother, I have dedicated myself to community and political life.

I have tirelessly lobbied to ensure fairness and justice for all of our Vancouver Citizens. I have worked hard to ensure a better City for all.In 1997, I was awarded Community Hero for my efforts and I am extremely proud of this recognition.

I am asking you to consider supporting my run for Park Board and I will be calling on many of you in the next while so that we can put that support into action.


Jamie Lee Hamilton