Donalda Greenwell-Baker: Public access is key to the success of Vancouver’s park system

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      For 25 years, I worked for the City of Vancouver and the board of parks and recreation. As a former recreation programmer and community centre coordinator, I helped bring a wide variety of programming into Vancouver. I have the ability to listen and find creative solutions while being extremely sensitive to the need to remove any barrier that limits participation.

      As a park board commissioner I plan to represent the diverse and rich history and culture of our city. I will advocate for a system that truly provides for and preserves parks and recreation facilities that are inclusive and of benefit to all.

      Public access is a keystone to a successful park and recreation system. We need to make available amenities that are welcoming, that enable all ages to have positive experiences that add physical and emotional benefit to our lives. Providing opportunities to recreate, to walk, run, to jump, to dance, learn, and grow, to enjoy cultural life and the arts without financial difficulty. These opportunities should be available in every part of our city, regardless of one’s economic situation.

      I bring to the table a wide range of experience on elected, volunteer boards and know and understand public process, decision making, and parliamentary procedures. I have been and continue to be an outspoken advocate and will work in cooperation with community associations to ensure facilities are affordable gathering places, hubs of activity for all ages, particularly families, our youth, and seniors.

      Currently I am the president of the Hastings Park Conservancy and also a member of the Open Space Advisory Group for Hastings Park. Governance of Hastings Park requires a public review process that provides for a continued role in the decision making to ensure public accountability, access, and control of this public park. We need to make the greening of Hastings Park a reality while respecting the jobs of hundreds of employees. The board of parks and recreation are the true experts in park operations and maintenance and should have major control in the management of this park.

      I will work collaboratively with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver school board to find ways to have our city’s community amenities available for use beyond traditional times and advocating to reduce rental fees to lower the barriers of access. Our public spaces should be open as often as possible and much more intercultural and intergenerational understanding is needed. Public programs and planning processes need to be inclusive, delivered and received in ways that make sense to our city’s current population.

      We need to ensure that everyone is comfortable and can expect to be safe in our parks. Amenities such as public washrooms and water fountains should be available along greenways, bikeways, and in all open spaces. Together with running mate Brent Granby, we will work with other commissioners, departments, and agencies to advocate for more public washrooms and change rooms.

      Vancouver’s natural, beautiful environment is a perfect setting to ensure a Vancouver for everyone. We can all agree that the park board should play a central role in making Vancouver the greenest city in the world.

      Donalda Greenwell-Baker is a Coalition of Progressive Electors candidate for the Vancouver park board. Greenwell-Baker is the former internal chair of COPE, former secretary treasurer of CUPE Local 15, and served for over 10 years on the Vancouver and District Labour Council executive. She currently works for the Hospital Employees’ Union. Greenwell-Baker grew up in Vancouver and has lived in the city most of her life. She is a loving mother and wife.



      myna lee johnstone

      Sep 30, 2011 at 6:33pm



      Oct 1, 2011 at 2:16pm



      Oct 1, 2011 at 6:03pm

      You should be able to have a nap in a park.


      Oct 1, 2011 at 8:00pm

      I think we need bike HOV lanes with 3 or more people per bike. the bike lanes are getting overcrowded and this would be a great help in getting bikes of the road.


      Oct 2, 2011 at 10:51am

      err aren't our Parks accessible to the Public already?

      used to swim

      Oct 16, 2011 at 7:02pm

      Lots of talk from all of the candidates about 'recreational facilities', but not many dare to use the 'p' word - POOLS! Vancouver has fewer outdoor (and indoor) pools than most large Canadian cities, and even fewer than some of our neighbouring municipalities. Yes, we would all like to be able to recreate, to walk, run, to jump, to dance, learn, and grow, and we would also like to SWIM!