Erin Shum brings a millennial's perspective to the Vancouver park board

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      Vice chair of the Vancouver board of parks and recreation

      Erin Shum is working to bring fun to parks and recreation facilities in Vancouver. She promised to do that when she ran for park commissioner in 2014, and the first-time civic politician is making sure she delivers on her pledge.

      In the fall, city staff will present a report on her suggestion that the park board develop an ice-rink strategy. According to her, there is limited ice time available for the sporting, recreational, and fitness needs of residents.

      “If it’s necessary, we should look at building another ice rink or twinning an existing ice rink,” Shum told the Straight in a phone interview.

      Vancouver has eight public ice rinks, but only three operate year-round. These are Britannia, Hillcrest, and Sunset. The five others in the West End, Kitsilano, Kerrisdale, Trout Lake, and Killarney operate on a seasonal basis.

      The youngest member of the park board is also expecting a staff report on one of the motions she has brought forward. It’s about alternatives to a plan to decommission wading pools in the city.

      According to Shum, the previous park board administration allocated $400,000 to shut down the shallow pools. These park facilities, however, are popular among children and families during the summer season.

      Shum said a pilot project will be launched to retrofit a wading pool next summer. The pool will use a saltwater sanitation system, which is easier to maintain compared to using fresh water. If successful, retrofitting the remaining wading pools, according to Shum, will mean that neighbourhoods will still have access to a water facility.

      Shum noted that based on her research, she is the first Chinese-Canadian woman elected to the Vancouver park board. She turned 33 in early August. According to her, people are often pleasantly surprised to learn that she is the vice chair of the park board.

      “When I’m out there in the community, they look at me and they’re like, ‘You look young, but you’re the vice chair. That’s amazing,’ ” Shum related. “You can feel the support.…‘It’s great to have new and fresh energy.’ ”