Sarah Kirby-Yung: Putting the spirit and community back in the park board

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      This is your Vancouver. Like many of you, I am a proud Vancouverite. I have been fortunate to spend my career in the tourism sector, promoting our spectacular city worldwide. That has made me realize how lucky we are to live here.

      As you think about heading to the polls to cast your vote on November 15 (or before if you are advance voting), you have the right to know about the candidates like me who want the chance to represent you, your voice, and your community.

      Not many people are aware the Vancouver park board is the only elected body of its kind in Canada, or that it was formed over 125 years ago, to manage the then-new Stanley Park and ensure its continued use by citizens.

      Today, the park board has responsibility for more than 230 public parks in Vancouver and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, rinks, fitness centres, golf courses, street trees, marinas, playing fields, and more.

      I believe that a park board commissioner has a critical job. Vancouver is known as one of the most beautiful and livable cities. But lately, we haven’t been taking care of it as we should be.

      The park board today has the most contentious relationship with our community centre associations in its history. These volunteer boards are the heart and soul of their neighbourhoods, but they are being disregarded and not provided with meaningful opportunities for consultation.

      It’s time to stop being divisive. I believe we need to work with and not against our associations. I believe we need to maintain our green spaces and playing fields. And, I want to maximize festivals and events in our parks as they bring our city to life.

      On November 15, I am asking for your support to elect me as park board commissioner. I need your help so that I can work to bring positive change and restore a consultative and independent Vancouver park board that listens to and works with its communities.

      My priorities:

      Restoring the relationship between the city and community centres

      Vancouver’s community centres and their boards are the heart of the city’s neighbourhoods. The park board should work in partnership and consult with community associations.

      Maximizing public spaces

      Public art opportunities should be prioritized to create engaging spaces in our city. Our parks and facilities should be available for all community events, including festivals and celebrations.

      Public consultation

      Park board meetings should be held across Vancouver’s communities to strengthen opportunities for community input. The park board should be independent and work for the people it serves.

      Sarah Kirby-Yung is an NPA park board candidate in the November 15 Vancouver election. Kirby-Yung was the marketing director at Tourism Vancouver, vice president of the Vancouver Aquarium, and is currently executive director of marketing for Coast Hotels. She was instrumental in developing Dine Out Vancouver, Canada’s largest restaurant festival, and founding Tickets Tonight, which has returned millions of dollars of revenue to cultural groups throughout the city. A long-time advocate for vibrant communities, Kirby-Yung served as marketing chair for Vancouver’s annual Celebration of Light. She was also a member of the City of Vancouver’s Creative City Task force, where she assisted in the development of a Creative City Strategy.