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Vancouverites love our parks and community centres. Who doesn’t enjoy relaxing at the beach, biking the seawall or walking through lush forest? But as our city welcomes more neighbours, we need to make sure we’re creating enough green space for everyone to enjoy.

OneCity knows access to nature is fundamental to our well-being and parks are critical infrastructure. We will find creative ways to expand and improve green spaces and reflect their role as our shared backyards. Community centres can bring folks together around programs inspired by the people they serve — youth, elders and everyone else.

Center Indigenous leadership

Vancouver’s Park Board has a long and painful colonial history of erasing Indigenous peoples from their lands. City parks should recognize, celebrate, and reflect the history, culture, and rights of the Host Nations. OneCity will work with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations to support Indigenous governance of their territories and heal the natural places they’ve stewarded since time immemorial.

  1. Support proposals from the Host Nations for Indigenous-led or co-governance of parks,  including with capacity funding for their leadership.
  2. Implement calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, UNDRIP Task Force, and next steps of the Parks Board’s colonial audit.
  3. Work with the Host Nations, Vancouver’s UNDRIP Task Force and its Urban Indigenous People Advisory Committee around park planning and priorities. 
  4. Listen to how Host Nations want to see their history, ongoing connection, and title reflected in parks through signage, design, names, and management models.
  5. Partner with the Host Nations to offer on-the-land learning opportunities that align with school curriculum. 
  6. Promote the sharing and visibility of Coast Salish stories in parks through cultural programs and public art.
  7. Explore opportunities for Indigenous Guardians to steward and manage parks across Vancouver.
  8. Create a culturally safe workplace for Indigenous employees by providing mandatory cultural safety training and culturally relevant human resources.

Make recreation accessible to all

Everyone needs places to relax after a long work week, connect with friends and neighbours, enjoy time in nature, play sports, or learn a new skill. OneCity will invest in Vancouver’s growing communities to make sure all residents live within a short walk or roll of local parks and community centres. At the same time, we’ll make sure the programming offered meets the needs and reflects the diversity of the people who use our facilities.

  1. Invest in neighborhood parks to provide shade, practice sports, and promote play.
  2. Ensure investment in parks and community centres follows population growth and density.
  3. Hire more lifeguards to give everyone access to swimming pools and lessons.
  4. Create new off-leash dog parks in underserved areas like Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, and South Vancouver.
  5. Adopt common sense rules that allow respectful and responsible drinking in parks.
  6. Provide free access to swimming pools and community centres for those who need it and prioritize equity and access in determining fees.
  7. Require competitive sports events in parks to provide discounted fees to people who need them.
  8. Support 2SLGBTQ+ programs like Trans Swim and deliver on recommendations from the Trans and Gender Variant Working Group for safe access to parks and community centres.
  9. Ensure adaptive equipment such as ice sleds and water wheelchairs are available and in good condition.
  10. Develop culturally relevant programming for community centres and libraries.
  11. Expand facilities, programs, and services at Carnegie Community Centre in the Downtown Eastside based on local needs and priorities.
  12. Leverage golf courses as high-quality green spaces for the entire community.
  13. Maintain or expand out-of-school programs like day camps and after school programs as high quality, safe, and affordable options for all families.
  14. Allow informal, mobile social enterprises like food vendors, umbrella rentals, coffee carts and sports gear sharing in parks to promote entrepreneurship and create low-barrier jobs.
  15. Build a bike lane in Stanley Park to replace the current temporary one.
  16. Upgrade stairs, paths and trails in Stanley Park to improve access to the park interior and seawall. Explore the potential for an accessible electric shuttle throughout the park.
  17. Secure long-range capital and operating plans for Parks Board with new revenue sources to ensure commitments are delivered on.

Equip parks to address great challenges

Most of us think of parks only as places for recreation. But in these uncertain times, they’re more and more becoming vital points of response to any number of social crises. During the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, parks provided a safe place for neighbours to gather and for people to connect with nature. Green spaces also help buffer against climate disasters and offer a refuge for people experiencing homelessness. OneCity recognizes the critical role that parks have taken on in meeting the troubles of our time. We will use them to ensure every Vancouverite can stay safe.

  1. Plant 10,000 trees per year starting with the next capital plan through 2040, focusing on neighbourhoods with less canopy and green space to protect these communities from heat waves. Give priority to a wide diversity of drought-tolerant species. 
  2. Prepare parks and community centres to act as emergency response hubs for all kinds of crises, from earthquakes, deep freezes, heat waves, floods, fires, food shortages and civil unrest.
  3. Use parks and green spaces to hold onto water during both droughts and floods, and work to limit water use across the entire parks and recreation system.
  4. Redesign the seawall to use more natural, resilient features rather than rebuild every time a storm destroys it. 
  5. Acknowledge people live in parks and respect their right to shelter, day and night. 
  6. Work with community groups and leaders to identify areas suitable for tents that maintain the use of parks for everyone while people find housing that meets their needs.
  7. Provide maps clearly showing areas where it’s safe to shelter and where campers can expect bylaw enforcement.
  8. Use waterproof message boards to communicate with park residents.

Take a deeper dive into our vision for parks:

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Support our plan for a Vancouver where everyone belongs

OneCity believes there’s room for everyone in our city to thrive. We’ll work together across City Council, School Board and Park Board to make sure you always have a place here.