Parks and Recreation 

The Issues 

The Park Board serves the important function of protecting and expanding Vancouver's outstanding parks, recreation and community centre system. This unique and important administrative structure was established early in Vancouver's history because of Stanley Park. It was recognized that the park needed an independent Park Board and administration with the mandate to protect and maintain the park distinct from the City's mandate to develop the city lands. As more parks were established, these were also added to the Park Board lands. This distinction is as valid today as it was in the past. Some civic parties have suggested that the Park Board be disbanded, but TEAM sees that as a lack of understanding of the important role that the Park Board plays.  

Over the past decade, under the influence of City Council, staff and special interests, the Park Board has made a series of irresponsible decisions that have adversely affected the health and useability of our internationally known parks and recreation system. Some of these actions have contributed to weakening of the Park Board's ability to carry out their mandate and prohibited the public's access to the parks and recreation system.

TEAM Perspective & Action Plan

TEAM will take care of Vancouver’s amazing parks. A strong empowered TEAM majority Park Board with Commissioners dedicated to listening to and serving the people of Vancouver will ensure our parks and recreation system remains at the core of our liveable City. 

Action Items:

  1. Keep Park Board assets publicly owned and operated;
  2. Restore Park Board authority over their operations and facilities by transferring finance, operations and facilities back under Park Board jurisdiction from the City’s planning, real estate and facilities departments;
  3. Stop the politicization of park management with policies and goals outside of the core mandate of maintaining and enhancing parks and recreation for the use of all Vancouverites; 
  4. Create balanced policies and solutions that serve the needs of Vancouver citizens as required by the Vancouver Charter, rather than serving third party interests or potential privatization;
  5. Protect and expand the parks and recreation system for current and future generations to serve projected growth that is consistent with previous City/Park Board policies of providing a ratio of 1.1 ha of parks per 1000 people;
  6. Add more green spaces, recreational facilities and parks to address both the increasing density and existing park and amenity deficiencies, especially on the east side that has been historically underserved; 
  7. Keep parks green: avoid paving over and building on green space and parks; work with Engineering to improve bike access to our parks and beaches without paving over existing lawns and gardens;
  8. Improve public green space management by prioritizing maintenance of gardens, cutting lawns, and keeping them clean and safe for the public's benefit;
  9. Facilitate gardens and urban farming in private and public spaces to support community resiliency and food security;
  10. Enforce maintenance bylaws on empty or under construction private property and boulevards to ensure there is basics of cutting lawns and keeping them free of litter;  
  11. Increase planting and maintenance of the urban forest on City owned land, including street trees, and improve maintenance of street boulevards;
  12. Improved street tree management to protect existing mature trees and add new trees where currently underserved, with the goal that all city boulevards have a healthy tree coverage;
  13. Retain, protect, and upgrade the heritage facilities within the parks and recreation system;
  14. Collaboratively resolve Stanley Park accessibility issues and policies to ensure the Park and its facilities (Aquarium, restaurants, horse-drawn carriages, etc.) are accessible to all citizens, including cyclists;
  15. Ensure access and safety across parks and facilities, including for the elderly, for the disabled and for families who need convenient vehicle access - such as restoring pre-COVID access to Stanley Park and Beach Avenue - while also allowing new alternative infrastructure for cycling and walking without impeding vehicles;
  16. Assess and plan for the impact of climate change on Vancouver's parks and recreation system, including our beaches and seawalls, and protecting and expanding the tree canopy across the city to provide shade and to support urban wildlife and ecology;
  17. Repair the damage made to the Jericho pier from the recent storms to extend its life until a replacement is required and funded;
  18. Increase safety by expanding the park ranger program, keeping lifeguards on beaches, adding fencing on parks adjacent to busy roads; 
  19. Provide safe park spaces for off-leash dogs that are within walking distance in all neighbourhoods;
  20. Discourage park encampments to ensure parks are safe and accessible for everyone, while working collaboratively with the City and other levels of government so the parks are not used as a substitute for proper housing and service that people need;
  21. Prioritise local neighbourhood community centres, recreation facilities, amenities, pools, and parks, to achieve walkable neighbourhoods with universal access;
  22. Avoid further development of commuter destination centres, with a few exceptions for replacement of existing citywide special use facilities such as the Aquatic Centre; 
  23. Support local Community Centre Associations (CCAs) and their roles in the joint operation of community centre facilities, and ensure the approval of the upcoming renewal of Joint Operating Agreements with all CCAs in 2027 and beyond; 
  24. Encourage collaboration with schools and libraries for use of facilities for community centre programs;
  25. Withdraw Park Board support for the City-initiated policy of imposing housing over new community centres since the overhead airspace may be needed for future expansion of facilities to serve growth rather than sprawling over green space or having to buy new land for future amenities;
  26. Plan for community centre maintenance, upgrades, renovation and expansions that save money in the long term rather than deferring maintenance leading to expensive replacements; and
  27. Ensure the annual and long-term budgets for operations and the capital plan have established funding for all existing community centres on an ongoing basis. 

Related policies: School Board, Planning & Development, Transportation, Climate Emergency, Safety For All