As part of our mandate to advise Mayor and Council on issues relevant to the future of the city, the Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC) recently submitted a memorandum to Mayor and Council and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation regarding the Park Board’s VanPlay Deep Dive engagement process. Here is the text of the memo:
On February 20, 2018, eight members of the Vancouver City Planning Commission (VCPC) convened to take part in the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation’s “VanPlay Deep Dive.” In this process, we mapped out the contributions of Vancouver’s parks and recreational systems in our own lives and for the city, discussed gaps and important considerations, and created agreed-upon values to guide future planning.
The VCPC’s participation in the process relates directly to the commission’s mandate to represent ideas and opinions about the future of the City of Vancouver, including the future of parks, open spaces and recreational facilities. Commissioners discussed their own experiences with Vancouver’s parks and recreational facilities, including fitness programs and services, cultural and meeting spaces, parks and outdoor spaces, destination sites and the associated service providers in addition to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. This memorandum captures a high-level summary of values that planning commissioners have identified to guide the ‘future state’ of parks & recreation in Vancouver.
With the importance of changing demographics on the future planning of the city, planning commissioners focused on the subject area ‘Programs and services for changing demographics’. The three values that we agreed upon as guiding our planning and needs for parks and facilities are equity and inclusion, accessibility and empowerment.
Equity and Inclusion
Community centres should offer the most accessible and affordable recreational and other programming and services in the city, without compromising quality. Each community centre should offer the same quality of basic amenities and programs (fitness centre, studio space, meeting space), to make sure basic equity among neighbourhoods, regardless of average income levels or other factors. This reflects in the maintenance, availability of programming, adequate staffing and expected standard of facilities. All community centres should have equitable budgets and spending.
Community centres and parks should be spaces that encourage positive social interaction among diverse groups of people. They should be welcoming to people of all demographics and backgrounds, and financially, socially and physically accessible. Each community centre should be accessible via all modes of transportation, including walking, cycling, bike share, car share and transit, among others. As neighbourhoods change in demographics, for example as families move to smaller living spaces, there may be a need for change in accessibility or adaptions in programming and services such as more green space or space for outdoor programming.
Community centres and parks should encourage participation in programs and services to communities of people who might not otherwise take part in city-run programming. They serve as hubs for spaces of convergence among groups of people who might not otherwise interact, but meet over shared interests or programs. Those members of the community who face the highest barriers to participation should have support in barrier reduction, through mechanisms such as subsidized or waived fees.