Please support me in seeking a nomination as a COPE candidate for Park Board, Nov. 19.

Brent Granby


With more a dozen years experience as a community organizer and primary care-giver (daughters Saffrin and Mallika and my physician partner, Anita Palepu), I am seeking a seat on the Park Board to fight for more resilient communities, sustainability and the protection of the ecosystems and natural capital that underpins the health, wealth and quality of life in Vancouver.

I want to be your representative on the Park Board based on my 12-year experience as the primary caregiver to my two daughters and as a community organizer and advocate.During this time I have recognized the importance of the Park Board in supporting the lives of Vancouver families and all Vancouver citizens regardless of age.

The earliest times of my daughters’ lives were spent at the community centres participating in playtimes or having access to public health nurses. The community centres were places for peer support, socialization and fun for my family. It provided us an opportunity to meet new friends and enjoy the many programs that community centres offer.

Community Centres

The importance of community centres in my own life occurred when I stood for election for the board of the West End Community Centre. This experience and service allowed me to more fully comprehend how community centres are a vital hub in neighbourhoods. They provide early childhood education programs to preschoolers, to “wellness programs” for seniors, to yoga classes, Karate classes, pottery studios, fitness class, pumping iron, preschool care, after school care, preteen programs, as well as buddy programs for new immigrants. Community centres clearly offer a host of activities that enrich our lives, create social networks, promote health and provide places where cultures from around the world meet, learn to communicate and build the culture here in Vancouver that we are all proud of.

These services are what make Vancouver the most liviable city in the world. These are services and programs that I want to support, serve and enrich if am your Park Board Commissioner for COPE.

I know I am thought of as a big “West End guy”, being a former President of the West End Community Centre, President of WERA and doing a lot of public advocacy for the renewal of St. Paul’s Hospital, participating in developing 3 community gardens, but I can tell you I have rode, walked and took the bus to every corner of this city. Now as part of my campaign I am looking forward to talking with folks all over Vancouver.

As my kids became older and more mobile and as we explore more of the city, I started have a new appreciation for what the Park Board does, From taking runs in Stanley Park or riding on the sea wall to Science world, to celebrating Winter solstice in David Lam Park, Earth Day at Everett Crowley Park, swimming in Spanish Banks, hiding from the rain and cold in the Bloedel Conservator, eating tofu dogs at Libby Davies community BBQ at Mclean Park, these parks are what makes Vancouver great.

Making places and resilient cities

What I have come to realize is that what Park Board does is very much at the centre of making Vancouver the extremely livable city that it is and this is what I am passionate about – Making Places. I have been fortunate to participate in the development of 3 community gardens. Community Gardens are not just places where food is grown, they are spaces where folks from diverse backgrounds both linguistically and culturally can meet and become friends.

Ecological sustainability

One of the biggest challenges that currently faces Vancouver is the issue of climate change. Some UN estimates project that to effectively mitigate the climate change we would need to reduce 80% of the greenhouse gas emission. If one thinks of the magnitude of change that is going to be required to meet these goals, one starts to realize that this is an issue that needs a lot of citizen engagement to arrive at a consensus on how this can potentially happen.

A big component in developing a more ecologically sustainable future is going to be a modal switch to more sustainable transportation choices. More and better public transit is going to be a big part of the solution, but simple things like walking and cycling more are going to also be very important.

And this is why place making will be critical. Part of what is going to make walking more attractive and enjoyable is going to be interesting places to walk to as destinations and better built environments to do it in.

Park Board will be instrumental in this process in promoting active transportation choices and providing great environments for it to take place in. More needs to be done at the Park Board to promote more ecological sustainability and I want to be part of this process.

Habitat restoration

Part of what will make interesting places in more densely populated neighbourhoods is having access to nature and this why habitat preservation and restoration is going to be so essential for Vancouver and our parks.

In Vancouver we have many great parks to enjoy nature in from Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, our beaches and seawalls. Some of the work that I have done with Commissioner Woodcock has been around the promotion of habitat restoration and in particular with Beaver Lake in Stanley Park. Beaver Lake is in danger of disappearing and needs an action plan to be saved. This action plan is going to be developed because of the important advocacy work of the Stanley Park Ecology Society and Commissioner Woodcock. As impressive as our community centres are, and as wonderful as our parks are there are challenges in the future that must be addressed. Recognizing what these challenges are is the first part of the solution. But we need to ensure that access to nature in our city is equitably distribute to all neigbourhoods.

Intercultural understanding and intergenerational

One of the strategic strengths of Vancouver is our diverse culture of many different ethnicities, traditions and languages. Vancouver is popular city for new immigrants to settle in. This is great advantage for our city, but also a process that needs to be enriched. We have to ensure that our institutions and public spaces are welcoming and understand the issues of new Canadians. We need to make place where we can meet our friends as well as make new friends that are moving into our communities.

While Vancouver is popular with new Canadians we also need to be able to respond to the fact that we are all getting older. Community centres are going to be vital hubs of places where services for older citizens will be provided. We need to anticipate this demographic change and strategize how to effectively provide the necessary services.

I believe that the Park Board has an important role to play in the process. To support families with young kids with programs and space for early childhood education, for space after-school care.

But these services have an equal share by all in this city. All communities have to equal opportunities to these services and programs.

That is why I am running for Park Board. I have direct experience on how important these issues are to a high quality life and I am deeply committed to ensure that they are maintained and enriched.

A Vancouver for Everyone, COPE

COPE has a 40-year history of advocating for progressive policy in Vancouver. At the core of this progressive agenda is being the voice and giving voice to folks who need the city to work for them. Lower income people need to know that Parks and Recreational service are available and affordable. Seniors need Community Centres to meet and make friends, to promote wellness and help prevent sickness. Families with young child need support and opportunities to socialize and play. Teens and preteens need spaces to be safe and supervised, but away from their parents where they have the opportunity to explore their independence. Working families need help walking their kids to school and back to community centres after school, while they are working hard to support their families materially. These are the issues that I want to advocate for to ensure that these services are maintained and and enriched where possible.

I am asking for your support. I want to work with you to make this city and the Park Board the best institution it can be.

Leave a Response