An endorsement from Loretta Woodcock for Brent Granby on the Park Board

Loretta head shot
From 3 term Park Board Commissioner Loretta Woodcock

“Although Brent has been volunteering his time and energy for over a decade in advocating for the best use of our public spaces, I had the fortune of working with Brent during my final term as commissioner on the Park Board from 2008-2011. Brent knows this City well. He brings a focused and infatiguable passion in promoting recreational amenities for families, cyclists, nature enthusiasts, community gardeners, the arts community, sports field users, and those who rely on our community centres. When you meet Brent you will be impressed by his hard work ethic and the sincerity that he brings in representing your interests on the Park Board. Vancouverites can have confidence that when they elect Brent Granby, they will have someone with a thorough knowledge and readiness to perform his duties in a principled and positive way. Join me in supporting Brent’s candidacy for Park Board.”

The healthy city: good design, beauty and throw in some fun.


The actual physical fabric of the city could make you healthy. How wide sidewalks are, is there street furniture, do you have parks with nature, community gardens and interesting places all have an effect on our health. There is a growing body of knowledge that is making a connection between a city’s infrastructure and health. The most obvious example is bike lanes. By increasing safe bike lanes cities will increase the amount of people who will cycle. Riding bikes and living physical active lives helps prevent a host of chronic diseases. But there is a whole range of things that cities could be doing to make its residents healthier.

I think great public space is something that is often over looked as a factor in health. Great public spaces from interesting material for the sidewalks and pocket parks really invites folks to walk. Having street furniture and poster kiosks also encourages people to linger and make social connections and this all good and promotes health. Good design and beauty could be key components of health.

The City is seeking ideas for making Vancouver healthier for everyone. The city is launching a number of engagement tools to gather ideas including a series of “ideas labs” to “brainstorm” input to inform its The Healthy City Strategy.

 The idea labs will be held on the following dates:

Monday, May 5, 2014 from 6:30 – 9pm at Trout Lake Community Centre, 3360          Victoria Drive

 Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 1 – 3:30 pm at Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, 350 West  Georgia Street

Thursday, May 15, 2014 from 6:30 – 9 pm at Ryerson United Church, 2195 West 45th Avenue

To learn more about the Health City Strategy select here















Throw back Thursday: 1982 when we had student grants, loans and good paying jobs



Ouch!  It’s 30 years since I started university. This is me in 1982 in my first year at Mac. I was 20 years old here. An exciting time and I was proud to be going to post secondary education. I really didn’t have a glue what I wanted to do, but always some how knew that I would go to university.

What strikes me now  is how lucky I was to be going to school at the time when  I did. Governments were still supporting universities so tuition was affordable. Both the Federal  and Ontario Governments had grant and loan programs. In Hamilton there was still good paying manufacturing jobs to be had in the summer where one could earn enough for the following year.

These were the last years when Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister and government was addressing inequality and was helping with programs to develop a more equable society. I finished school with debt, but nothing like the amount that students have know. Looking back being the son of  an auto worker I feels so enriched to have had the opportunity to go university.

I am seeking a nomination with Vision Vancouver for the Park Board.



Parks and a Park Board for everyone

I would like to thank everyone for their kind support and encouragement. Based on you feedback I have decided to run for the Vancouver Park Board as a Vision Vancouver candidate.

Nomination vote June 22- Save the Date

I want to be elected to the Vancouver Park Board to ensure that the priorities of local government are addressing the crucial issues of sustainability and enhancing livability for Vancouver residents and business in order to make our city better for everyone.

I need your help!

Join Vision Vancouver and become a member this will allow you to  vote in the upcoming nomination meeting that will be held in June. Join online  here

Like my Facebook page to show support for my campaign: My Facebook Page

Email me if you want to donate or volunteer with my campaign at

Donate to Vision Vancouver to ensure that Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Vision Vancouver team are able to run a successful campaign: Vision Campaign Fund

Why I am running

The Park Board oversees critical elements from its community centre, parks and green spaces, which are central to developing a happier and healthier city. My experiences as volunteer activist have provided multiple opportunities to participate in the construction of community gardens, community art projects, community-based celebrations and advocating for active transportation infrastructure.

I am passionate about civic engagement and public discourse. I enjoy the process of envisioning new public space. I know from personal experience with raising my children the importance of community centres and the services that they offer. As a past Director of a community centre I appreciate the importance of shared responsibility and respect between the Park Board and Community Centre Associations.

I want to be an elected Vancouver Park Board Commissioner to ensure that the priorities of local government are addressing the crucial issues of sustainability and liveability for residents and business in order to make our city better for everyone.

Me and Ford


Me in 1983 at the Ford Motor Co. in Oakville Ontario. A member in good standing of CAW 707. This is on the #1 trim line where the cars just come over from the body shop after all the robots weld the body of the car.

One of my dad’s best friends Curly Kennedy took this photo. He was lifer a Ford starting when the plant opened and retired after 30 years.

My dad got that job at Ford just before I was born. Our family really needed that job. I asked my dad why he stayed so long at Ford and he said ” he was tired of walking around in white shirts with no money in his pockets and I needed the job.”

My father was a smart man he went to grade 13. He sold cars, had a small garage and sold insurance door to door for a while. He was a life long learner. He was interested in electronics and become HAM radio operator. This was one of his great passions in life. After working the night shift he would talk to people all over the world in Morse Code in the corner of our unfinished basement, his “radio shack”.

As a young  man he work on the steam engines in Hamilton Bay as his other 3 brothers did. One uncle was a conductor and other two worked as auto workers. My uncle Frank worked at Studebaker in Hamilton, the plant is still there and empty. My uncle Bob started at the Ford Oakville plant when if first opened and fought in the first strike to get the union into the plant. It was a long and hard strike and they burned every piece of wood within miles to stay warm.

My father worked at the Ford plant for more than 30 years and was a proud member of 707 CAW now Unifor Local 707.  That was a great summer. I made killer money, got to ride with my Dad from Hamilton to Oakville and got to know him a little better as a person.

Our family depended on that good paying job. My father was the sole money earner in our family. My mom took care me and my two sibling and  was very active in our community.

Urban forest strategy at council

The Urban Forest Strategy report for council this week is possibly one the best looking reports the City of Vancouver has ever produce. The report is filled with interesting information on the city’s urban forest including some great maps that compare neighbourhoods tree cover.

City of Vancouver Urban Forest Strategy

62% of the urban forest is on private land. The tree canopy in Vancouver has been shrinking over the past decade. The city through its by-laws limits home owners to only cut one tree per year. In an effort to protect and expand the urban forest there is a proposal at council this week that will limit home owners from cutting down any health trees. To cut a tree down residents would need an arborist report and a permit from the city.

The importance of a healthy and expanding urban forest cannot be over stated. The simplest and most compelling reason is trees sequester C02s and produce oxygen. There a whole range of other benefits that trees give to the city from creating good habitat for birds to helping storm water management.

If you are passionate about trees and the urban forest please write Mayor and Council and let them know you support changes in the by-laws to protect them. You can also sign up and speak to council on Wednesday morning April 17  and let them know what you think.

The contact information for the Clerk is Nicole Ludwig, Meeting Coordinator, at 604.873.7191 or e mail or Laura Kazakoff, Meeting Coordinator at 604.871.6353, email:

Why an urban forest?


The City of Vancouver is setting ambitious targets in the Greenest City Action Plan to reduce the causes of climate change. From establishing new building codes that require more efficient use of energy in building to more and better infrastructure to encourage more active forms of transportation. There are many measures that local government can take to reduce Green House Gases (GHG). You can read the whole plan here

With regards to trees the city is planning on planting 150,000 more trees by 2020. This possibly could be the most simple thing that the city could do, but have the most impact in terms mitigating the affects of climate change. Simply, trees sequester C02 and produce oxygen.

The VPB has developed and “urban forest strategy”
From the Vancouver Parks Website:

To date, the objectives of the new strategy are to:

• Further develop our plan to plant 150,000 trees by 2020 and increase Vancouver’s tree canopy cover
• Ensure new trees are planted strategically across the city
• Update management plans, policies, and practices to address emerging dimensions such as climate change
• Address the whole urban forest life cycle: planting, maintenance, protection, removal, re-use
• Create an integrated urban forest inventory system
• Develop strategies for ongoing public engagement and connections to stewardship programs
Tree Canada

Tree Canada has embarked on a campaign to raise enough funds to plant 10, 000 trees by earth day on April 22, 2014.

From Tree Canada’s website: Here’s what 10,000 trees can do:

• Sequester about 5,775 tonnes of CO2, or
• Offset the carbon produced by about 1,700 mid-size cars in a year – or more than 25 million kilometres of road travel, or
• Remove the equivalent carbon of 1,925 round-trip flights between Vancouver, B.C. and Melbourne, Australia

The city of Vancouver has partner with a NGO to help enough residents to plant more trees on private land. Tree Keeps are offering trees for $10 and also providing training on how to plant a tree. There have a very informative website with a lot cool facts about trees and one can view it here

A huge area where the city could make gains on reducing GHG is where road space and reallocated for people away from cars and also increase tree planting in these areas. The West End is full of little pocket that were once road space for cars that now have trees planted in them. Also I am sure a systematic study of parks and green space in Vancouver would open up many more areas to take up asphalt use by roads and parking that could provide areas for more tree planting and habitat restoration.

In fact in Stanley Park Ecolocal Plan, Pipeline Road in Stanley Park has be identified as a redundant road that is not necessary for transportation needs in the park and should be taken up and the habitat restored. You can read more of the plan here

Roads and parking spots are a from of “induced driving”, which means that if you build them cars will populated them. If you don’t build roads change them traffic will disappear. Any opportunity where the city can reduce car traffic and plant trees is going to have a huge impact on the livability of the city and also reduce GHG and mitigate the affects of climate change.

Vancouver Park Board Open House: John Hendry Park (Trout Lake), all day April 15

2VPB_logoWRFrom the Vancouver Park Board

The public is invited to attend an open house to review and comment on a draft master plan for John Hendry Park.  The plan was developed in consultation with community stakeholders and through input received at three open houses and online over the past seven months.

Time:     Tuesday, April 15, 5-8pm – drop in anytime
Place:    Trout Lake Community Centre – Grandview Room, 3360 Victoria Drive

To learn more about this project, visit:herehere. For more information, contact Debra Barnes ( or 604.718.5852).

Please share this invitation. Help us build awareness about the open house by sharing this invitation with people in your community, including colleagues, neighbours, friends and family.

VPB open house on mid-size skate park in Mount Pleasant, April 3, 1 Kingsway


Want your park to be safe? Build a skateboard park. Every skateboarder in a park is connected to a family that is invested in keeping that park safe. Part of great parks is the activities that are possible in these parks. The design acts as a program for the space that invites folks to participate in different activities. Having exciting features to challenge skateboarders is a important project of the Vancouver Park Board but finding the right location for them can be a challenge.

The Vancouver Park Board wants your help in finding a new home for a skateboarder park.

From VBP:

The Vancouver Park Board has identified the need for a mid-size skateboard facility in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

The public is invited to attend an open house to consider which of the two proposed parks is the most suitable location for the new facility – Jonathan Rogers Park (Manitoba Street and West 7th Avenue) or Robson Park (Kingsway and St. George Street).

Time:     Thursday, April 3, 4-8pm – drop in anytime
Place     Mount Pleasant Community Centre lobby – 1 Kingsway near Main Street

Open house materials and questionnaire will be available online April 4-17  here.

For more information, contact Debra Barnes at 604.718.5852.

Please share this invitation

Help us build awareness about the open house by sharing this invitation with people in your community, including colleagues, neighbours, friends and family.

Being car free supports the local economy

carfree“According to AAA, Americans spend on average $8,485 each year on their cars. Seems like a lot of money, doesn’t it? And most of that money leaves your local economy. What if you were able to get rid of a car and spend-or invest-that money in your community? what if 12,000 people decided to make the same decision? That’s exactly what happened in Washington, D.C. From 2005 to 2009. The District’s population increased by 15,862 people while car registration went down by close to 15,000 vehicles. Living in a walkable city has value beyond personal convenience-it also allows more of your money to stay closer to home while reducing your carbon footprint. With better information, can we make our cities more intelligent? We can. What makes a city intelligent? You do. “