My Closing Remarks

I somehow completely neglected to include my closing remarks from last Thursday’s Park Board All-Candidates Meeting. Without further ado, here they are:

I’d like to share with you a vision of the future, that with your help, we can achieve.

In my vision, every Community Centre runs a community garden or two, where they teach their neighbours how to grow food in their own yards. Much of this food is given to the foodbank. People sell their own produce through a community-run grower’s co-operative to supermarkets and restaurants throughout the city, sharing proceeds with the board and neighbours alike.

Children attend daycare that is the envy of the country, run in partnership with the School Board and our local colleges and universities. Older kids can learn to skate & ride in Park-Board-run skate & bike parks. Our senior citizens sit and read books with entranced children, in a veritable babel of languages, keeping our cultural diversity strong while integrating our elders firmly into the community.

Every community centre has a space where local artists can display and perform their work. Local musicians play all-ages-shows to raise money for the community centres & parks where they practiced long hours learning their instruments.

Let’s make our parks and community centres not just facilities, but the heart and soul of our communities.

On September 20th, nominate Steven Tannock.

Thank you.

My Opening Remarks

Last night was the Vision Vancouver Park Board All-Candidates Meeting, held at the Fletcher-Challenge Theatre, SFU Downtown. I believe it went well. For posterity, here is the written version of my opening remarks (not a transcript, as this was written beforehand, and I’m certain I didn’t relate this verbatim). My thanks to everyone who attended.

Good Evening Ladies & Gentlemen. My name is Steven Tannock.

I am a business owner and web developer. This may not seem like the most relevant experience for being a Park Board Commissioner, I know, but bear with me a moment here. Fundamentally, Web development is about communication, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I wish to talk to you about this evening.

How many of you here have attended a Park Board consultation meeting?

How many of you here WOULD have attended a consultation meeting, if you had heard about it?

Or still, how many of you here attended a consultation meeting, only to never receive any follow up communication, or any indication that you’d been heard at all?

The Park Board Consultation process is broken. The public has lost faith in the process, and by extension, the board itself. As I sat in on park board meetings this past year, this became starkly apparent as I listened to speakers, regardless of their stance on the issue:

“I didn’t hear about the meeting”
“I live in the neighborhood, where was my notice?”
“There was only one small sign – you call that notice?”
And so on.

As an exercise, try and find the status of any current park board project. Identify which councilors voted for, and which voted against the motion. Tell me the budget, hired vendors and the project timeline. It’s remarkably difficult. To learn about the English Bay Bistro, I needed to open 3 different web sites – and still the best information was found in the Vancouver Sun’s archives, not the Park Board’s own site.

As a stakeholder in every decision it makes affecting our parks & community centres, it is a conflict of interest for board and staff to also control how, when and where the consultation takes place. The Park Board needs an independent, arms-length Consultation office to oversee all three stages of community decision making: Notification, Consultation and perhaps, most importantly, Reporting. Only this will restore trust in the Park Board communication process.

On September 20th, please nominate me, Steven Tannock, so that I can fight to bring back the community in community consultation and decision-making.

Thank you.

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