08 September 2014

Green Party of Vancouver members affirm candidates for Park Board and School Board


At a special general meeting this morning, Green Party of Vancouver members voted to officially endorse as candidates for Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and Vancouver School Board the nominees approved by the party’s Candidate Screening Committee in August. Stuart Mackinnon and Michael Wiebe are the Green candidates for Park Board;  Mischa Oak and Janet Fraser are running under the Green Party banner for School Board.

The four Park Board and School Board candidates join the Green Party of Vancouver Council candidates endorsed by its members in May: current Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr and running mates Pete Fry and Cleta Brown.

"I’m thrilled to have our whole team in place – and what a fabulous team”, says Green Party of Vancouver lead Adriane Carr. “By electing three Greens to Council, two Greens to Park Board and two Greens to School Board, Vancouverites will get not only incredibly hard-working representatives who will put public interest first, but also strong teams that will bring sorely needed balance and a collaborative approach to each governing body.”

Green Party of Vancouver Chair Jacquie Miller says that it is the party’s goal to elect all seven of its candidates on November 15th – an objective that the most recent polling suggests is within reach. It shows the Green Party of Vancouver running in a dead heat with Vision Vancouver and the NPA.

More about the latest additions to the Green Party of Vancouver 2014 campaign team:

 Stuart Mackinnon (Park Board):
                Green Party of Vancouver Park Board Commissioner: 2008-11
                Vice President, VanDusen Botanical Garden Association
                Teacher, 24 years; with Vancouver School District since 2001
When he served as Green Park Board Commissioner from 2008-2011, Mackinnon earned a reputation as the most knowledgeable, well-prepared Park Commissioner – he attended Park Board meetings and paid close attention to Park Board issues for years before being elected. Mackinnon has been a strong, consistent advocate for maintaining Vancouver’s parks and green spaces in pristine condition. Mackinnon will campaign for the same this fall.

"I want to return Vancouver to the beautiful city with well-maintained parks and gardens it once was. A city where everyone can play in their own neighbourhood, and where common sense and community values are what drive decision making,” says Mackinnon. "Park maintenance must be a priority. That is what we pay our taxes for."

Regarding last year’s controversy over Vision’s removal of community centre associations’ financial autonomy, Mackinnon says "Community centre associations are the heart of our neighbourhoods. They should be partners not adversaries."

• Michael Wiebe (Park Board):
                Owner, eight ½ restaurant lounge — based on sustainable values
                Vice President, Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association
                Co-founder, Vancouver Lifeguard Association
Wiebe has had a love affair with Vancouver’s parks and recreational facilities since childhood when he mapped out the wheelchair accessibility of Stanley Park’s entire trail system at age 12. He went on to become a lifeguard for Vancouver Park Board at age 16. In 2003, Wiebe co-founded the Vancouver Lifeguard Association; he continues his love for parks, using them for ultimate frisbee, bocce, soccer, and more.

“I’m excited to officially join the amazing group of seven Green candidates,” says Wiebe. “This is the logical step in my advocacy career as it gives me the chance to strengthen my voice – one that is focussed on bringing my business background to the strategic decision making that’s now needed at the Vancouver Park Board. Our city is in a state of growth, which leads to great opportunities to work together to build a healthier place to live.”

Learn more about Michael Wiebe: becascadian.com

• Mischa Oak (School Board)
                Teacher-on-call, Vancouver School District
                Vancouver Centre NDP Electoral District Association President, 2012-13
                Vancouver Pride Society: former Board Member & Volunteer Coordinator
Oak is strongly motivated by his own experiences in Vancouver schools both as a teacher-on-call who has worked in almost every school in the city, and as a student growing up in Vancouver schools. Prior to embarking on a career in education, Oak obtained a degree in Commerce from Queen’s University. He has been active in a wide range of community and political organisations.

Oak is running to be a strong advocate for Vancouver’s public schools and its students. “We live in one of the most liveable cities in the world, but our schools don't reflect that, they are getting worse", says Oak who has been a Vancouver teacher for 6 years and has taught in all 18 Vancouver high schools and 65 of our 75 elementary schools.

"I will protect programs that support our most vulnerable students and work to create programs that give kids skills for the future.  For a vibrant Vancouver tomorrow, we need vibrant schools today."
Learn more about Mischa Oak: www.voteoak.com

• Janet Fraser (School Board)
                PAC Chair / Co-Chair for 10 years
                Co-founder: Marpole Matters, a neighbourhood organization
                PhD chemist: 10 years’ experience in Vancouver’s biotech industry
 As an active parent of three school-aged children and engaged resident of her Marpole community, Fraser knows the issues facing Vancouver’s schools inside and out. As co-founder of the neighbourhood organisation Marpole Matters, she has a reputation for thoroughly informing herself on community issues and educating her neighbours about matters affecting them.

 “I have three children in Vancouver's public schools, and have spent 10 years in PAC leadership.  I listen to parents and will use their experiences to improve schools for all of Vancouver's children,” says Fraser. “Schools are the hearts of communities.  I will work to ensure students, staff, parents, and the local community work together so that every child can achieve success.”

Learn more about Janet Fraser: www.vangreens.ca/schoolnominees
Motion calling for fully funded schools and binding arbitration
Additionally at the same meeting, Green Party of Vancouver School Board candidates Mischa Oak and Janet Fraser introduced a motion for the Green Party of Vancouver to declare its support for fully funded schools, and calling on the provincial government to agree to binding arbitration in its current dispute with the BC Teachers' Federation. The motion received unanimous support from Green Party of Vancouver members.

Its full slate of candidates now in place, the Green Party of Vancouver will officially ring in its 2014 civic election campaign with a fundraising event on September 28 at Performance Works Theatre.
Full platforms for Council, Park Board and School Board will be unveiled throughout the month of September.
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02 September 2014

Stuart Mackinnon for Parks Board Fundraiser Dinner & Campaign Launch

Enjoy a fantastic meal and help me launch my campaign for Park Board!

Dine at Graze Restaurant on September 9th, and Graze will donate 20% of all dinner sales to my campaign!

All you have to do is make a reservation referencing Stuart's campaign and enjoy a fabulous meal! To make your reservation please call: 604-620-8822


 Graze - 3980 Fraser st. Vancouver, BC

For more information about Graze visit their website.

GRAZE food & drink

DELICIOUS, CREATIVE, ORGANIC, SUSTAINABLE & COMPASSIONATE

Our concept from the very start was to provide people of all eating preferences something that they can really fall in love with.  Whether you're a strict vegetarian who is starving for choice, a flexitarian who enjoys trying everything, or an omnivore who simply wants a familiar & satiating meal, Graze was created for you.  Chef Karen McAthy's dishes are culinarily creative, nutritionally balanced and simply delicious!  And with the widest range of gluten free options in the city, our menu is a refreshing oasis for people with restricted diets.

Graze's all plant-based menu (including all of our wines, beers & spirits) incorporates as many locally & organically produced ingredients as possible.  Building on this foundation, we also grow our own herbs & vegetables, collect rainwater for our garden, compost our kitchen waste, reduce/reuse/recycle everything we can, support ethical suppliers, reduce our power consumption, solar heat our hot water, are very particular about our paper and cleaning products and are always looking for ways to do even more.

Please join us for a relaxing meal in our elegant dining room and cocktail lounge, where you'll enjoy comfortable seating, intimate lighting, interesting art covered walls and a professional staff that is truly happy to serve you.

18 August 2014

What kind of a City do you want? Part 2

The City of Vancouver has entered its second phase of consultation on the 2015-2018 Capital Plan. Here is a blog posting I wrote earlier this year. The link at the end is for the new city website.

In the 9 May 2014 edition of the Vancouver Sun in a section called this day in history, they ran an article entitled "The failed industrial plans for Spanish Banks", describing the plans of the former Municipality of Point Grey (1908-29) to industrialize the area we know today as Spanish Banks beach. The plans included heavy industry, docks and even an airport. Point Grey Road would have continued through Jericho Beach and have become a major thoroughfare.

All a bit of nostalgic fluff? Not at all. This was a town doing what towns do: planning. If not for the amalgamation of Point Grey into Vancouver, the beloved beaches of the west-side might not have existed today. This is why planning is so important. So important that it should not be left solely up to the politicians to make these decisions. It is the residents, the citizens, the taxpayers who must make these important decisions.

               +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

We have an opportunity to comment on Vancouver's next Capital Planning right now. The Capital Plan is our financial plan to invest in the City's systems. Make your opinions known. Make your voice heard. Get involved. Share your views of the City's Capital Plan.

The City will allow you to provide feedback on the draft capital plan in various ways:
In addition, in August, an independent professional research firm based in BC will recruit by phone a representative sample of Vancouver residents and business owners to take an online survey in English and Chinese.

For more in information go here.

12 August 2014

Stuart Mackinnon hopes for another term on Vancouver Park Board

 Andrew Fleming / Vancouver Courier
August 12, 2014 01:46 PM

 Stuart Mackinnon.
 Stuart Mackinnon. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Former Green Party park board commissioner Stuart Mackinnon wants to get his old job back. Mackinnon, who lost his seat in 2011 after serving one term, is one of only three Green Party candidates ever elected to office in Vancouver.

He is joined on the campaign trail by political newcomers Michael Wiebe in running for park board, as well as Janet Fraser and Mischa Oak for school board.

Mackinnon said he is disappointed with how the seven-member park board has performed while under the control of a Vision Vancouver majority.

“I really think that [it’s] the lack of park maintenance, the lack of respect shown to community centre associations and the lack of attention to what the mandate of the park board is,” he told the Courier. “I’m hoping these are going to be the real issues during this campaign.”

Mackinnon, a special education teacher at Killarney secondary school and vice-president of the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association, was known for his outspoken opposition to keeping cetaceans in captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium while in office. He said the recent decision to ban them from breeding was made by commissioners who aren’t seeking re-election as a way to avoid addressing the emotional issue head on.

“I think it is a deferral of any real decision,” said Mackinnon. “What I called for when I was on park board before was a plebiscite to let the people of Vancouver decide what happens on their park land. The aquarium is in a park so it falls under the jurisdiction of the park board and I think the people of Vancouver have a right to say what happens. [Vision] have a very difficult time making those kinds of decisions and so what they’ve done is deferred the real decision-making to another board.”

He acknowledged that, even if both Green candidates are elected, holding a referendum will be a long shot but pointed out that COPE endorses the idea as well.

Mackinnon was the only incumbent park board commissioner not to be re-elected three years ago, coming in twelfth out of 21 candidates. He also ran unsuccessfully last year for the provincial Green Party in the Vancouver-Fraserview riding, coming in a distant third to Liberal candidate Suzanne Anton and NDP runner-up Gabriel Yiu.

Wiebe is the owner of Eight ½ restaurant lounge in Mount Pleasant, which specializes in sustainable food, and is a former lifeguard for the park board.

Fraser has a PhD in chemistry and is a co-founder of neighbourhood organization Marpole Matters, who has also spent the past 10 years volunteering for a parent advisory council. Oak, a substitute teacher who claims to have worked in almost every school in the city, is a former NDP electoral district association president for Vancouver Centre and a board member for the Vancouver Pride Society.

The four candidates still need to receive official party endorsements at a Sept. 7 nomination meeting. The party’s three candidates for city council are Cleta Brown, Pete Fry and incumbent party leader Adriane Carr.

The election is Nov. 15.

afleming@vancourier.com
twitter.com/flematic

© Vancouver Courier

07 August 2014

Green Party of Vancouver announces Park Board and School Board nominees

With 100 days to go to the civic election, Green Party of Vancouver Chair Jacquie Miller is pleased to announce the Party's four nominees for Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and Vancouver School Board: Stuart Mackinnon and Michael Wiebe for Park Board; and Mischa Oak and Janet Fraser for School Board.

Miller says the Party’s Candidate Screening Committee has examined each of the applicants and is impressed that they will make excellent candidates and be highly effective in their elected offices. They join a strong Green Party Vancouver City Council team: Adriane Carr, Cleta Brown and Pete Fry. The Candidate Screening Committee will recommend that the Green Party of Vancouver’s members give their official endorsement to these nominees at a September 7 nomination meeting.

Seeking the Green Party of Vancouver members’ nomination for Vancouver Park Board are:

campaign_2014_colour.jpg Stuart Mackinnon:
       Green Party of Vancouver Park Board Commissioner: 2008-11
       2nd Vice President, VanDusen Botanical Garden Association
       Teacher, 24 years; with Vancouver School District since 2001

Mackinnon is well known for advocating for an end to cetacean captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium during his term on Park Board and in recent debates. Having attended Park Board meetings for years even before being elected to the Board, Mackinnon earned a reputation as the most knowledgeable, well-prepared Park Commissioner while in office. He has been a strong, consistent advocate for maintaining Vancouver’s parks and green spaces in pristine condition.

Mackinnon says, “I'm running for Park Board with the Green Party because I want to return Vancouver to the beautiful city with parks and gardens it once was. A city where everyone can play in their own neighbourhood, and where common sense and community values are what drives decision-making.”
            Learn more about Stuart Mackinnon: www.betterparks.org (blog) 
                                                                      and www.betterparks.ca (website)


Mike.jpg• Michael Wiebe
       Owner, eight ½ restaurant lounge — based on sustainable values
       Vice President, Mt Pleasant Business Improvement Association
        Co-founder, Vancouver Lifeguard Association

Wiebe has had a love affair with Vancouver’s parks and recreational facilities since childhood when he mapped out the wheelchair accessibility of Stanley Park’s entire trail system at age 12. He went on to become a lifeguard for Vancouver Park Board at age 16. In 2003, Wiebe co-founded the Vancouver Lifeguard Association; he continues his love for parks, using them for ultimate frisbee, bocce, soccer, and more.

“I’m running for Parks Board Commissioner because the voices of our city have been lost,” says Wiebe. “I noticed this firsthand on the Mount Pleasant Implementation Committee. We need to take advantage of the opportunities this city has during a time of growth to work together to maximize our resources and build more natural parks and a healthier food system; foster grassroots community initiatives; and create a sustainable waste management program. ”
              Learn more about Michael Wiebe: becascadian.com

Seeking the Green Party of Vancouver members’ nomination for Vancouver School Board are:

Mischa_Oak-2449.jpg• Mischa Oak
   Teacher-on-call, Vancouver School District
   Vancouver Centre NDP Electoral District Association President, 2012-13
     Vancouver Pride Society: former Board Member & Volunteer Coordinator
                 
Oak is strongly motivated by his own experiences in Vancouver schools both as a teacher-on-call who has worked in almost every school in the city, and as a student growing up in Vancouver schools. Prior to embarking on a career in education, Oak obtained a degree in Commerce from Queen’s University. He has been active in a wide range of community and political organisations.

“I’ve been a Vancouver teacher since 2008 and have experienced firsthand the challenges our schools face,” says Oak. “As your school trustee I will work to get the Vancouver School Board to stand up to BC’s provincial government and demand fair funding for public education. Too many kids and families face discrimination and fear at school, so I have a plan to move our schools to be more LGBTQ + Diversity Proud.”
            Learn more about Mischa Oak: www.voteoak.com

JanetFraser_C_2014_07.JPG• Janet Fraser
      PAC Chair / Co-Chair for 10 years
      Co-founder: Marpole Matters, a neighbourhood organisation
      PhD chemist: 10 years’ experience in Vancouver’s biotech industry

As an active parent of school-aged children and engaged resident of her Marpole community, Fraser knows the issues facing Vancouver’s schools inside and out. As co-founder of the neighbourhood organisation Marpole Matters, she has a reputation for thoroughly informing herself on community issues and educating her neighbours about matters affecting them.

“I’m seeking the Green Party nomination to run as a school board trustee to make sure all of Vancouver’s children have the opportunity to thrive at school and become engaged and successful citizens,” Fraser says. “The core value I’ll bring to my role as School Trustee is sustainability — sustainability of the school community, the student family, and school infrastructure and processes.”

           Learn more about Janet Fraser: www.vangreens.ca/schoolnominees

Green Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr urges Vancouverites to elect the entire Green Team this November: “These are excellent candidates with extensive community experience who will bring a much-needed balance to our City Council, Park Board and School Board. They’ve all got enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and dedication to creating a better Vancouver. I couldn’t be happier with our entire team.”
* * *
Green Party of Vancouver’s official nomination meeting for Park and School Board candidates: September 7, 11 a.m.; Alliance for Arts and Culture Boardroom, 938 Howe St., Vancouver. Click here for more info or to RSVP.

01 August 2014

Former park commissioners: Cetacean captivity at Vancouver Aquarium has outlived its usefulness

 This letter was sent to the Vancouver Park Board Commissioners and published in the Straight.com on-line newspaper.
July 31, 2014.

Commissioners:

As former Park Board Commissioners, we would like to give our support to ending the captivity and display of marine mammals, particularly cetaceans, in Vancouver Parks at the Vancouver Aquarium.
The display of whales and dolphins is a practice that has outlived its usefulness both for public education and for research. The most desperately needed research in these areas is to work on limiting the impact that humans have on the marine environment, research that cannot be done in captivity.

We feel that the aquarium tanks, regardless of current and future expansions, are inadequate for the humane support of dolphins, belugas or any other type of large marine mammal.

The “showing” of these animals in an artificial environment does not serve current educational practices. The environmental message that citizens, young and old, in Vancouver need to receive is that we need to care for the natural ocean habitat and its inhabitants. Marine mammals sequestered in tanks and performing in shows reinforce a 20th century idea that humans should have dominion over these animals. It is antiquated and harmful to the animals.

The scientific consensus of researchers outside of the Vancouver Aquarium is that these animals are much better off in their natural environment than in the miniscule tanks.

We urge the board to use its powers as landlord to the Vancouver Aquarium and as the elected voice of the people of Vancouver on these matters to phase out the keeping of marine mammals in captivity.

Sincerely:
Stuart Mackinnon,
Parks Commissioner ’08-’11

Donna Morgan
Parks Commissioner ’93-’96

Dermot Foley
Parks Commissioner ’90-’93

Anita Romaniuk
Former Parks Board Chair and Commissioner ’02-’05

Tim Louis
Parks Commissioner '90-'96

28 July 2014

Come celebrate diversity and equality at the 36th Annual Pride Parade





This coming Sunday will mark the 36th annual Pride Parade in Vancouver (August 3 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm). Vancouver Pride describes the event as "attracting crowds of more than 650,000, the Pride Parade is renowned on the international stage as one of the largest and most successful LGBTQ events in the world."

This is one of the premier events of summer in Vancouver and has become a huge family event. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ community or not, there is lots to do and see at Pride Vancouver. I have been honoured with a place in the parade in 4 different years, marching with the Green Party, the Park Board, the Vancouver Public Library and the Vancouver School Board.

Although the event celebrates LGBTQ pride, every citizen of Vancouver can 'take pride' in the tremendous leaps we as a society have made in respecting diversity and difference. We live in not only a multicultural society, but one that celebrates the various diverse communities within our own larger community. We celebrate the differences, knowing that really we are all the same. We are Vancouverites, British Columbians, Canadians, but mostly we are people who share this beautiful planet that we have inherited from our parents and bequeath to our children.

The Pride movement celebrates both our differences and our sameness, which is why I think it has become such an important event in our city. I'll be at Pride to celebrate. I hope you will be too. It is a fun way to declare your support for diversity and equality.

20 July 2014

July? Must be the silly season in Vancouver politics

Being an election year, this summer is a lot more political than usual. In non-election years the local press often has difficulty finding stories of interest on the civic scene. Not this year. Not a day goes by that there isn't some sort of story to shake things up.

What seems lost in most of these stories is what I think is most important to voters: Vancouver. Not infidelity, not youthful exuberance, not the internal machinations of giant political machines. Vancouver. The city and its problems. Its future. Its plans.

I hope we can all get back to what is important soon. For me and for this blog that would be parks and recreation. I hope that in this year's election we can have a real debate about what the Park Board actually does. The Park Board website describes it this way:

"exclusive possession, jurisdiction, and control over more than 230 public parks in Vancouver and a large public recreation system of community centres, pools, rinks, fitness centres, golf courses, street trees, marinas, playing fields, and more" 

I hope in this election this is what we will discuss.

We need to talk about the state of our parks and playing fields. We need to discuss governance and volunteerism at our Community Centres. We need to debate fees and access. We need to talk about future growth and current maintenance. We need the electorate to understand the importance of these public assets. We need candidates that are concerned about the things the Park Board actually does.

So here's a challenge: From now until the election on November 15th, let's talk about Parks and Recreation.