08 March 2009

A fine balancing act

After a few months as a Park Board Commissioner, my role as member of the Board is becoming clearer and more focussed. Being a caucus of one, even in a progressive alliance, can sometimes feel a bit lonely, especially when others on the Board haven’t always shared my worldview (Hollow Tree and Jericho Wharf come to mind). However I have to be true to my values and true to the people who helped elect me.

Responsibility is my watchword: financial responsibility; social responsibility; and environmental responsibility. Each of the decisions I make have to make sense from all three perspectives.

The Park Board, like any other level of government, uses public funds and so we must always keep in mind that every decision we make will have some sort of impact on the taxpayers of the city. Every dollar must be of value—especially in these tough economic times.

Each decision has to be socially responsible—it must not adversely affect one group over another nor favour one group over another. This is a very fine balancing act, as decisions made often have unforeseen consequences.

As an elected Green I have a strong responsibility to make sure each decision is environmentally sound and sustainable. This is probably my biggest role and responsibility on the Board, but I am happy to say that the Park Board workers and senior management all share these values. In the months ahead when the long term vision for Stanley Park is discussed this will become very evident.

One of the things I have learned in my brief tenure is how hard the Park Board staff work making our parks and recreation system so wonderful. To the folks who keep the parks clean, to the foresters who look after all the wonderful trees in the city and to all the rest of the fine employees of the Park Board, I say thank you. We can all be very proud of your work and dedication.

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