31 August 2020

Donnie Rosa to lead Vancouver Park Board as General Manager

Donnie Rosa, Vancouver Park Board General Manager

August 31 2020

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and City of Vancouver will welcome an experienced municipal leader to the role of General Manager, Parks and Recreation, when Donnie Rosa assumes the role on September 28, 2020.

Rosa brings a unique familiarity, strategic insight, and invaluable experience to the General Manager role, after previously spending three years on the senior leadership team at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in the role of Director of Recreation Services.

Rosa left the Vancouver Park Board in 2019 to lead the City of Coquitlam as General Manager of Parks, Recreation, and Culture. Prior to joining the Park Board in 2016, Rosa spent nine years as Director of Recreation, Culture, and Theatres at the City of Brampton and was the Manager of Parks and Recreation at the City of Mississauga from 1999-2007.

25 years experience in parks, recreation, and culture operations

Rosa brings more than 25 years of experience in parks, recreation, and culture operations, coupled with a degree in communications from Northeastern University. Additionally, Rosa has worked in mental health and homeless shelters, and has a breadth of experience working in community development, youth and seniors’ programming, and the delivery of parks, unique gardens, trails, and open spaces to contribute to community resiliency and climate action.

Rosa offers a leadership style that is focused on building strong teams with a foundation in meaningful relationships.

“It’s an honour to be chosen to lead the incredible team at the Park Board,” said Rosa. “I’m passionate about parks, recreation, community, seeking truth in reconciliation, as well as increasing access, equity, and taking action on climate issues. I feel my values align closely with those of the Park Board and City of Vancouver. We have challenging work ahead of us and I know we have the talent and commitment to find solutions, with community engagement as a cornerstone in our approach.”

Past successes with the Park Board

While serving as Director of Recreation Services at the Park Board, Rosa was a key member of the team that successfully negotiated the new community centre joint operating agreement. Rosa is a settler working and living on the unceded, ancestral territories of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Background in sport and volunteerism

Along with extensive municipal experience, Rosa has an impressive background in sport and volunteerism. Rosa played professional ice hockey, was inducted into multiple hockey halls of fame, and coached in the Team Canada program for the International Ice Hockey Federation. Rosa is a committed and active community volunteer, as well as a multi-award winning leader, and has received multiple Leadership Awards from the City of Vancouver. Rosa currently serves as a Director and President-elect of the BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) in addition to being a BC Director on the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA).

Rosa will replace Malcolm Bromley, who retired from the role at the end of May. Shauna Wilton, who had been Deputy General Manager at the Park Board, served as Interim General Manager for three months after Bromley’s retirement. Wilton is departing the Park Board and moving on from the Deputy General Manager role on September 4. Both the Park Board and City are extremely grateful to Wilton for her dedicated service and leadership over the past several years. 

see original post here.

10 August 2020

Select arenas, fitness centres to reopen safely in September

August 10 2020

Vancouverites eager to return to indoor fitness and ice rink activities will find new COVID-19 safety measures in place as select locations are set to reopen in September.
The Vancouver Park Board, in partnership with local community centre associations, will begin by reopening 12 fitness centres in mid-September, with the 12 remaining locations reopening in a phased approach later this fall.

Similarly, Kerrisdale, Sunset, and Trout Lake arenas are scheduled to reopen September 21, with the remaining arenas aiming to reopen the following month.

“Our facilities play an important role in supporting not only the physical health of people in our community, but also their mental well-being, particularly in challenging times such as these,” said Daisy Chin, Director of Recreation for the Vancouver Park Board. “They also provide low-barrier options which meet the needs of a wide range of residents of various ages and abilities.”

Physical distancing and online reservation system

Fitness centres will reopen under new guidelines to promote physical distancing. This includes introducing an online reservation system for visitors, with 20% of spaces being reserved for onsite drop-in. Leisure Access Program patrons will be provided a code to make reservations.

Initially, arenas will only be available for organized play by permit holders. Plans to expand access to the general public are underway and will be offered once the required health and safety precautions are in place.

Fitness centres and arenas were voluntarily closed by the Park Board in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since May, the Park Board has reopened golf courses, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Bloedel Conservatory, tennis and pickleball courts, pitch and putts, skate parks, sports fields, basketball and volleyball courts, disc golf, roller hockey, multi-sport courts, playgrounds, spray parks, outdoor pools, and other priority programs.


Indoor pools update

The Park Board continues to review the feasibility of reopening other facilities and services and will make adjustments to its operations based on the latest information provided by Vancouver Coastal Health, the Provincial Health Officer, and industry partners.

In anticipation of federal and provincial funding support, the Park Board has developed a phased safe-return plan for indoor pools, and aims to provide a timeline in the coming weeks.

“Our teams have worked hard to come up with plans to deliver the services we know Vancouverites value,” said Chin. “But we’re still navigating the realities of this pandemic, including a reduction in expected revenues. It's important that we take time to carefully consider the long-term financial implications before committing to firm dates.”

For more information about the status of services and facilities impacted by COVID-19, visit: vancouver.ca/park-board-restart.

07 August 2020

Homeless Count results highlight imperative need for housing in Vancouver

August 5 2020

The preliminary results from the 2020 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count released today found that 2,095 Vancouver residents are without a home. While this number has dropped by 128 since last year, hundreds of people in the city are still without safe and stable accommodation that meets their basic needs.

The results also indicate that, despite the creation of new housing units, there continues to be a disproportionate number of people who identify as Indigenous who are experiencing homelessness.

More than 33% of those surveyed in Vancouver identifying as Indigenous, despite only 2.2% of Vancouver’s general population identifying as Indigenous. Racial identity data collected for the first time in a regional count reveals that Black people are significantly over represented among racialized groups experiencing homelessness – 6% of respondents identified as Black compared to 1.2% in the Metro Vancouver general population followed by “Asian – South” (3%), and “Latin American” (3%). The final report will include further analysis of this data.

These disparities highlight the continued work needed from all levels of government, including the City, on reconciliation, decolonization, equity, and anti-racism.

The full results will be published and presented to Council in the fall. Read the preliminary report PDF file (436 KB)

About the Homeless Count

Vancouver is facing a housing crisis and people experiencing homelessness continue to be the hardest hit. The Homeless Count – conducted every year in Vancouver since 2010 and in Metro Vancouver every three years since 2002 – provides important information about the number and experiences of people who are homeless in the area being surveyed.

The City uses this data to inform its own policies, as well as funding and supports requests to senior levels of government. We continue to partner with BC Housing to create safe, secure and affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness, including temporary emergency measures, such as homeless shelters and navigation centres, and additional longer term options, such as the expedited creation of more supportive housing.

While the count remains a key tool in tracking homelessness trends, it is important to note some factors that may have impacted the results this year. Firstly, the count took place in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 3 and 4), prior to the Province declaring a State of Emergency on March 18. We know that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on people on low-incomes due to job losses and, despite Provincial and Federal funding supports, the pandemic has created more precarious housing situations for many people.

The count is recognized to be an undercount as some people who are experiencing homelessness do not want to participate in the survey. Others, such as women, youth and those experiencing hidden homelessness, may be less likely to be included in the count due to the nature of the methodology. Moreover, the stigma associated with homelessness also can impact a person’s willingness to participate in the count or to be identified as experiencing homelessness.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

In March 2020, the City of Vancouver convened a public partner, cross-departmental team to address the needs of those living in poverty and precarious housing or homelessness who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

The team’s work included:

Improving hygiene and washroom access
Ensuring access to food
Improving access to income
Improving access to safe and secure places to sleep
Supporting overdose prevention and safe spaces.

This work was made possible by funding from the provincial and federal governments, as well as the support of community partners and regional and provincial organizations including BC Housing and Vancouver Coastal Health. The City is preparing for a potential second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the provision of safe housing and shelter options, as well as additional supports such as food, are key priorities.

Original article here

03 August 2020

Paul George, Co-Founder of the B.C. Green Party and Co-Founder of the Wilderness Committee, Awarded Order of British Columbia


VANCOUVER, B.C. – Paul George, co-founder of  North America’s first Green Party, the Green Party of B.C., and co-founder of the British Columbia-based (Western Canada) Wilderness Committee is being awarded the Order of B.C., the highest recognition that the Province grants to any citizen.

The Order of B.C. is the Province’s highest honour for individuals who have served with great distinction or excelled in their field; inspiring individuals who have left a lasting legacy and whose extraordinary achievements have contributed to a better quality of life in the province.

“This is a great honour that everyone who helped make a reality and worked to build the Green Party should share, for it was always a group effort, not a one-person show,” said George.

"But I would rather have the Provincial Government stop the liquidation of the last one percent of the big-treed ancient forests of B.C. and quit promoting fossil fuel projects and rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because with global warming coming at us at super-pandemic-speed, all of our successful efforts to protect nature will be for naught." 

George was his wife, Adriane Carr’s, campaign manager when she ran for the Vancouver School Board in 1984 as a Green Party candidate, along with several other civic Green candidates. This was the start of the Vancouver Green Party. He has been a key part of the campaign teams in all of Carr’s election campaigns, including the last three successful Green Party of Vancouver campaigns.

More recently, George co-founded the Action-in-Time Society,  focused on action to combat global warming. George has been a consistent opponent of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline and passionately believes that we must act with urgency to curtail Greenhouse Gas emissions and convert our economy to rely on truly sustainable renewable energy.

George is incredibly grateful to those who endorsed him for this award, including David Suzuki and Wade Davis

For more information go to the Government of B.C.’s website:


Paul George: +1 604-740-1321