Vancouver’s park board will be a little bit greener over the next four years.
Vancouver voters elected all three Green Party park board candidates Oct. 20. Incumbent Stuart Mackinnon returns, topping the polls with 73,718 votes, for a third term along with his running mates Dave Demers and Camil Dumont.
The trio of wins gives the party another seat at the table, taking the number of Green Party park board commissioners from two to three. Incumbent commissioner Michael Wiebe decided to make the jump to council, running sucessfuly alongside Adriane Carr and Pete Fry.
“I think what we’re saying and what we’re doing seems to resonate with the people of Vancouver. Certainly at park board it’s a third Green voice around the table, which is terrific,” Mackinnon said, adding, “But Greens purposely in this election did not run a majority slate because we believe there should be lots of voices around the table.”
And while the Non-Partisan Association saw gains at the council table, taking five of 10 council spots, the party lost some ground at the park board level with just two candidates elected. Incumbent John Coupar will return for a third term along with newcomer Tricia Barker. Fellow NPA candidate Ann-Marie Copping was in a close battle for the seventh and final seat with COPE’s John Irwin, but in the end Irwin won by just 250 votes. Incumbent NPA commissioner Casey Crawford was not re-elected finishing in 10th spot.
COPE’s Gwen Giesbrecht rounds out the new board, with the left-of-centre party electing candidates to the board table for the first time since 2008. COPE held a majority on park board for one term following the 2002 election.
“I’m really excited that we have, certainly, a progressive majority on the board with three Greens and two COPE and I know that both John Coupar and Tricia Barker from the NPA are great proponents and lovers of parks and recreation,” Mackinnon said.
The NPA took a majority on park board in 2014, winning four of seven seats. That was reduced to three in December 2016 when Erin Shum split with caucus and sat as an independent for the remainder of her term.
Coupar said that with no one party claiming a clear majority on the board, commissioners will have to work together over the next four years to get anything done.
“I think the last four years are somewhat of an indicator. I think we had quite a collaborative board the last four years,” he said. “It wasn’t a highly political board, we got a lot of things done positively for Vancouver and I think we’ll see a lot of that work continue.”