2022 Richmond Parks Strategy unveiled

2022-RichmondBC-parks-strategyI spoke today (Sept. 24, 2013) at the monthly meeting of Richmond’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Committee. The topic was the 2022 Parks and Open Space Strategy, as presented by Mike Redpath, the Senior Parks Manager. (You’ll find the report here, starting on page 110.)

Naturally I have some reservations (as always), but as a whole the strategy is impressive. Although implementing it will be a challenge, I think the Richmond parks people are sincere in trying. Here are my speaking notes:

Clearly, the 2022 Strategy is promising. I’d just like to highlight three of the strengths.

One strength of the strategy as a whole is the systems thinking. The commitment is to making optimal use of the park system, using a range of park spaces to meet a range of park needs.

Another strength is the wellness approach. Sometimes the city has seemed to me to be equating wellness with physical wellbeing. I’m glad that equal importance has been given to our park system’s role in fostering belonging and nurturing the human spirit. When the report equates wellness with physical, social and spiritual wellbeing, that’s perfect, especially in the choice of “spiritual” ahead of the more common “psychological” (or “mental”). I hope that will be a regular feature of our park system’s messaging.

A third strength is the emphasis on inclusiveness, with equal access. In practice, that would mean always giving priority thinking to the needs of citizens who are less privileged in one way or another. Our parks are an ideal group of places for putting that principle into practice. If it is a commitment, we will know soon, since it will be put into practice immediately and at every opportunity. The good effects will spread naturally to the whole community.

Good luck to the Parks staff in implementing the 2022 Strategy, and thanks for the good work.

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