equity in action

EQUITY IN ACTION: Inclusive, accessible, authentic engagement and representation in the process to develop or implement programs or policies

The North Park Neighbourhood Association would like to see an equity lens applied to decisions made by the City of Victoria. Applying an equity lens simply means using rich data (Stats Can Census, and emerging neighbourhood-level information) to drive decision making. It is a precise and measurable tool for ensuring community investments obtain the broadest impact. An affordability lens means analyzing the costs (development, operating) and benefits to the community over the lifetime of the project.

Equity Presentation to City Council: June 2019

On June 13, 2019, Council took a bold step and agreed to revisit the scope and objectives of the Crystal Pool Replacement Project. And they passed a motion that will embed an “equity and affordability lens” into all future decision making (full motion below). We are grateful for their willingness to join the growing number of progressive cities across North America who are taking bold actions to prevent the creation of ‘have’ and ‘have not’ neighbourhoods and communities.

  1. Watch the June 13 Council meeting (starts at 32:42)
  2. Here are the detailed equity maps and facility research we gathered for our presentation to Council
  3. Here is our analysis of site options, research on the social determinants of health and the inter-connection with recreation, and our affordability analysis
  4. And here is the full equity and affordability motion

Outcome: Adopted by Council. As of July 2020, an Equity Consultant has been hired by the City. They are currently reviewing the scope of the work to be done. There is no budget allocated for an equity framework in the 2021 budget, making 2022 the earliest date at which an equity framework may be implemented.

Neighbourhood Free Skate at Save on Foods Memorial Arena: December, 2019

On Friday, December 13 from 6-9pm the North Park Neighbourhood Association hosted a free public skate at the Save on Foods Memorial Arena. Over 500 community members participated in this totally free, family friendly, inclusive event. We were blown away with the positive response and the attendance at this event, which demonstrates the desire in the North Park neighbourhood for free, recreation based community events. The City of Victoria provided $2000 towards the cost of this event.

Want to hear how it all turned out? See the event report here!

Outcome: This event demonstrated the desire for free, family friendly, recreation based events in the North Park neighbourhood.

Direct Award Base Grant, January 2020

Neighbourhoods without community centres are suffering from a fundamental lack of
investment in social infrastructure (capacity building, community activation, citizen engagement
and empowerment). In January 2020, the Downtown Residents Association and the North Park Neighbourhood Association requested that City Council undergo a pilot that seeks to address this inequity by granting $75,000 for staffing to each of the NPNA and DRA in the 2020/2021 budget. This is the same base staffing (aka operations) amount granted to neighbourhoods with community centres. Currently neighbourhoods without community centres receive only a per-capita grant of $0.75 per resident, which amounts to $2,680 for the North Park neighbourhood for example.

See the request here.

Outcome: Responded to content, and was not recommended to proceed.

Interim Community Centre: February 2020

Without a community centre the North Park neighbourhood does not have some of the same opportunities that those neighbourhoods with community centres have. We are not able to offer low cost, accessible arts, and fitness programming for children, adults, seniors, and families. In February 2020, the NPNA put forward a proposal that would achieve this.

See the request here.

Outcome: Submitted.

Q+A Session: Community Coping Through Conversation: April 9, 2020

In response to questions and concerns from the community about the temporary outdoor shelter proposed for Royal Athletic Park, the NPNA in collaboration with the Quadra Village Community Centre hosted a conversation with Chief of Police Del Manak, Janine Theobald of the Coalition to End Homelessness, and Don Evans. The day before the conversation, RAP was taken off the table. We turned the platform over to the Quadra Village Community Centre to discuss the growing outdoor shelter encampment at Topaz Park.

See here for a summary of the discussion.

Request to Open RAP to the Public: June 2020

Equitable access to green space and outdoor recreation is an important health determinant for community wellbeing. Many residents in North Park live in multi-family buildings with no access to private green space nor to private vehicles for travel to the region’s trails and provincial parks; these factors make access to urban green space even more important. In the 2012 OCP, two of the strategic directions for North Park were to “renew citywide recreational facilities,” and create a new neighbourhood park. The need for more park space is being felt even more acutely right now, as public health recommendations for physical distancing continue through the summer. Victoria’s northern neighbourhoods – North Park, Downtown, Fernwood, and Hillside-Quadra – are considered “green space deficient.” For these reason, we are calling on the City of Victoria to open Royal Athletic Park to the public for day use. We request that this be done without delay, employing the same expediency that has been demonstrated by staff and council with existing COVID-19 response measures.

See the request here.

Outcome: Implemented. City Recreation staff responded to community requests to open RAP and implemented community use hours on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 5-8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays 1-8pm. The Recreation and Arts & Culture departments are working with the NPNA to establish free arts, music, and recreation programming in RAP.

Written Interview with Chief of Police, Del Manak: June 2020

This written interview was prompted by questions from community members about the roles of the reserve constables newly spotted around North Park. However, recent events prompted us to ask some more questions. For example, what is VicPD doing to dismantle racism, train and educate officers, as well as recruit, hire, and retain BIPOC officers. We also asked what calls to “defund the police” could look like in Victoria.

You can read the interview here. 

Request to implement a criteria for outdoor sheltering in parks: June 2020

The North Park Neighbourhood Association (NPNA) is concerned about the lack of green space and a further reduction in green space in Victoria’s core neighbourhoods as unhoused individuals relocate to Central Park for continuous sheltering. The NPNA therefore request that staff provide a report to council with a set of criteria for evaluating outdoor sheltering spaces and an analysis of potential locations using these criteria. These criteria should include:

  • proximity to residential property;
  • proximity to playground structures and sports fields;
  • proximity to outdoor exercise equipment;
  • access to, or availability of hygiene amenities (showers, handwashing, washrooms);
  • availability of increased City staff resources needed for daily regular garbage/paraphernalia pick-up/monitoring;
  • amount of accessible* green space in the neighbourhood (taking into account hectares / 1000 residents);
  • equity based analysis; and
  • ability for sheltering spaces to be adequately physically distanced from other shelters and park users.

See the request here.

Outcome: Submitted to Mayor and Council. Acknowledged receipt by Councillor Dubow.

Public use of Royal Athletic Park

The NPNA would like to once again voice its support for expanding the use of Royal Athletic Park (RAP) to include free community access and the ability to apply for a park permit to host community events. RAP is a valuable public asset that is currently under utilized and we believe that increasing public access is an important step in equitable accessibility to green space and in building the resilience of the neighbourhood.

The staff report below requests $9,985.22. These funds, if awarded, will be used in their entirety to pay for the rental costs associated with providing free, accessible programming at Royal Athletic Park. The programs include the monthly Food & Farmers Market and free programs during July & August in collaboration with Silver Threads and the Mosque. Due to the Recreation Fee Bylaw No.06-056, there is no mechanism in place for community groups to book RAP at low or no cost.  

This year, we are requesting a direct award grant to cover the rental costs of $92/hour. However, in the longer term, we are requesting a re-envisioning of how RAP can better suit the needs of the community based on the reasons outlined below. 

Outcome: Approved, community access at RAP for 2021 approved. 

Community Centre at 926/930 Pandora Ave