Friday, July 11, 2008


July 7, 2008

News release

"Queen of the Parks":
Jamie Lee Hamilton declares for Vancouver Park Board

Jamie Lee Hamilton, long-time Downtown Eastside community advocate, is declaring she will seek an NPA nomination for Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. The civic election is this November.

In 1997, Hamilton was named Community Hero by XtraWest newspaper. She also writes the popular blog Oldtown News and currently is conducting research for UBC about the security of women in the West End from 1970-1984.

Park board has been an interest of Ms Hamilton for quite some time, as it involves parks and public spaces, arts programming, recreation, cultural activities, seniors and youth issues, and important emerging social issues.

Her community and civic involvement includes being a steering member for the Downtown Eastside Arts in Parks Committee and programme co-ordinator for A-STEP, an Aboriginal youth arts program funded by the McCreary Centre Society.

Ms Hamilton is a director of PRIDE, a gay, lesbian and transgender cultural festival, where her work includes the archive and fund-raising committees. She played an instrumental role and led the successful fight against trademarking PRIDE. That led to PRIDE remaining in community hands.

She also sits on the board and finance committee of the Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education (PACE) society, a group founded in 1991.

Hamilton states, "A number of issues are on my radar and involve many exciting, challenging and concerning issues for Vancouver citizens. That is why I am seeking a seat on the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation".

"With the city densifying, I believe that our public spaces, parks and community centres will become even more important to our well-being and happiness. It is crucial to ensure that appropriate resources are evenly distributed to every neighborhood for the enjoyment of our citizens," asserts Jamie Lee Hamilton.

With the city embarking on its Civil City campaign, she wants to ensure that we don't attempt to sweep away our problems or adopt a mean-spirited approach in resolving our concerns.

A longstanding issue which she thinka the Park Board needs to address is funding for an accessible and multi-faceted Centre for the GLBT community. That must become a priority for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

Rampant homelessness and drug use have become major concerns in this city. We see rising homelessness in Stanley Park and other parks and we must immediately address these matters. Moreover, there is a significant number of homeless youth, including at-risk youth, without adequate supports. She wants to ensure that all governing bodies are working responsibly and co-operatively in a less partisan manner to find smart compassionate solutions which address these hardships, inequities and challenges facing far too many younger citizens.

Another area on which she plans to focus her energy and creativity is lobbying for a public space in her neighbourhood, the Downtown Eastside, to be named after the late Councillor Harry Rankin, who worked in this community his entire life.

Her idea so far is to name the public space at the former Woodward's site "Harry Rankin Square".

Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is the only elected park board in Canada. Jamie Lee Hamilton thinks it is vitally important for the board to have more control of its budget. That change will ensure greater accountability to the voters and more effectiveness.

Citing concern for many at-risk children and youth, Hamilton said, "I'll approach needs such as teeter-totters and swings without making them partisan issues. Likewise, I think all can see the need for funding for
a long-awaited Aboriginal youth centre, especially for those from less privileged backgrounds."

Following in the footsteps of her late mother, Alice Hamilton, a well-respected leader for Aboriginal people in Canada and a co-founder in the early 1950s of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, Jamie Lee Hamilton, born and raised in Vancouver, pledges to tirelessly work to ensure fairness and justice for all of our citizens.