1 min

‘Porthole’ for gay tourism

Duncan Wilson envisions world-class gay destination

Credit: NPA

It all started on a volleyball court-sort of. Duncan Wilson says his interest in city politics got piqued when he tried to play in a gay volleyball league but got frustrated by the constant shortage of gym space. That was nine years ago. He’s been on Vancouver’s parks board ever since.

Of course, Wilson has also been a card-carrying member of the federal Liberal Party for as long as he can remember, and an active member at that.

Now, he’s looking to trade his parks board commissioner title for a new hat of a somewhat different shape. Wilson is running for a new seat on city council with his old party, the Non-Partisan Association (NPA).

If elected, Wilson says his first priority will be implementing the city’s four-pillar drug plan, starting with safe injection sites. (The other three pillars are treatment, education and enforcement.) “We really have to get on with implementing the drug strategy in the Downtown Eastside,” he says. “We can’t afford to wait.”

His position differs from NPA mayoralty candidate Jennifer Clarke who wants to wait for the federal govermment’s approval before opening any drug sites.

Wilson is also big on cutting the red tape that singles out gay bars and sex shops.

“There should be a real diversity of offerings” he says.

Wilson says he’ll also push council to do more to attract gay and lesbian tourists to Vancouver, starting with supporting the Pride Parade. Council needs to openly support the gay community and refer to it by name, Wilson says.

“I see Vancouver as the porthole for gay and lesbian travel into the rest of the province,” he adds, his sights set on selling eco-adventures to gays and lesbians around the world.