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Young gay man running for Vancouver parks board

The board needs diversity, Trevor Loke says

At 22, hockey player and Vision Vancouver candidate Trevor Loke wants to bring a youth voice to the parks board table. Credit: trevorloke.ca

Seeking his first elected position in Vancouver, gay parks board candidate Trevor Loke says he’s running on a platform of protecting public spaces, engaging citizens and helping Vancouver to be the greenest city in the world by 2020.

As an athlete, Loke, who is running on the Vision Vancouver slate, says he’s committed to making arenas, playing fields and other public spaces accessible to everyone.

The 22-year-old says the parks board needs a young person’s voice at the table to represent the city’s youth, as well as gay representation. “I’m young. I’m queer. I’m a hockey player,” he says. “It’s good to have diversity at the parks board.”

Younger people interact differently because of technological change, Loke says. He thinks it’s imperative that the parks board reach out to youth using methods they understand — methods that he understands and will advocate the use of as programs are developed.

Regardless of their age, all park users need to be safe, he stresses.

The straight community may not understand the historical significance of park sex to the gay community but it’s still a fact, he says. While he’s not a supporter of “open sex in parks” he believes that everyone using the parks should be safe, and he would like to see parks better lit with more phones for people who may be in distress. He suggests adding more park rangers to deal with safety issues.

Loke also says he wants the parks board to be part of arts funding in the city in the face of cuts by the federal and provincial governments. “We need to be more proactive about finding ways we can include artists in our city,” he says.

Loke agrees with suggestions that the city have an artist in residence, perhaps living in one of the many fieldhouses. He suggests the parks board create an arts subcommittee to involve the arts community more with the parks. “I would like to be an active participant in that.”

Loke has worked at the provincial legislature as a constituency assistant to independent MLA Vicki Huntington (Delta South), ran for the BC Green Party in 2009, and has a background in marketing and fundraising. He co-founded United Against Gang Violence and says he has worked with elected officials throughout Metro Vancouver to help develop community solutions to end violent crime.

Loke doesn’t see his youth as a barrier to being a parks commissioner.

Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert was 24 when he was first elected to the parks board in 2005.

Loke works at the Dr Peter Centre as the foundation’s development and sustainability officer. He lives in the West End with his partner.