Across British Columbia, including Vancouver, parks and greenspace in urban centres are facing pressure to accommodate a variety of uses amid growing populations and smaller private living quarters. It is well documented that accessible parks and green spaces can improve social, emotional and physical well-being for residents; however, green space is often unequally distributed and its benefits inequitably received. Vancouver’s new Parks and Recreation Services Master Plan—called VanPlay—goes beyond delivering high-quality park spaces to the most populated or vocal areas of the city. VanPlay prioritizes inclusion for residents who traditionally face the greatest barriers to accessing the health benefits natural environments provide.
Wildfires across British Columbia bring a heightened sense of fear in communities. For Esk’etemc, a looming fear of wildfires in the Cariboo Regional District has been replaced with a renewed confidence in community ability to manage wildfire risk and a certainty that its decision-making is transparent and reflective of the community. Efforts towards—and inter-generational investments in—individual and community health have led to a reclaiming of their role as caretakers of Esk’etemculucw—“the land of the Esk’etemc—allowing the people to retake authority, manage natural resources and steward the land.