Three COPE park board candidates, Dr John Irwin, Omar Kassis and Anita Romaniuk, joined more than 100 West End residents and community activists at English Bay’s Alexandra bandstand yesterday to kick-off COPE Park Commissioner Spencer Herbert’s campaign for the NDP nomination in the new riding of Vancouver- West End in the next provincial election.

An SFU geography professor and urban planner, Dr John Irwin was a director of the SE False Creek Working Group that helped develop the sustainable community and foreshore park that is now rising along the south shores of False Creek. Irwin is also a director of SPEC, a Vancouver environmental organization that protects urban green space and promotes community gardens across the city.

Omar Kassis is a Vancouver teacher who works with at-risk and street-involved youth in Vancouver’s inner city neighbourhoods. He understands the importance of programs for youth and wants to make sure Park Board activities remain accessible and relevant. Omar is an avid outdoor enthusiast and bicycle-tour guide.

In 2002 Anita Romaniuk was elected to the Vancouver Park Board where she served as chairperson. In 1994 Romaniuk founded the Douglas Park Arts Committee, and between 1998 and 2001 she was secretary of the Neighbour-to-Neighbour Association of Residents’ Associations.

“We wish Spencer all the best in his campaign to become the new MLA for the West End,” said COPE Co-Chairperson Ellen Woodsworth. “But while we will miss Spencer at the park board, COPE is pleased that three very strong candidates, John, Omar and Anita are seeking COPE nominations.

Along with incumbent Park Commissioner Loretta Woodcock, they will continue COPE’s tradition of making sure that Vancouver’s parks and community centres work for all the citizens of Vancouver.”

COPE candidates to run for Park Board.