The parks and recreation profession lost one of its leading lights with the passing on 21 March 2020 of David Vial, Principal of IOSS, Integrated Open Space Services after an extended illness. David was a member of the steering committee that oversaw the strategic planning for the PaRC project. David  supported the PaRC initiative throughout and generously gave password access to his database of significant documents.

In 2008 IOSS commenced a collaborative program with Parks and Leisure Australia termed Parks Base. Parks Base is a web-based portal that collects, organises and reports on information about public open space planning and management. Parks Base is for local, regional, national and international use. There are two subsets:

Knowledge Base, an online database for professionals in the fields of public open space, urban greenery, urban ecology, conservation and protected areas, land management, arboriculture, horticulture, soils, turf, recreation and sport; and associated areas of sustainability and social research. Registration is required.

Comparison Program, a commercial program that enables monitoring of aspects of public open space planning and management by participating government authorities. Registration is required.

The IOSS website includes an index of a substantial body of publications and “Public Realm Research Projects” produced by David and his team. PaRC will endeavour to perpetuate his contribution to the profession by offering access to a selected body of his work.

Parks and Leisure Australia, peak body for the profession, published the following tribute on 7 April 2020:

It was indeed sad news when our industry learnt of the recent passing of David Vial who had been suffering from an illness these past 15 months. David had been a strong, passionate advocate of the parks industry with over forty years’ experience in the parks and recreation industry – including the public sector, private sector, and academia. He had especially worked with over 150 government authorities since forming IOSS (Integrated Open Space Services) in 1997 with his business partner and wife, Michelle Prior, providing quality research services and advice for parks planners. Before founding IOSS, David had been with Brisbane City Council, Charles Sturt University and Wangaratta TAFE College.

David always presented as a humble, quiet, reflective person. His career included work titles as gardener, parks manager in local government, university lecturer, workplace trainer, researcher and business owner. He was one of our strongest “industry contributors” often being a presenter at National PLA conferences and a valued contributor of emerging parks practices through articles in the Australasian Parks and Leisure journal. David will indeed be sadly missed.

Quiet and unassuming, David had a genuine passion for ensuring our industry shared leading-edge knowledge. He demonstrated this generosity through his establishment of leading edge online data services such as “Parksbase” and “Knowledgebase”. These services he made available to our PLA industry. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the PLA-accredited courses provided to NParks Singapore. David had been a long-term educator in delivering these courses, sharing his depth of knowledge with many park managers in Singapore. He was also involved in developing many of industry’s best practices and industry standards within the parks profession in Australia and Asia.

His commitment to the park and recreation industry extended beyond paid duties, to the co-ordination of the regular SEQ Park Managers’ Forum; and co-ordination of various forums and workshops at the local, regional, national and international level on parks, urban trees, sportfields, assets and benchmarking.

Our thoughts and condolences are extended to his wife Michelle and his family. Michelle and the IOSS staff will be continuing with David’s endeavour.