Having lived, worked, played and grown up in Macau, Taiwan, New York and Vancouver, I have come to love this city so much that Yaletown is now the community that I have lived for the longest time in my life.
Friendly to new comers, Vancouver made me feel at home ever since I first settled here in 1992. I lived here, I worked here, I started my first business here and I was elected city councillor here.
Working together with Mayor Sam Sullivan was the most important three years of my life. Shortly after we were sworn in, Sam had to lead a caucus consisting of four new councillors to make difficult decisions in order to better manage our operating budget and to make sure that we safeguard our property endowment fund.
We worked hard to set up the infrastructure to prepare the City for the 2010 Winter Olympics. We set up the 311 phone line to better communicate city services with our citizens. Although it met with controversy and resistance when it was first introduced, the concept and initiatives of Ecodensity is now widely adopted under various new names by many municipalities in North America.
Sam had a vision of what the city would look like in years to come and he never hesitated to make sure that concepts and ideas were transformed to action and good policies. I sometimes joke that Sam is one of the most stubborn persons I have ever met. However, it is worth noting that this stubbornness comes not in the process of formation of ideas during which he is open minded and receptive and is an avid reader in any subject he set his mind on. His stubbornness shows merely when determination and perseverance are most needed to implement such ideas. He will not rest until the light from the other side of the tunnel is bright and clear.
During the three years as mayor, Sam held roundtable meetings with representatives from at least 12 different ethnic groups in our city. Learning from them, understanding the uniqueness of their culture and discovering from them how we can better manage the inclusivity and liveability of our city. People appreciated when Sam was able to deliver greetings in different languages, but few know how sincerely he took this task to his heart making sure that he can personally welcome our newcomers to town and make them feel at home.
In the coming provincial election, we need someone who lives in this riding, understands this riding, knows how government works, and knows how to work within government. We need someone who knows how to make good public policies and most of all, someone who knows where to find the voices of different opinions and engage everyone to listen and to understand.
We need someone who not only has the skills and experience of a politician, but more importantly, someone with the genuine heart of a truly concerned citizen.
B.C. Lee is a long time resident of Yaletown and was Vancouver City Councillor from 2005-2008.