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Celeste M.H. Redman

Burnaby Council Member 1990-2005
Awarded Status of Freeman: January 12, 2009 (Presentation made: May 1, 2009)

Celeste Redman was already a successful businesswoman and well-known community leader before she ever decided to run for a seat on City Council. Having moved to Burnaby in 1966, Celeste soon became a respected voice in her north Burnaby neighbourhood and by 1987 she had decided to try her hand at local politics. Although not successful at this initial attempt, she went on to win a seat during the next campaign in 1990 and all of Burnaby would soon learn why so many North Burnaby residents adamantly supported her and wanted to see her leadership applied city-wide. It didn't take long for the wider community to learn to appreciate her many contributions, and Celeste went on to serve on Council for the next 15 years.

Although not a member of Council until 1990, Celeste did serve on a number of Council committees as a citizen volunteer prior to her election, including the Ad Hoc Committee on Dog Control as well as the Advisory Planning Committee. Most notable, however, was her work as chairperson of the Hastings Street Advisory Committee. This committee was formed in 1989 with the purpose of reviewing the Hastings Street Community Plan to upgrade the Hastings commercial area economically, and to prepare land use guidelines for the Hastings Street area while considering the needs of all neighbourhood residents and businesses. This intensive and interactive review process led to the development of the Hastings Street Area Plan which helped foster a revitalization of the Heights. Councillor Redman has been credited with playing a significant role in this process, acting as chair of the committee and champion of the re-development of the Heights.

Celeste did not limit herself to just focusing on the Hastings Street area, and indeed, her knowledge and problem solving abilities and knack at seeing the "big picture," led to her membership and chairing of the Housing and Civic Development Committee. A member of the Committee from 1991-1999 and then Chair from 2000-2005, it was during her tenure as Chairperson, that the Committee dealt with everything from affordable housing initiatives to seniors' housing projects, to neighbourhood rezonings. And while this work remains ongoing, the decisions and precedents set by Celeste still help guide the work to this day.

Celeste worked in many other ways to improve the quality of life for all Burnaby residents and was a member and, later, chairperson, of the Community Issues and Social Planning committee - sitting on this committee from 1991 to 1998 (1994-98 as chair). While serving with this committee, numerous improvements were made to the quality of service and access for citizens and projects such as the "Citizens' Guide to City Services" and the "Burnaby Access Guidebook" were produced and published.

Throughout her time on Council, another of Celeste's passions would come to the fore and would translate into improved public policy specifically in relation to animal control. A long-time animal rights advocate and member of the wildlife rescue association and SPCA, Celeste worked hard to improve the City's animal bylaws and to offer incentives such as rebates for spaying and neutering household pets. She also fought to strengthen the City's animal control bylaws, giving officers the authority to enter a property to investigate complaints of cruelty or neglect.

Celeste was also adamant about protecting the natural environment and from 1991 to 2005, she sat as member and then Vice Chair of the Environment and Waste Management committee - fulfilling an early campaign promise to ensure that the urban growth in Burnaby was tempered by careful planning and maintenance of quality green space. Her knowledge of environmental concerns was also called upon when she was asked to chair the Chevron Greenbelt/Buffer Zone Advisory Committee from 1997-1999.

Formed in 1997, this committee was tasked with reviewing the 1974 Chevron Expansion Plan in order to determine if the greenbelt/buffer zone outlined at that time was still relevant and supported by affected residents in the neighbourhood twenty years later. After two years of public input and a detailed review process, the committee was able to successfully report out to Council in 1999, updating the plan and bringing it more in harmony with the neighbourhood requirements and expectations.

Alongside her Council and Committee work, Celeste also volunteered as a member of the Burnaby Historical Society, showing a commitment to preserving a connection to the past for the benefit of present and future generations of citizens. This dedication to building a heritage legacy led to her service both as Vice Chair and Chair of the Community Heritage Commission - on which she sat from 1997 to 2005. During her tenure on the Commission, numerous heritage properties were protected and the City of Burnaby Archives were created to house the City's records in perpetuity. Celeste enthusiastically oversaw these projects as a way to ensure that Burnaby's unique history was highlighted and protected for the use and enjoyment of all citizens, and all those generations to come.

As can be seen from this brief overview - Burnaby and its citizens owe a great debt to Councillor Redman. Beyond what has already been indicated, she also worked tirelessly on such committees as the Library Board, the Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee, the Executive Committee of Council, the Family Court and Youth Justice Committee and the Traffic and Transportation Committees - creating a lasting legacy after 15 years of devoted service.

Celeste Redman died on December 1, 2015.

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