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Douglas G. Evans

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

In 1990, Doug Evans decided to run for a seat on Burnaby Council and not only did his candidacy prove successful; but he would also go on to become a mainstay in local government for the next 15 years; winning each subsequent re-election in which he stood in 1993, 1996, 1999 and 2002.

A long-time Burnaby resident, having settled here in the 1950s, Doug was witness to the rapid growth and development that occurred in Burnaby during the following four decades and saw firsthand how the booming population and sprawling urban environment could affect the quality of life for Burnaby residents. As a result, after his retirement, he decided to do his part to make sure that Burnaby remained a good place to live and work. Doug came into the political race with a few key priorities on his agenda. When asked in 1990 why he wanted to run for office, Doug identified his desire to see Burnaby remain a safe, family-oriented community as one of his main concerns. He believed that Council should work to find ways to address community needs such as housing affordability while also offering solutions for other day-to-day issues such as traffic congestion and public transit.

After winning his place on Council, it didn't take Doug long to get to work on these matters. In 1991, he was appointed to the Transportation Committee and shortly thereafter was asked to be a member of the Traffic Safety Committee. He went on to serve as Chair and Vice Chair of both of these committees, remaining an integral figure on each until he left office in 2005. During his tenure on these committees, Burnaby saw some major changes in transit service with the construction of the Millennium Line and the introduction of traffic calming measures in many neighbourhoods throughout the City.

The safety and security of Burnaby citizens was always of major concern to Doug. This is exemplified by his work as Chair of the Community Policing Committee. In 1995, Doug was approached by then Mayor Bill Copeland and asked if he would be interested in chairing a new committee to be known as the Community Policing Committee. Burnaby had recently been chosen by the RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa to be the site of a pilot project for the RCMP's move to more community-based policing. Doug agreed to the request and the committee was established as a means of forging new relationships with the RCMP and, more importantly, with the citizens in whose neighbourhoods the police were working.

Over the next decade, with Doug as its chair, this public-focused approach to policing would go on to be a much-lauded success. Four district community police offices were opened and communication between the City, the RCMP and the public reached new levels. The Committee acted as a liaison between these groups and provided public input into the development of police service priorities while in turn offering support to the Community Police offices by aiding in the development and implementation of a volunteer recruitment program. This remarkable program owes much to Doug's dedication and guidance, and the citizens of Burnaby have certainly benefited from his commitment to improving their safety and security.

As well as the Community Policing Committee, Doug was also asked to chair a newly created Emergency Planning Committee in 2000. This committee was established to oversee and coordinate an emergency preparedness plan for the City of Burnaby after the adoption of an Emergency Program Bylaw in 1998. Doug's previous experiences with regards to community safety and security gave him a great deal of insight into this program and under his chairmanship, the committee helped to prepare and approve information to be distributed to the public concerning safety, survival and emergency preparedness, was responsible for the preparation, annual review and updating of the Burnaby Emergency Plan, and oversaw all programs of training, disaster and emergency exercise planning. Although this committee was disbanded in 2003, its duties and responsibilities became the responsibility of the Executive Committee of Council and once again, Doug's experience was called upon as a both a member and Vice-chair of this committee.

Of course, Doug contributed to the City of Burnaby in many other ways, serving on such boards and committees as the Library Board, the Civic Development Committee, the Community Issues and Social Planning Committee, and the Lougheed Area and Royal Oak Area Advisory Committees – just to name but a very few. And those are just the Burnaby committees; to that we can also go on to list his service on regional groups such as GVRD committees, or community groups such as the St. John Ambulance or New Vista Society, and we begin to scratch the surface of his contributions to our City and our region.

Throughout his 15 years on Council, Doug worked tirelessly to ensure that Burnaby remained a City that was a safe place for families to live and ultimately, it was his dedication to family that saw him retire from public life. Citing his desire to spend more time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Doug decided not to run for Council in 2005, and while he is no longer actively serving the City, the decisions, policies and programs he helped usher in during his tenure will endure for many more years to come.

Douglas Evans died on January 9, 2014.

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