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Victor Stusiak

Council member 1973-1977, 1979-1987
Awarded Status of Freeman: January 12, 2009 (Presentation made: May 1, 2009)

Prior to ever getting involved with local politics, Vic Stusiak had earned a reputation for being a hard-nosed businessman. The owner of a building products manufacturing firm, Vic and his wife Frances had been long-time Burnaby residents and the parents of three boys before he decided to run for Municipal Council in 1973. When he was elected, Vic brought his skills as a financial watchdog to work and oversaw Burnaby's fiscal policies during the turbulent 1970s and early 1980s. He brought to the municipality the sound financial planning skills that have left Burnaby in the enviable position it is in today.

After serving as a member of Council from 1973-1977, Vic decided to run for Mayor in 1977. Although unsuccessful at this attempt, he returned to Council in 1979. Having already acted as the liaison to the Finance Department throughout his earlier tenure, Vic was asked to bring his management skills back to this position in 1979 and in 1983 he was called upon to chair the newly-created Finance Advisory Committee - a chairmanship he would hold until he left office in 1987.

But Vic's accomplishments went far beyond fiscal responsibility. Vic was also instrumental in numerous Parks and Recreation projects such as the Burrard Inlet and Fraser Foreshore parks, the Burnaby Beautification program and the design and development of the Heritage Village (later the Burnaby Village Museum). He supported the 2400 acre green space reserve on Burnaby Mountain and initiated parks levy on new developments. Vic was also a member and later the chair of the Housing Committee during a period when the Residential Neighbourhood Environment Study was underway to help the municipality create sound plans and policies for the development of its residential areas.

Vic's personal achievements are no less impressive than his political accomplishments and, as noted, he was a successful businessman long before he entered politics. He was also a dedicated community worker and served for a number of years on the Burnaby Parks and Recreation Commission prior to holding elected office. He donated thousands of hours to organizations such as the United Community Service, New Vista Society, United Way and the Burnaby Arts Council. Well into the 1990s and 2000s, Vic remained a familiar face to Council members as he appeared representing the needs of the Action Line Housing Society. Even after retirement, he continued to work tirelessly for the betterment of his community.

As can be seen, it is not hard to appreciate the impact that Victor Stusiak had on the city of Burnaby. He ushered in policies that would safeguard the municipality's assets and allow Burnaby to enjoy sound financial strategies for generations to come. He was also just as diligent in aiming to protect the cultural and natural heritage that is so renown in our community and helped to ensure the dedication of hundreds of acres of parks and the creation of the Burnaby Village Museum. As a result, it is not hard to see why Victor Stusiak was - and still remains - one of the most well-respected members of Council and one who left a significant legacy for the citizens of Burnaby.

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