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Councillor Paul McDonell

Councillor Paul McDonell

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I was elected to Council in 2008, re-elected in 2011 and 2014, but I have always been a people person. I was given a social conscience early and have always felt that life is like a honeypot – if you need some take it, if not, put it back.

Before becoming a City Councillor, I had many opportunities to serve our community. I have been a Burnaby resident since 1964. In 1994, I got involved with Burnaby Health Board where I enjoyed meeting with Councillors and medical professionals to advance healthcare initiatives in our city and region. In 1996, I became chair. In 1998, I became chair of the new Simon Fraser Health Authority. In 2020, I began work on the Parks Board, where I spent six years, including two years as Chair.

Working as a Vancouver firefighter, (from which I retired as deputy fire chief in 1999) and rescue service worker for 35 years – through which I became involved with Muscular Dystrophy as chair and provincial director – and working with United Way for seven years (one year as chair) until 2001, I met wonderful people and saw first-hand the social issues we face.  Most importantly, in all of my roles, I learned how partnerships can enable significant change. When business, unions, governments and individuals come together, great changes can happen.

As a Burnaby City Councillor, I have welcomed the opportunity to advance many significant initiatives, building partnerships that ensure their success.  In the Edmonds area, for example, I have continued to work with Council and the Edmonds business community on a mural program to address graffiti issues.  With a grant from the City, support from the Mayor’s Task Force on graffiti, lots of door-knocking, and significant fundraising support from Burnaby’s Taiwanese-Canadian community, I worked to launch this program as a member of the Park Board. I have been thrilled to see and participate in its very successful implementation.

Seven murals are now complete, four more are planned, with one currently being painted in the Heights neighbourhood. The result has been great. People like the art, and graffiti is 99 per cent eliminated in the mural areas.

I have also particularly enjoyed continuing to develop the eco-sculpture program. In 2005, we brought the idea of eco-sculptures back from Montreal. People in Montreal taught us how to make the sculptures. Now the community has embraced the sculptures and we have developed a program that enables high school students to work on them – a job they have enthusiastically embraced.

The City of Burnaby has an exemplary local and international reputation for livability. On Council, we are determined to ensure the City remains the number-one livable city for citizens. To ensure we can help those who need help in our city, we need to continue to develop community networks.  We have to approach things holistically and part of that is making sure people who have needs get them met.  There are lots of things a city can do to make sure that happens and I look forward to playing a role.

A key area of focus for me in the near term will be to enhance opportunities and services for seniors in Burnaby through my roles on various boards and committees.

Council Committees

Community Links 

  • Vice-chair, Friends of the Games (fundraising for B.C. Seniors Games)
  • Founding Member, Past President of Burnaby Edmonds Lions Club
  • Past Chair, Burnaby and Simon Fraser Health Authorities
  • Director, United Way of the Lower Mainland (Past Chair)
  • Past Chair, Vancouver Firefighters Muscular Dystrophy Society
  • Past Chair, Fundraising, Edmonds City Fair
  • Past Chair, Edmonds Festival of Lights
  • Past Member, Campaign Cabinet United Way of the Lower Mainland, Liaison to Municipalities
  • Chair, Edmonds Murals Committee
  • Recipient, British Columbia Community Achievement Award
  • Recipient, Syd Thompson Community Service Award
  • Named Firefighter of the Year, Vancouver Junior Board of Trade Jaycees
  • Recipient, Queen’s Jubilee Medal
  • Recipient, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2008 British Columbia Community Achievement Award
  • 2015 British Columbia Neighbours Association Good Neighbour Award
  • 2005 Burnaby Business Excellence Community Service Award
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