I’m a Vancouver City Councillor living on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, specifically just north of Skwácháy̓s in the Strathcona neighbourhood.
To find out more about our City, check out our official website, our tourism website, our economic development website, or one of the many great esoteric, archival or heritage websites about Vancouver. To find out more about some of the traditional indigenous place names in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language, check out SquamishAtlas.com.
I’ve lived in Vancouver since immigrating from Ireland to Canada as a child, and today share my life with my wife of over twenty years, two cats, and a dog. I also share a big chunk of my life with the people of Vancouver in my role as an elected representative.
I like to help people and I like to work hard. I’m committed to ensuring Vancouver is safe, welcoming, and happy city where everyone can thrive.
My professional interests include governance, land use, renter protection and affordable housing, making our city more resilient to the climate change, protecting our natural habitats, zero waste, and supporting our vibrant arts, culture and small business communities.
In my role as a Councillor, I also serve on a number of boards, including:
- Union of BC Municipalities
Director, Resolutions Committee, (chair) Health and Social Development Committee
- National Zero Waste Council
Director, (chair) Product and Packaging Group
- Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Committee
- Auditor General Committee (Chair)
- Vancouver Public Library Board (Council liaison)
- Vancouver City Planning Commission (Council liaison)
- Arts and Culture Advisory Committee (Council liaison)
- Renters Advisory Committee (Council liaison)
- Transportation Advisory Committee (Council liaison)
About City Council
I’m one of ten Vancouver City Councillors, and along with the mayor we are elected at-large on four year terms to help govern and support our city. The City is responsible for creating by-laws, planning and permitting land use, infrastructure services like streets and sidewalks, public safety measures like policing, fire rescue services and building by-laws, approving annual and capital budgets, and collecting fees and taxes.
The City funds and supports a number of entities with their own separate boards and governance structures including the Public Library, Board of Parks and Recreation, and the Vancouver Police Department. The VPD is tasked with upholding public safety, and the laws of Canada and the Province. The City is mandated to maintain a police force of satisfactory strength and numbers in accordance with the BC Police Act. The police are by necessity independent of our elected office.
Like all local governments in British Columbia, legally we exist as a creature of the provincial legislature, Vancouver additionally and separately is governed by the Vancouver Charter. Provincial laws set out our roles and responsibilities.
Local governments are not legally responsible for property assessments, immigration, housing and homelessness, social assistance, education, poverty reduction, public transit, health, mental health and addictions, or criminal justice — though often, these issues are at the forefront of our urban issues and to varying degrees we are forced to intervene in these areas for the betterment of our city and despite a lack of appropriate resource or jurisdiction.
This jurisdictional conundrum, and limited access to funding tools is at the root of a lot of the most challenging issues our city faces
More about Me
By trade I am a graphic artist, and spent over three decades self employed in print and design; and strategic and creative communications, working with local small business as well as community and not-for-profit groups. Over my career I worked with hundreds of local small businesses, arts and non-profits, and volunteered my skills to support AIDS, food security, animal welfare, and cultural groups.
I first got involved in local politics in 2006 as a representative of the City of Vancouver’s Dog Strategy Task Force. Later, as chair of the Strathcona Residents Association I led community response to land use and traffic impact surrounding potential viaduct removal, local fundraising efforts, and citizen empowerment in urban planning. I also served as a community representative on the City of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan, a two year process that saw a socio-economically and culturally diverse group of DTES stakeholders work together on the future of that neighbourhood.
I also served as a coordinator with Our Place at Ray-Cam developing and facilitating collective impact and land use strategies for vulnerable inner city families and youth, a board member of the City’s Community Economic Development Strategic Action Committee and a member of the Hogan’s Alley Working Group community land trust subcommittee.
Inspired and frustrated by my experience on the DTES LAP, I first ran for City Council with the Vancouver Green Party in 2014. As an underdog in a well-financed competition, I ran a vigorous low-budget, grass-roots campaign on issues of development, community, poverty, and affordability. Collecting some 46,500 votes, I missed being elected to council but topped polls in Strathcona, Mt Pleasant and Commerical Drive. I went on to run in a provincial by-election with the BC Greens, and a City Council by-election in 2017, before getting elected and topping the polls in 2018.
Today, I still live in Strathcona with my wife, a dog, and two cats.