After coming to Canada from Italy in 1959, I graduated from Britannia High School and went on to receive an Honours BA and MA in Languages from UBC and a teaching certificate from SFU. I also did post graduate studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. For 30 years, I worked as a teacher.
Along with my wife, Cedna – and our daughter, Victoria Milena who is an early childhood educator and school administrator – I have called Burnaby home for 41 years. For most of those years, I’ve been active in Burnaby politics.
I have always believed in the value of community involvement. Early in my teaching career I became involved with my professional association and with community multicultural activities. Between 1987 and 1996, I served on the Burnaby School Board, for two years as chair. Between 1996 and 2001, I was the MLA for Burnaby North and was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Small Business, Tourism and Culture from 1998 to 2001. In 2002, I was elected to Burnaby City Council. I was re-elected in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
I have particularly enjoyed serving as a city councillor because municipal government is the closest to the people. I welcome the many opportunities I have to help citizens understand how to access services and to work closely with individuals and communities to facilitate progressive changes.
Burnaby has always led the way in terms of providing great services and low taxes. My goal has always been to ensure that Burnaby remains a fiscal, social and environmental leader. I love Burnaby’s huge amount of green space, the fabulous community centres, the highly desired senior and youth centres, the excellent libraries, and the hundreds of people who are so willing to volunteer their time to make Burnaby a great place to live. I enjoy every opportunity to play a role in keeping Burnaby an inclusive, welcoming, safe community in which individuals, families and businesses can thrive.
My focus continues to be on advancing projects and policies that make Burnaby a livable, walkable, inviting community. We live in a growing city; therefore, having a role in concentrating urbanization around major transit nodes and protecting single- and double-family neighbourhoods is particularly satisfying.
I also take pride in the many cultural and sports events that take place in our city all through the year. Having had the opportunity to work with Council, City staff and the community to launch events such as the Giro di Burnaby, which has become Burnaby’s largest single sporting event, I am very aware of the value such community events bring to Burnaby citizens and businesses.
I look forward to continuing to work with Council, staff and citizens – and with our Community Development Committee – on the zoning and long-term planning initiatives that enable development of events and facilities that encourage our communities to gather and enjoy their City. I strive to have new developments in Burnaby that combine residential and commercial elements in such a way as to enable the creation of vibrant, ground-level, pedestrian-oriented streetscapes. The development of our four, vibrant transit-focused town centres reflect that vision.
As chair of Burnaby’s Community Policing Committee, I was instrumental in initiating the Burnaby Crime Prevention Strategy. This work still continues through a communication sub-committee which develops crime prevention and safety tips published quarterly in the city’s InfoBurnaby leaflet and which are placed on the city’s website under Community Policing. On behalf of Council I worked closely with the Chief Superintendent of the RCMP Burnaby Detachment and the Community Policing Committee to launch Burnaby’s Crime Reduction Strategy, an area in which we have been having incredible success. In the last number of years the police have seen a significant decrease in all monitored crime types. Together, we are working to ensure this trend continues so that we can all be proud in defining Burnaby a very safe community.
I also chaired a subcommittee that developed a Business Crime Prevention Strategy. Arising from that, the Business Watch program was launched in Northwest Burnaby with unqualified success. I hope to see this program expand gradually to the rest of the community. We have also been studying ways of extending or varying the hours of our very successful community policing offices.
Finally, I will continue to be involved with activities and initiatives that enhance the lives of Burnaby seniors. I take great pleasure in volunteering for seniors’ events, driving seniors and shut-ins to luncheons at Confederation Seniors Centre, to medical appointments and to other events (through Burnaby Volunteer Services), and working with Voices of Burnaby Seniors on the task force that identifies gaps in seniors’ services.
Memberships and Community Links
- Chair, Public Safety Committee
- Chair, International Relations and Friendship Cities Committee
- Member, Sustainable City Advisory Committee
- Member, Financial Management Committee
- Member, Audit Committee
- Member, Simon Fraser University Liaison Committee
- Council Representative to Burnaby Public Library Board
- Council Representative to Fraser Health Board
- Alternate director, Metro Vancouver Board
- Council Representative to Healthy Communities Partnership
- Alternate council representative to New Vista Society
- Council liaison for Corporate Labour Relations, to RCMP Burnaby Detachment and to Burnaby Board of Education
- Recipient of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant contribution to public service
- Recipient of Medal for 125th Anniversary of Confederation of Canada for significant contribution to fellow citizens and community
- Awarded Knighthood by the President Italy (for service to community)
- Honorary Rotarian & Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Club of Burnaby Deer Lake
- Volunteer Driver, Citizens Support Services and Better at Home Service
- Member, Voices of Burnaby Seniors Task Force
- Past-director, Fraser Health Region
- Past-vice president, National Congress of Italian Canadians
- Past-director, Burnaby Multicultural Society
- Past-president and Honorary Life Member, British Columbia Heritage Language Association
- Past-president, British Columbia Association of Teachers of Modern Languages
- Member, COMITES, an Advisory Citizen Committee to the Italian Consul General