BY GARY THANDI
Mike Hurley’s decision to run for Mayor of Burnaby in the recent municipal elections came after considerable deliberation.
“I noticed a lot of homeless people in the streets. I felt that our community needed to be doing more to help them,” he declares. “That was what first got me to thinking I need to get involved in municipal politics. Also, I noticed a lot of people wanting to stay in our community, but could not afford. Young people, seniors, families—were all struggling, and I felt I needed to get involved and represent their concerns.”
The Mayor was born in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, and came to Canada in 1983 at the age of 25. “I was very much into sports, and very much into music. I traveled the world playing guitar, keyboard, and some singing. And I was fortunate to have some great experiences.”
The Mayor has lived and worked in Burnaby for 30 years. He joined the Burnaby Fire Department in 1988, eventually serving as Fire Captain, and served as the President of the B.C. Provincial Firefighters Association from 2008 to 2016. As a Firefighter, he was not only very much involved in coming to the aid of those in distress and danger, but he also was integral in the charitable work done by members of this profession, including the establishment of the Healthy Snack program, which feeds hungry children in 30 schools.
“Teachers came to us with the fact that some kids were coming to school hungry. We made sure that these kids could focus on their studies instead of being hungry.”
Another initiative involved teaching grade 10 students in Burnaby how to perform CPR. As President of the Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, the Mayor led the effort to raise millions of dollars to build a facility that accommodates families and burn unit outpatients from both Vancouver General and BC Children’s hospitals.
“I am very proud of that achievement, which is serving the community well.” The Mayor was honored to receive the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and her Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his service to our community.
As for Mike Hurley’s priorities as Mayor of Burnaby, he lists several vital considerations: housing, the Federally owned pipeline, community health and wellness, and community safety. “The city has a lot of lands, and we need to look at ways to provide land for affordable housing. I truly feel we can find creative solutions for affordability on the housing side.”
He feels the people of Burnaby’s concerns regarding the pipeline had fallen to deaf ears. “If the Federal Government is serious about wanting the pipeline to go through, they need to do a more thorough environmental assessment, so that the people, especially the people in Burnaby, would feel assured of their safety and their concerns ignored.”
Regarding community safety, the Mayor believes, that: “Our families, seniors, and anyone who uses our public spaces, need to feel safe at all times. We need to speak to the Police Chief to ensure that we have adequate policing. I am a public safety person, and I take that very seriously. I have known many of the Councillors in Burnaby for many years. I feel that the majority of the Councillors will embrace the ideas I bring, as we all care about the needs of Burnaby residents.”
In closing, Mayor Hurley spoke with a positive outlook. “I look forward to working with the community and the Council to making some positive changes in Burnaby.”