Sav Dhaliwal was first elected to Burnaby Council in November 2002 and is currently serving his sixth consecutive term as a councillor. He also represents local concerns at the provincial and federal level through his participation with the Lower Mainland Local Government Association, at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. And shortly after our recent civic elections, Sav was voted in as Chair of the Board of Directors for Metro Vancouver.
The Board of Directors for Metro Vancouver consists of 40 elected officials from 23 local governments, who are responsible for decisions involving Metro’s drinking water, waste-water treatment, solid waste, air quality, regional parks, planning regional growth, and to provide leadership and advocacy on affordable housing. Metro’s 2019 operating budget is more than $830 million and about $900 million in planned capital projects.
Before his election to council, Sav volunteered for local youth sports organizations – including service as president of the Burnaby Minor Hockey Association. He is also a retiree from a long career in the information technology field.
Sav was born and raised in Punjab. “I grew up in a farming family, and I recall working on the farm as far back as I can remember. It was instilled in me to work hard and be productive,” he recalls. At the age of 20, he decided to move to England to look for greater economic opportunities and remained there for about one year. He was “very lucky to get accepted to immigrate to Canada” and moved to Toronto in 1968. He moved from one low-paying job to another, from one temporary position to another, until he came across an employment counselor at the Canada Manpower Centre who suggested he return to school to improve his employment prospects.
Sav graduated from Humber College with a diploma in computer programming. “I suddenly had a job in a professional field -information technology. I was in on the ground floor of emerging computer technologies in those days,” he advised. “Though by the time I retired in 2006 I believe the technology had passed me by, so it was a good time to leave.”
“I never had plans to go into politics, it just seemed to happen by chance,” Sav explains. “While I was volunteering with Burnaby Minor Hockey, the City of Burnaby appointed me to the parks, recreation and culture commission that makes recommendations to the Council on its arts and recreation amenities. It gave me a taste of what city services are all about.”
Sav looks forward to continuing to work hard for the citizens of Burnaby in his new mandate. . There is one new councillor and a new mayor in Burnaby and the rest are incumbents. “While there are some changes and adjustments, so far it seems that there is a keen sense of cooperation and engagement between the new mayor and the councillors.”
Sav brings this same sense of cooperation and teamwork to his new role as the chair of Metro Vancouver. “I have always believed that it is not necessary to be at the top organizationally to be a leader; but it is important for everyone on the team to feel they have a leadership role to play.”
Sav and his wife, Cheryl, have lived in Burnaby for over 45 years. They are proud grandparents of four.