Xtra West Profiles Sean Bickerton

Writer Rob Salerno was visiting Vancouver from Toronto last week and sat down to interview me at the NPA nominating convention. Here are short excertps from that longer interview, available on XtraWest online:

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Sean with the outstanding Laura McDiarmid
Sean with the outstanding Laura McDiarmid

“Openly gay candidate for a slot on the NPA’s city council election slate Sean Bickerton sailed to easy victory Sep 14 at an endorsement meeting at the Croatian Cultural Centre. Bickerton was one of five candidates vying for the NPA’s remaining council endorsements.

Before Saturday’s vote, Bickerton told Xtra West he wasn’t ready to rest on his laurels.

“I don’t consider it in the bag until the people have spoken,” he said.

Bickerton says he wants to use his seat on city council to preserve the unique heritage of Vancouver’s diverse neighbourhoods, including the Davie Village, which he considers under threat by developers who may seek to transform the low-rise residential and commercial strip into more profitable high-rise buildings. 

“We’re losing our heritage,” he says. “In 10 years, it’ll all be gone. The character will be lost forever. We have to have a community plan.”

Communities like the Davie Village are important assets to the city, Bickerton says.

“If you lose your cultural history, you’re rootless — lost. It’s impossible to create a vital future without a strong ground.

“What we can’t do is wait for the Olympics [to be] like some sort of magic wand that’ll clean everything up. We have to start now, at the block level, including all those who live there, whether they have homes or not,” he says

“We need a comprehensive plan for the area started by residents and anchored by cultural and performance places.”

Bickerton also says he will work to advance a safe streets agenda at council to address the ongoing problem of gay bashing in the city.

“I was bashed in the streets of Vancouver 25 years ago and almost didn’t live,” he says, pointing to small scars on his nose, which he says are remnants of the beating he took. “We need safe streets in which to exercise our freedoms.”

But Bickerton says any new initiatives against violence must come from the ground up and include all stakeholders.

“We need to bring in residents, businesses, owners, governments, local police, people who work in the areas, into a room and try to reach consensus,” he says

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