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Opinion: Burnaby named a park after an ex-mayor. Now do Derek Corrigan

Corrigan left a formidable legacy
Former Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan.

I have a controversial opinion to make. OK, that isn’t a surprise to my haters who think I have too many opinions.

Former Mayor Derek Corrigan should have something in Burnaby named after him. No, I haven’t been kidnapped and forced to write this. I am of sound mind.

I’m thinking about this because the City of Burnaby officially renamed MacPherson Park to Lewarne Park, to honour the former Burnaby mayor, councillor and volunteer, William Lewarne.

Lewarne founded the Burnaby Voters Association and served on city council from 1973 to 1975 and again 1977 to 1981. In 1981, he was elected mayor and served until 1987.

That is a formidable political history in Burnaby. Well, Corrigan’s history is even more formidable. The guy served as mayor for five terms and was a city councillors for more than a decade before he became mayor. Corrigan put his mark on this city in so many ways that he deserves to have this recognized in some way.

Lewarne sadly died in 1995 and so he didn’t get to be there when the park was renamed in his honour. I hate when people wait too long to honour the legacies of people so the city should have this on their radar now.

Look, I get it. Corrigan wasn’t beloved by everyone, but what politician is? He has a long list of detractors, especially those who advocate for affordable housing. His style could be alienating and a lot of things didn’t get done because he was hung up on some things not being in the city’s jurisdiction.

People will joke that the city could name one of its golf courses after him due to a 2019 NOW story that revealed how much in free golf Corrigan enjoyed in Burnaby over the years.

But people need to put that aside and recognize the legacy and impact Corrigan has had on our city. Anyone who is against the Trans Mountain pipeline will attest to how hard Corrigan fought over the years to get the project cancelled while many other politicians just rolled over.

I’m shocked that I’m even writing this because this newspaper’s dealings with Corrigan haven’t always been cordial. But you can’t stay in office for that long and win some of those elections with such staggering dominance without having done enough to gain the support of the public.

I’m sure there’s a park somewhere in Burnaby that would benefit from having Corrigan’s name on it.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.