Elsie Dean is known for many things - her activism as a feminist, senior and environmentalist, to name a few. Now she can add Burnaby's Outstanding Citizen of the Year to that list.
While Dean has received awards from the city in the past, she didn’t expect this one, she said.
“I couldn’t imagine it,” she told the NOW. “It’s quite an honour.”
The news had not yet settled in for Dean, who suggested she was likely nominated by BROKE - Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion. She’s a founding member of the local group.
“I really appreciate it,” Dean added.
Dean has lived in Burnaby since 1970 and bought a home here in 1974, she said.
“I’ve always been active in the community,” she added.
Coun. Sav Dhaliwal announced Dean was the winner of the 2014 Kushiro Cup at Monday night's council meeting.
"This was a decision of the committee to recommend Elsie Dean," Dhaliwal, who heads the city's executive committee, said.
The city received about 10 applications this year, he said. The deadline for nominations was extended from March 2 to 9.
Dean, who is also a founding member of the Voices of Burnaby Seniors task force, won the city's Local Hero Award in 2010.
"I happen to have worked with Ms. Dean on Voices of Burnaby Seniors," Coun. Pietro Calendino said, adding she is "very energetic, very active."
Dean has a long history of activism and political involvement in Burnaby, as Coun. Dan Johnston pointed out.
"I remember in elementary school at Brentwood Park, seeing election signs with Elsie Dean on them, and that was back in the '70s," he said.
While all the Kushiro Cup winners have deserved the award, Dean has a more comprehensive resume than most, he added.
Mayor Derek Corrigan said he also approved of the choice.
"I've known Elsie Dean for, gosh, 35 years," he said. "She's a very dedicated volunteer."
The Kushiro Cup is awarded annually to "residents who have given voluntary service to this community in cultural, recreational or other non-elected civic activities," according to the city's website.
Georgie Cole was last year's winner.
Dean will receive her award on May 1.