Lisa Barrett, two-time former mayor of Bowen Island, is a practicing civil mediator who is well known for her tireless effort as a social, economic and ecological justice activist. In 1975, she covered local government with Shaw community television and in 1979 volunteered with the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC). She is deeply involved in organizations for civil liberties and human rights and fighting catastrophic climate change with Rising Tide-Coast Salish Territories.
Lisa has extensive experience in civic government as the former two-term mayor of Bowen Island Municipality, where she served as a low-income solo parent of two young children.
Lisa often had to take the children to meetings because of child care costs and accessibility. She knows first-hand the barriers facing many women who want to participate in the decision-making and policy development that directly affects their lives.
During this period, Lisa sat as a director at the GVRD-MetroVan board and on the Parks, Labour Relations, Environment and Transportation committees. She conducted her own research into the matters brought before the Regional District board and fought various trade agreements, privatizations and P3s. She was involved in the opposition to water filtration plant and the (RAV) Canada line that was contracted through the criminally linked SNC-Lavalin consortium and resulted in numerous cost overruns.
One highlight of this period was her invitation to participate in an intergovernmental panel in Santo Andre, Brazil. There she experienced the life-changing and community-building miracles of participatory budgeting.
“Imagine how this city could change for the better for all of us if every person had the same access to city hall as high net worth property owners and the development industries! The fact is: if it’s not accounted for in a line item in the budget – it won’t happen, no matter the flowery and visionary language in the PR releases.”
Lisa never forgets whose interests she is charged with representing and is unafraid to closely question managers and their reports to discover whether those interests are served.
Lisa has learned to work with and empower city staff, most of whom really just want to do the good work they know how to do and to contribute to a fairer, more equitable and truly enjoyable place to live.