Is Andrea Reimer The Coolest Public Servant We’ve Ever Had?

March 21, 2011.

It’s a tough question. Councillor Heather Deal is pretty rad, too, but did she go see Bad Brains and The Ramones in 1993? Probably not. Former Vancouver school board trustee Andrea Reimer was elected to City Council in 2008. Aside from being a member of the Greenest City Action Team, she is the Chair of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, Director of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, and the Executive Director of the Wilderness Committee. She’s also an all-round cool lady who digs toiling in the garden in front of her Cedar Cottage home, playing soccer with the Vancouver Vixens and listening to old school punk rock. Check out her full bio here.

Scout Q&A

Town you were born in? Saskatoon.

Three things about the Cedar Cottage neighbourhood that makes you want to live there? Trout Lake! The people that live in the neighbourhood. Cornucopia of transportation options (skytrain, access to many bike paths, walking is safe and easy).

Describe your favourite photograph.
My daughter at six years old standing on a hill in a long red dress with the wind in her hair, irises waving on the hillside, holding a stick and looking like the most wild and oldest soul in the world.

Default drink? Red wine.

Drink you’ll never have again?
A tie between (a) vodka and Sprite (it’s a long story) and (b) Guinness (another long story involving cleaning the pipes in Scotland).

When you can’t sleep?
I rarely have a problem sleeping. It’s the second best thing about being so busy.

Favourite Vancouver bridge?
Commercial Drive bridge.

Best Vancouver patio? The one on our house!

One thing you’d like to change about Vancouver? More affordable housing, especially for families.

Favourite place to see a band? Railway Club or almost anywhere outside.

Cheap place for dinner?
Peaceful Restaurant.

Book you’re reading? Snow by Orhan Pamuk.

Last place travelled? For work, Victoria. For fun, took the train to San Francisco.

Community event or festival that you look forward to every year? Tied between the Chinese Years Parade and Car Free Day (predictable, I know).

Something you don’t leave the Farmers Market without? Poblanos, if they are in season.

Your ancestry? I’m adopted.

As a City of Vancouver council member, what has been your proudest moment?
That’s a tough one. Every time I go to a community meeting or a city event and see people who haven’t talked to the city before, able to engage in ways they weren’t able to before, it makes me proud. There’s also several policies I initiated that, when staff have reported back on how much has been done on them so far, it makes me a little emotional. It’s sometimes hard to believe that some of these things – I’m thinking about the open government project, Greenest City work, Car Free Streets initiative, downtown public spaces plan, extreme hot weather plan – were just waiting for a champion at city council. There’s so much amazing work being done by staff and community that just needs a push to be born into better city policy. [It’s] also amazing when other cities call and want help to adopt similar policies. You don’t realize when you’re trying to do something better for Vancouver you could be doing something better for many more places too.

Best bar stool in the city? Northeast corner of the bar at Kitanoya-Guu on Water Street.

Dumbest purchase ever?
That is such a tough question. I’m not much of a buyer, but my husband is reminding me that the incredibly cheap, cool used suede jacket I bought a while back ended up not being so cheap when you factor in the red wine spills, the dirt smudges from pulling a few weeds on the way out the door, the food left behind by old sticky hands (aka our daughter).

What are you proud of? My daughter, Having 15 years of happy marriage despite all the stress in our community lives. Our garden.

The thing that makes you the angriest? Angry? Not generally my emotion.

The view from your favourite window? Port of Vancouver, Burrard Inlet.

Favourite ice cream flavour? Lemon gelato.

Food your mom makes better than anyone? Hot cross buns.

Musical instrument you long to master? Any musical instrument would be nice. If I had to choose…probably evenly split between the bass and the cello

Sport you gave up?
Shotput. It was short-lived.

Secret indulgence? Isn’t that why it’s secret?

The game you’re best at? Soccer!

Mac or PC?

Favourite sports team? I’m kind of partial to my soccer team. But after that it would Canada’s women’s soccer team, the Canucks, and then the Red Wings. Followed by the Whitecaps. Topped off by Chelsea.

The number of fist fights you’ve been in?
I haven’t kept track.

The scariest situation you’ve ever been in?
Long list that all seem to involve foreign militias, guns and countries with impending/recently ended civil wars. After a while i figured out one should avoid these circumstances wherever possible.

Three things of no monetary value that you will keep until you die?
My Dad’s Duane Eddy “twangy guitar” record (my dad passed away three years ago), a woven bag my mother and I bought together in a market in Bolivia, a letter my husband wrote to me many years ago.

Local person you admire most?
Such a long list! There are so many heros in our city, some I admire for what they’ve done, some for what they are doing, some for how they do their work. And some people who are just so inspiring in the way they get through very difficult lives, or moments in their lives, day in and day out. All of them leave inspiration, lessons.

Most attractive item of clothing for a woman? Something that they feel attractive in.

Most attractive item of clothing for a man?

Best concert experience ever?
In Fest 1993: Ramones, Bad Brains, Doughboys, Smalls.

Best place (within an hour of the city) to get in touch with your wild side?
Echo Lake.

Animal you most identify with?
Red flicker. (it’s a bird, I hope that counts).

Biggest wish for Vancouver in 2011?
Housing dollars from the federal and provincial governments to support new affordable rental housing.

The dish you’re proud of? Chile rellenos!

The thing that makes you the most nervous? Outside of my daughter doing a double layout dismount on the balance beam? Very little.

Old television shows you can tolerate re-runs of? I would watch every one of the original Star Treks or old Dr. Whos as many times as they would play them. They just don’t make shows like that any more, and I feel old saying that.

First memory?

What are you listening to as you answer these questions?
The Ramones, because answering the questions reminded me of just how good that concert was!

Album that first made you love music? See Duane Eddy reference above. I think what I loved is that my Dad loved it so much.

Default junk food?

The career path you considered but never followed?
Careers seem better at following me than the other way around.

The things you miss most about home when you’re on the road? My daughter, my husband, popcorn.

Two places you like to take out of town visitors in order to show off your city? Pretty much any outdoor happening (farmers market, festivals). I also like to take people on public transit, not to go anywhere particular but because you can go anywhere on it.

The first three things you do every morning? After i get out of bed I get my daughter up if she’s not yet, kiss her good morning if she is and get her moving; check email/twitter/facebook/news; eat breakfast.

The thing you’re addicted to?

Biggest hope? That Vancouver will own its future. We spend so much time in our public dialogue arguing about whether or not we can maintain certain aspects of the past, in the face of growing social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges on the planet, that I fear it will be the future that owns us.

Luckiest moment of your life?
I think all mothers answer this the same way. Number 2 would be hitting Guaymas at sunset on Mardi Gras completely by accident.

Favourite book as a child?
Ferdinand the Bull.

Biggest fear? That the Age of Reason is over.



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