This portion of the interview is about Lee Rankin talking about why he chose a career in politics and what kept him interested being a Burnaby councillor for 22 years. He tells the story about the land swap that he helped engineer with the School Board that enabled the building of the new Burnaby S…
This portion of the interview is about Lee Rankin talking about why he chose a career in politics and what kept him interested being a Burnaby councillor for 22 years. He tells the story about the land swap that he helped engineer with the School Board that enabled the building of the new Burnaby South Secondary School. He relates that this experience in the late 1980s would become key in finding a resolution for the City/SFU dispute. He talks about the positions held by the university and the City over land ownership and control on Burnaby Mountain. Rezoning for Discovery Park and the 1964 Simon Fraser Townsite Master Plan (1964) are discussed.
Recording is of an interview with Lee Rankin conducted by Kathy Bossort. Lee Rankin was one of 23 participants interviewed as part of the Community Heritage Commission’s Burnaby Mountain Oral History Project. The interview is mainly about Lee Rankin’s involvement in finding a resolution to the dispute between the City of Burnaby and Simon Fraser University over land ownership and control on Burnaby Mountain. He talks about the origin of the dispute, the positions taken by the two sides, the key people who brought about a resolution, and the main features of the agreement between the City, SFU and the province of BC. He talks about how the agreement met SFU’s goals, fostered trust between the City and university, and removed uncertainty from protecting parkland on Burnaby Mountain.
Lee Rankin was born in 1953 in Vancouver. He attended SFU 1973-78, completing his BA degree in 1985. He earned his law degree at UBC in 1988, was called to the Bar in 1989, and practiced in immigration and refugee law. Lee has lived in Burnaby since 1976 and was a member of Burnaby Council for 22 years, from 1983-1999 and 2002-2008. His particular interests as a Councillor were in community planning, housing and environment. Among other duties and accomplishments as Councillor, Lee served as chair of the Simon Fraser Liaison Committee and was involved in the negotiations with the province and SFU that resulted in the university returning more than 800 acres of land to the City, which was dedicated as part of the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. He has also served on the GVRD, volunteers as a coach for team sports in Burnaby, and has served on numerous community and business associations and committees. Lee is married to Ragini Venkat Rankin and has one son Henry.
Kathy Bossort is a retired archivist living in Ladner, BC. She worked at the Delta Museum and Archives after graduating from SLAIS (UBC) in 2001 with Masters degrees in library science and archival studies. Kathy grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and, prior to this career change, she lived in the West Kootenays, earning her living as a cook for BC tourist lodges and work camps. She continues to be interested in oral histories as a way to fill the gaps in the written record and bring richer meaning to history.