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HomeBusinessIncumbent city councillor running for board of exclusive club

Incumbent city councillor running for board of exclusive club

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Bob Mackin

A Vancouver city councillor seeking re-election on Ken Sim’s ABC Vancouver ticket is also running for the board of an exclusive downtown business club. 

Sarah Kirby-Yung was an NPA candidate when she finished 10th for the last seat available on city council in 2018 by a 1,668-vote margin. That was the same night then-NPA-leader Sim narrowly lost the mayoralty race to Kennedy Stewart.

Sarah Kirby-Yung’s Vancouver Club candidacy flyer.

Kirby-Yung is one of eight people vying for six seats on the Vancouver Club board. Polling closes June 11 and the winners will be announced June 13. 

That is almost four months before the Oct. 15 civic election day. 

John Coupar, the NPA’s 2022 mayoral candidate, said individuals can make their own choices how to spend their free time, but Vancouver city council is a full-time job. 

“I was on the board of VanDusen Botanical Gardens, before I was elected as a park commissioner, but I have to say that even even as a park commissioner you don’t have a lot of extra time to to do that kind of work,” Coupar said. “I think councillors have to be very careful about allocating their time to do those types of things.”

In 2021, Kirby-Yung was the highest-paid city councillor at $103,216 plus $9,232 in local expenses. The remuneration included the $91,879 base pay, $3,048 annual supplement and bonus payments for serving on the deputy mayor and duty councillor rotation. She also received $6,650 as one of the city’s alternate directors to the Metro Vancouver board.

The Vancouver Club board seat is voluntary, but Kirby-Yung’s bio on the city hall website shows she is already busy on behalf of the public. She is council liaison to five city advisory boards and committees, vice-chair of two city council committees, member of two Metro Vancouver committees, and has additional duties on boards overseeing the Vancouver Art Gallery and EasyPark. 

Neither Kirby-Yung nor Sim responded for comment.

Coupar said his philosophy since being elected to park board in 2011 is accessibility. He said that a councillor has a duty to answer questions about their job when a reporter calls.

NPA mayoral candidate John Coupar (NPA)

Kirby-Yung’s Vancouver Club bio says she has been a member since 2005 and promotes her political advocacy for affordable housing, streamlined permitting and small business. 

“Sarah has been a long-time member,” the bio said. “She would love to serve on the board, bringing her energy to helping maintain and build on the club’s rich legacy and traditions, while modernizing events and services to ensure a facility that is welcoming, enjoyable, and sustainable.”

Kirby-Yung is running against lawyers Tim Brown, Shelley-Mae Mitchell and Matthew Swanson, management consultant Matthew Burns, former CBC and Telefilm director Marlie Oden, physician Briar Sexton, and assurance consultant Kristine Simpson.

The private Vancouver Club is housed in a 1913 Heritage A building on West Hastings near the foot of Hornby Street and hosts conferences and meetings, and boasts an athletic club and accommodations. A full membership for a Vancouver resident requires a $7,500 entrance fee and monthly dues payments that add up to $2,268 to $3,012 per year. Members receive access to 300 other exclusive properties in the International Associate Clubs network.

Kirby-Yung quit the NPA with fellow councillors Lisa Dominato and Colleen Hardwick in April 2021 after the party board picked Coupar to run for mayor. Kirby-Young, Dominato and another ex-NPA councillor, Rebecca Bligh, joined Sim’s party in April.

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