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Olympic race walker considers run for Richmond council

Evan Dunfee will take part in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Richmond Olympic racewalker Evan Dunfee training in Richmond

Evan Dunfee sees a lot of Richmond on his daily walks preparing him for the Tokyo Olympics.

This has given him a up-close view of his hometown, so much so that he’s contemplating a run for council in October 2022.

“I’m lucky enough my sport involves putting on a pair of shoes and going out and being in the community… having a very intimate view of the city at that level,” Dunfee said.

The full-time athlete, who will be competing in race walking at the summer games, said he’s had a lot of freetime during the pandemic and he’s started watching council meetings online, something he finds “fascinating.”

The day-to-day decision-making at the council table about the city he’s lived in all his life is something he would like to participate in – although he hasn’t made a final decision yet whether he’ll run in the next municipal election.

But he is interested in helping shape what Richmond will look like over the next 30 to 100 years.

Dunfee’s top concerns include green issues, and, although there is much discussion about climate climate at the council table, he doesn’t think enough is being done at the city level.

“I haven’t seen action that lives up to the words,” he said.

He was surprised to see the Lansdowne development - that will include “two hulking car-centric roads” through it – approved by council. He’d rather see development in Richmond modelled after what Paris and Barcelona are doing.

“I want a downtown core where pedestrians and cyclists are the priority and cars, while still around, don’t dominate the space,” he added.

However, Dunfee said, he is still “listening and learning” and he said he doesn’t know if he has the right solutions yet.

But making sure the “most vulnerable” people are heard in decision making is another issue Dunfee would like to champion, which he thinks would make the city more equitable.

“(I want to make) sure that the voices that are heard are representative of the City of Richmond, not just the entitled few… the people that have the time to take a few hours in the middle of their day to speak at a public hearing,” Dunfee said.

In the meantime, Dunfee is continuing his training for the Olympics, which kick off July 23.