Donna Macdonald receives BC Achievement Award

Retired city councillor Donna Macdonald has spearheaded dozens of community initiatives inside and outside of municipal politics.

Donna Macdonald working as a forest technician in the  Kootenays in 1975.

Donna Macdonald working as a forest technician in the Kootenays in 1975.

Nelson’s Donna Macdonald is among 35 British Columbians to receive the 2015 BC Community Achievement Award.

The BC Achievement Foundation’s website states: “Having served 19 years on Nelson city council, Macdonald has spearheaded many significant city initiatives including the cultural development committee, affordable housing, social planning, recreation facilities and the development of Nelson’s waterfront pathway. She was a leader and champion for the Osprey Community Foundation and Nelson CARES Society.”

“I was completely surprised, and as the news sank in I started to feel excited and pleased,” said Macdonald in an interview with the Star.

Asked which of her achievements she is most proud of, she said “I am proud of all of them but the Osprey Community Foundation and Nelson CARES are such important foundational pieces of our community and that work was very gratifying. None of the things listed did I do myself — they were a part of efforts that involved other people.”

The accomplishments Macdonald was recognized for are all relatively recent. However, even in her early days in Nelson in the 1970s and ‘80s, before she became a politician, Macdonald was very active in the community. She was a safe home volunteer, and under her editorship the weekly newspaper What’s On became The Express. She was a founder of the women’s centre, Nelson Family Place, and a local chapter of the Sierra Club.

“I guess the theme that cuts across it all is the effort to build a vibrant and resilient community,” she said. “Much of the work I have done has been focussed on building a better community.”

Macdonald is working on a book, “about my experience on city council and how local governments are structured and how they work. It is fundamentally a desire to have more people more engaged in local government from an informed position, in the hope that we can build community together in civil and productive ways.”

Having been involved in library boards at the local and provincial level for several years, in May Macdonald will become president of the BC Library Trustees Association.

Each BC Achievement Awards recipient will receive a certificate and a medallion designed by BC artist Robert Davidson. Recipients are chosen by an independent panel consisting partly of past recipients.

The BC Achievement Foundation is an independent foundation established with an $8 million one-time endowment from the provincial government in 2003. The foundation also sponsors awards for aboriginal business, applied art and design, aboriginal art, and non-fiction.