Former Board President Remembers Challenges of Centre’s Early Years 

Michael McKinley

By Michael McKinley (Former board member and HSCPC President 2002 – 2005)

I became involved with the Hastings Sunrise CPC for the noblest of reasons: property. My wife Nancy and I had just bought a house in Hastings Sunrise, and we wanted to make sure that our house prospered.

We had moved here from the West End, and before that, Toronto, and before that all over the place, but I had grown up in Marpole Oakridge and did not know Hastings Sunrise very well, except that I had passed through it to go the PNE as a kid, and to Hastings Park to learn how to lose money on the horses with my dad, but we loved the poetry of the name. It was where the sun came up. The start of a new day, and so, the start of our new life in this interesting and dynamic neighborhood as a new millennium ticked over.

I have not lived in Hastings Sunrise since 2009, but I can imagine how much it has changed given how change happens in cities, and especially in ones like Vancouver. In the year 2000, it was a community of people who had lived there a long time, and were fully invested in its success, and people who were passing through. And people like us, who had just planted our flag and wanted it to fly in the right direction. Former Board President Remembers Challenges of Centre’s Early Years

We realized that the community had issues different to those we had experienced in the West End, and when Nancy was accosted by a drug dealer in Pandora Park, right across the street from our house, we thought we should contact the CPC and see what they could do for us.

But I quickly learned that the HSCPC succeeds because of what the community does with it, and for it. I learned this by winding up on the CPC executive team with Elaine Barbour and Faye White and many other wonderful people and we soon had a crisis. Our coordinator bailed, and we needed someone to come on board as our new coordinator and make the CPC into the organization that we all dreamed it could be.

Enter Clair MacGougan. He applied for the job, and we were dazzled. He had everything we needed: smarts, drive, vision, creativity, and decency. He was beyond perfect. We said the job is yours. He said, “Well, hmmm. The pay is low.” (It really was!) Suddenly, we saw perfection heading into the sunset. I remember saying in desperation to Clair, “We know, we know, but if you stick with us, we will raise your pay and the sun that rises over Hastings each morning shall shine upon us all.” And I hoped with all my heart that what I said was true.

To our delight, Clair took a chance with us, and now, nearly a quarter of a century later, you can see how lucky we were that he did. In reality, we could not have paid Clair enough, given what he has done for the community and the CPC which serves it, and whom the community serves in return. It’s the perfect duet and has become a “how to” model for the city.

Here’s to the next quarter century of golden morning light on the Hastings Sunrise CPC, and to the wonderful people who make it such a force for good.

Michael and his wife, Nancy, operate Libertayo, a multimedia company based in Brooklyn, New York. Michael is a filmmaker, journalist and the author or co-author of 11 books on military intelligence, religion and hockey, including Hockey: A People’s history. See