Renfrew-Collingwood loses a force of nature
COMPILED BY JULIE CHENG
Local resident Chris Taulu was the first executive director of the Collingwood Community Policing Centre (CCPC) and retired in her early 80s. She passed away on January 15, 2023.
CCPC’s current executive director, Partap Sahota, called her a community advocate, mentor and friend.
Partap Sahota remembers
Through the years, Chris was a staunch advocate for the community she served. It is the reason why Vancouver as we know it has flourished because of the work she started.
She was a strong leader of what was then a non-profit organization called the Community Crime Prevention Office, which later became the Collingwood Community Policing Centre in April 1994. Chris opened the door for other community policing centres to start up in other communities.
Her skills to draw people together and get the job done made things possible for other organizations to start and grow to what they are today.
Her ability to work with organizations, for example, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Police Department, transit police, and municipal, provincial and federal governments, set the tone that the real goal was for everyone to have a better quality of life.
She was a mentor and a strict and fair teacher. She wanted people to succeed. Through the years, so many people moved forward and benefitted in interacting with Chris. Her joy was to see the community she loved grow to a safe place to live in. She accomplished that goal.
People respected her. What you see is what you got. She would drive her point until you got it, whether you agreed or not. She was a fighter to the end.
Let us remember a person who possessed a strong will, passionate beliefs and a caring spirit. Chris, you have left a mark on people you touched in your lifetime. Your legacy is solid; your torch will shine brightly as a rallying point in the city that you loved. We will miss you, dear friend.
Jennifer Gray-Grant, executive director of Collingwood Neighbourhood House called her a “force of nature who tackled issues with unbelievable vigor.”
Jennifer Gray-Grant remembers
Chris made a huge difference for Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) and for Renfrew-Collingwood.
She became active in response to the proposed SkyTrain route in the 1980s. CNH was just forming at the time. Chris, as a local resident, was a driving force behind forming and running the Joyce Station Area Planning Association, comprised of residents concerned about the development. Joyce Station Area Planning Association and CNH joined forces to ensure that the SkyTrain project, and the related development, helped rather than hindered the neighbourhood.
The negotiations around the development of Collingwood Village resulted in the first community policing centre in Canada, as well as the CNH Joyce facility, among other amenities such as Evergreen Community Health Centre, local parks and Collingwood Community School.
Chris remained active in the neighbourhood. When the possibility of new amenity space arose in 2010, with the redevelopment of the block bordered by Boundary, Vanness, Ormidale and the Kingsway laneway, Chris was keen to work with CNH to get the amenity for the neighbourhood. I was a brand-new executive director then, and Chris was a mentor.
Chris was always laser-focused on working collaboratively on figuring out what the neighbourhood wanted and then fighting for it. She supported the vision of CNH operating the new amenity space as the Annex. I fondly recall the city council meeting on the development. When Chris went to the podium, every single councillor and the mayor put down their electronic devices and focused on what Chris had to say. That’s the night city council voted to support the one-block development, including the Annex.
Chris, what a difference you made a what a legacy you created.
Celebration of life for Chris Taulu
A celebration for life for Chris Taulu will take place at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Annex (3690 Vanness Avenue and Boundary) on Saturday, March 25, 2023, at 1 pm in the main multi-service room. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.