B.C. ELECTION 2017: Donovan Cavers' passion has powered early entrance into politics - InfoNews

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B.C. ELECTION 2017: Donovan Cavers' passion has powered early entrance into politics

Donovan Cavers is running in the Kamloops-South Thompson riding as the Green Party candidate.
May 05, 2017 - 9:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - The day after the provincial election, whether he wins or loses, Donovan Cavers will probably spend some time enjoying the outdoors, taking a calming breath.

Cavers is well known in Kamloops for his politics and outspoken nature, a double-edged blade some days. The youngest member of city council and a well-known advocate for environmental and progressive policies, he’s raised the ire of critics with outbursts and questionable conduct. He puts that down to enthusiasm for his hometown and important issues.

“I’m a passionate person and I don’t try to hide that,” he says. “People like the type of person that I am, and the type of enthusiasm and energy that I have.”

It’s that passion that got him into politics in the first place. His original campaign for a seat on city council was due in a big part to his concern about transit and alternative transportation.

“They were looking at raising transit fares that I thought was a bad idea,” he says. “Increasing the costs I thought was a bad move that would discourage people from using the transit system, so I got really involved in that campaign and that was the issue that really galvanized me to run.”

Cavers himself bikes around the city, often arriving to council meetings on two wheels.

That youthful energy — Cavers is still in his 30s — is something he wants to bring to the legislature as a Green Party MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, but he’s working on the edge that gets him into trouble, and knows that stepping into provincial politics means more scrutiny, unlike what he’s experienced before.

Dealing with that might mean more time in nature, Cavers' ‘happy place.’

“I love being outdoors. Running, cross-country skiing, hiking, canoeing. Whenever I have free time I love to get outside,” he says. “If I’m ever feeling anxious or overwhelmed, if I go outside it just calms me right down.”

He can’t list a favourite place to delve into the wild, and instead lists off a half dozen parks or areas before trailing off, explaining that anywhere works, really.

The fact he can list off almost every good hike around Kamloops is no surprise; he’s never really left the region. He moved here from the family farm in Chase at age 11 and has stayed based in Kamloops ever since, except a winter in 100 Mile House and another in France. The farm is still in his family, run by his brother, Tristan and on weekends Cavers is a common sight at the farmers market, taking care of his niece while her parents work. In that time he finds a unique outlet.

“Just hanging out with her and watching her experience the world is a bit of creative outlet for me,” he says. “She’s discovering the world.”

Watching his niece at the Kamloops Farmers Market is something he can relate to, too.

“I pretty much grew up at the farmers market,” he says. “My dad and my mum were basically founding members of the farmers market in the 70s.”

While Cavers career is still in food, he’s gone a different route, starting his own small business a decade ago after graduating from Thompson Rivers University culinary program. Conscientious Catering, where he’s the owner and chef, is an example of how Cavers’ politics informs his actions, including sustainable food and a focus on local economy.

That hometown connection informs pretty much everything he does, from his buying choices to his politics. He chose to be interviewed in Zack’s Coffee because he knows the owner and, before sitting down for lunch and a conversation, he chats with the woman behind the till, the coffee shop’s owner’s mother.

“I know the owner, Andrew Blackwell. The Blackwell family is well-rooted in our community,” he says. “And this is where I chose to have my announcement last September because I like to support small businesses and local businesses. Whenever people want to go for meetings I always choose a local owned and operated coffee shop to keep my dollars in the local community.”

While a job in the legislature in Victoria would take him away from the city, he’s always going to be from Kamloops.

“I like the size of the community,” he says. “It’s not too small that it doesn’t have any amenities and it’s not too large, so when you walk downtown on Victoria Street you bump into people you know.

“I never saw a reason to leave.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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