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Young councillor walks (sometimes runs) the talk

Coun. Donovan Cavers enjoys his time working with different committees and groups.

Slightly massaging his shoulders following a weekend bicycle crash, Coun. Donovan Cavers does not complain. He simply moves on and can be seen running from bus stop to bus stop while waiting for his bike to be fixed. It's the lifestyle he has always advocated as a citizen, a federal candidate, and now a city councillor.

Cavers, 27, played an integral role in increasing transit hours, was front and centre around downtown parking issues and the need to highlight alternative means of travel. He has also suffered disappointment at the hands of fellow councillors who did not agree with his move to ban pesticide, after putting in weeks of research and work and believing he had enough votes.

Unlike some politicians who enter the ring at an early age, politics was not something Cavers ever planned for.

“In high school I was really more of a drifter between the geeks and the jocks,” he says with just a hint of a smile. “I wasn't looking for power.”

His first foray into politics was simply registering an empty ballot as a protest. A few years later his friend Matt Greenwood convinced him to run federally for the Green Party. He jumped at the chance to show voters they had other options. He is proud to have improved Green Party numbers in Kamloops.

During this time Cavers was introduced to the idea of catering as a career. Coun. Nancy Bepple had asked Cavers and Greenwood about catering an event and the duo charged too little and made no money, but an idea was born. In 2007 Cavers, a former culinary arts student, started marketing himself as a caterer and sourced out local product to use in his dishes.

With only the public library computer to use for email, Cavers' business began to grow. Conscientious Catering uses only local, organic and fair trade products. His company is the only reason he owns a vehicle, and he only uses his vehicle for catering.

With the strength of his experience in business and politics and name recognition, he was confident heading into the 2011 municipal elections. He won a seat.

“I wasn't surprised, I knew I had a base through my federal campaign.”

He'd only ever sat through one council meeting. “But when you're involved it's more engaging, it's not as boring,” he says.

One of the biggest surprises to Cavers was the amount of lobbying between councillors inside and outside of council chambers. He was somewhat shocked by the amount of public engagements, research and paperwork prior to weekly meetings.

“But I think that's the same for everyone,” he says.

He tries to read everything that comes before him and attend nearly every function he is invited to, a quick glance at his calendar shows hours upon hours booked weeks ahead of time.

Bepple says Cavers has adjusted well to the responsibilities of being a councillor, "Donovan may not have known all of what was required of being a councillor when he started, but he quickly learned the ropes, and puts in 100 per cent. He comes prepared to council meetings. He doesn't hesitate to speak his mind."

Cavers is already confident on procedure when it comes to presenting ideas or motions and knows the process inside and out. Though having to go through the proper procedure and listening to people cut down your ideas it is just part of the process, everyone throws their opinion in the middle and it gets tossed around, he explains.

“But it can be a pain in the ass sometimes,” he adds.

The self-described open book has not let any criticism get to him. Usually he reads the negative things people have to say but most people don't come straight to him, he says.

“I'm an open person, I haven't had a lot of backlash.”

Even though he hasn't suffered any serious criticism at the municipal level he has spoken with some provincial-level politicians and has no interest in running at the provincial or federal level where your personal life is attacked like it's an issue itself. Cavers is enjoying himself in the role of city councillor and even without the use of a crystal ball to predict his future, expects to run again in the next elections.

In the meantime, “I try to be an advocate,” he says, “I'm trying.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email or call (250) 819-3723.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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