A Vancouver city councillor hopes to be a candidate in one of the province's battleground constituencies.
Elizabeth Ball has announced that she'll seek the B.C. Liberal nomination in Vancouver-Fairview, which is represented by NDP MLA George Heyman.
Ball has been elected three times to council with the NPA and is the founder of Carousel Theatre.
She's a long-time advocate of the arts and past president of the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame. She's viewed as an ally by many in the LGBT community.
"I figure that the Liberals are going to get reelected because we're in such good shape economically," Ball told the Straight by phone. "I really appreciate the premier's moves in arts and culture, seniors—and having a seniors advocate—and the work that they're doing for children. All of the various policy pieces that have come out have been really interesting."
Specifically with arts and culture, the government has sharply increased funding for the B.C. Arts Council and funded a new campus for Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
"We've had so much more knowledgeable investments," Ball said. "It's not just all festivals. It's really important funding."
NDP culture critic Spencer Chandra-Herbert has often pointed out that B.C. has the lowest per capita arts investment in Canada.
Ball's family has lived in Vancouver-Fairview since she was in her 20s.
"I bought an old house, renovated it, had two kids, sent them to school, and lived through the whole experience of the neighbourhood," she noted. "I love the restaurants. I know everybody. Why wouldn't I run in my riding?"
Recently, Ball has been in the news raising concerns about the creation of a separated bike lane on West 10th Avenue behind Vancouver General Hospital.
She's argued that it would leave inadequate space for taxis, HandyDart, private cars, and emergency vehicles.
Ball has also raised the possibility of the separated bike lane impairing access for mobility-challenged people to various health facilities in the area, including the B.C. Cancer Agency, the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, and the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility.
The B.C. Liberals will choose their candidate on February 19 at the Holiday Inn (711 West Broadway).
The only other declared candidate for the nomination is communications consultant Gabe Garfinkel.
Ball told the Straight by phone that she doesn't want to trigger an expensive by-election should she be elected to the legislature. So she would time any resignation from council to ensure that this wouldn't occur.
"I would do what the [Vancouver] Charter requires me to do and I obviously want to complete my work on council," she said. "I don't want to cost the city any money."
In 2013, Heyman defeated former health minister Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid by 1,351 votes.
Heyman is seen as one of the greenest MLAs in the B.C. NDP caucus and is the critic for the environment, green economy, and technology.
“Traditionally, people have said we have to find a balance in the choice between the environment and the economy,” Heyman told the Straight in a recent interview. “But the reality is good economic-development plans rest on good environmental practices.”
In the 2009 election, MacDiarmid beat NDP incumbent Jenn McGinn by 1,233 votes.
Vancouver-Fairview has also been represented by Gregor Robertson, as a New Democrat, and Gary Collins, as a B.C. Liberal, since 2001.