By Brenlee Coates
Evan Duncan’s specialty is youths – he’s been coaching various neighbourhood sports teams for 13 years, he works with youth in custody at the Manitoba Youth Centre, and he’s barely cracked 30 himself – but he’s running for city council in the aging ward of Charleswood-Tuxedo because he wants to extend his impact to the community at large.
Instead of holding his 31 years against him, people have been receptive to his youthful energy as he’s made his rounds in the area.
“People are really happy to have someone young and energetic” in the running, he says. “That’s what they’ve been saying, ‘We want someone like you in there.’”
It’s not just Evan’s age that people are interested in; his commitment to his community is also gaining him support.
Despite having only a newborn baby with his wife, Duncan has volunteered as a drop-in coordinator for local community centres, coached teams, and helped fundraise for athletic programs for many years. “I’ve always thought that to make your community better, you have to be involved,” explains Duncan.
He’s also worked as an educational assistant in the neighbourhood – at Charleswood School and Oak Park High School – and as a juvenile counselor at the Manitoba Youth Centre. His experience with youth in custody gave him a better sense of the big picture for the city, and informed his decision to run for council. “It’s really eye-opening, and it also gave me an opportunity… to have a vision for the city,” he says.
As a councillor, Duncan feels his duty would be to be accountable to his own constituents first and foremost, and to represent them properly, but he’s also eager to use a collaborative approach to work with city council to impact the city as a whole.
“You have to be open-minded to the city, not just your community,” he says. “Our community can do so much to help these other communities.”
Duncan says his community involvement isn’t just a campaign promise – it’s a deep-rooted lifestyle he’s committed to long ago. “I’ve always been involved in the community… it may as well be as the councillor,” he says. “I would definitely like to make the biggest impact on my community that I can.”
Charleswood has been home for Duncan for his entire 31 years – he even bought his childhood home where he plans to raise his new daughter. Duncan says his mother made sacrifices so that he and his sibling could stay in the “safe and welcoming” community, and he hopes to help the area maintain that reputation.
“I love the small-town mentality of Charleswood. Not only are your neighbours your neighbours, but they’re also family at some point in time. It really makes it home.
“There are lots of great things that make it such a desirable place to live. If I’m elected, I’m going to make sure those values stay intact.”