Williams, Robert Arthur

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Williams, Robert Arthur

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  • Williams, Bob

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1933-

History

Robert (Bob) Arthur Williams was born in East Vancouver, British Columbia in 1933. He attended Britannia High School in Vancouver, and then received his Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Geography from the University of British Columbia in 1955. He returned to U.B.C. where he earned his Masters of Sciences in Community and Regional Planning In 1958.

After graduation, Williams worked as an independent consultant and contractor providing work and services in municipal and community planning. He also taught as a lecturer at his Alma Mater in the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), and later, at Simon Fraser University.

Williams’ political career began in 1965 when he was elected Alderman to the city of Vancouver. In 1966 he was elected to be a Member of Legislative Assembly (M.L.A.) for the district of Vancouver East. He worked in this office until 1971.

In 1972 Dave Barrett appointed Williams as the Minister of Forest, Lands, and Water Resources. During this time, he helped to establish the Environment and Land Use Committee which worked to greatly expand park area in British Columbia, and change the pricing of natural resources. He also established the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation, and was responsible for several crown corporations including B.C. Hydro, B.C. Housing, B.C. Cellulose, Canadian Cellulose, Plateau Mills, Kootenay Forest Products, and Ocean Falls Corporation. In 1976 he established the British Columbia Institute for Economic Policy Analysis.

After his tenure as Minister, Williams continued to work in the private sector, becoming a local business owner. In 1984, he was once more elected as M.L.A. and served in office for eight consecutive years. In 1990 Williams became chair of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), and also became a member of the board of directors of Vancity Credit Union. On December 6, 1991, he was appointed as Deputy Minister to the Crown Corporations Secretariat, and in 1993 continued in a similar role as Secretary to the Crown Corporations Committee Executive Council. During this time Williams worked to transform Surrey Place Mall into Surrey City Centre, and also participated in a joint project with government officials of St. Petersburg, Russia, assisting them with land management.

From 2004 to 2006 Williams served on the Vancouver City Planning Commission, and from 2007 to 2017 he again returned to the Vancity Board of Directors. In 2017 Williams was awarded an honorary doctor of laws from Simon Fraser University. Williams is currently living in Vancouver, and continues to participate in community projects and studies.

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