Speaking to a crowd of more than 400 at Tradex, Mayor Henry Braun touched on everything from crime to the official community plan (OCP) and agriculture at the annual mayor’s breakfast on Wednesday.
Braun also lauded the work of the city planning department for the recognition the city has been receiving for its OCP and follow-up Plan200K process, which together have won several recent awards. Braun said the plans have other cities calling him to inquire about the specifics.
He also said crime is down four per cent from 2016, and the crime rate locally is lower than the surrounding jurisdictions.
“We’re not happy about the crime rate but we need to keep it in context,” he said. “We strive to be a safe community.”
Braun said the city continues to tackle the issue of homelessness, pointing to the recent opening of the Hearthstone Place supportive housing project.
The Foundry Abbotsford project will also help youth with mental health and substance abuse problems, and he said the two projects are examples of the city working with the federal and provincial governments to make life better for Abbotsford residents.
The next big project is the $150 million new courthouse, which is expected to be completed in 2021.
Braun said the film industry continues to see Abbotsford as an attractive location, with 35 productions using the city.
Industrial land strategy and the usage of the Agricultural Land Reserve were also important issues mentioned by Braun.
“We need to make certain that we don’t take our agriculture industry for granted,” he said.
He also shared that a new app is set to be launched to connect citizens to city services such as garbage pickup, and the app will be an easy way to speak with city staff.
“It’s been an exciting three years, and we want to continue building momentum,” Braun said.