Abbotsford voters go to the polls on Saturday, Sept. 25 for a byelection taking place to fill the vacancy left by Bruce Banman after he was elected the MLA for Abbotsford South in the October 2020 provincial election. Nine candidates are vying for the councillor position. These are their responses to three questions (each with a 100-word limit) posed by The Abbotsford News.
1. Why are you running to be a member of city council?
Although our city is financially successful and efficiently run, I am disconcerted that we are not appropriately attempting to address some of the more obvious social and environmental problems that negatively affect the daily lives of our tax-paying citizens.
2. What skills and attributes do you have that would make you a good councillor?
I am a longtime Abbotsford businessperson and employer. I have volunteered widely in our community, including hospice, restorative justice, and The Reach Gallery Museum. I have served on numerous boards such as the Chamber of Commerce, the United Church, the Rotary Club, the air show, the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association, and the provincial Green Party. I almost haven’t missed an Abbotsford city council meeting since 2007 and also attend the monthly Police Board meetings and all the meetings of the city council’s Citizen Advisory Committees. I was first appointed to the city’s Sister City Committee in 1998 and I have chaired Environmental Advisory Committee.
3. What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford and how do you think they should be addressed?
The people who live in our streets: There are typically several hundred people living in parks, wooded lots, and the streets and it costs taxpayers between $60,000 and $120,000 per year in health services, policing, and social support for each one. I will advocate for solutions like those in Medicine Hat, Alta., where homelessness has been reduced to effectively zero. Transportation: Our city is completely car-centric with very few walkable neighbourhoods and very few safe options for “active transportation” like walking, bicycles, skates, or scooters. I will diligently advocate for, where practical, viable and safe transportation alternatives to every family needing at least one car.