There are 21 candidates running for eight councillor positions in Abbotsford in the municipal election on Saturday, Oct. 15. (File photo)

There are 21 candidates running for eight councillor positions in Abbotsford in the municipal election on Saturday, Oct. 15. (File photo)

Abbotsford council candidates respond to questions

21 people vying for eight spots at the local council table

There are 21 candidates running for eight councillor positions in the municipal election on Oct. 15. The Abbotsford News posed two questions to each candidate.

For more on the candidates, visit The Abbotsford News’ special election section here or the Election 2022 tab on our website.

JAS ANAND

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: I want to shock the system and change the world. Abbotsford can, should, and will be an example not just for British Columbia, but for Canada and perhaps the entire world. Together we can make our community better and stronger; it all starts with us, here, on October 15th.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: A low voter turnout and indifference are the two biggest issues. There are more direct issues such as homelessness, affordability struggles, lack of job security, and inaccessibility but none of these can be tackled unless we get enough of our community to get involved and work in unison.

LES BARKMAN (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: I want to continue to be an independent thinker as the City of Abbotsford moves forward. Being accessible and listen to residents, developing new assets, update our infrastructure to keep our teams playing in our city rather than neighbouring communities. New ideas for employee retention to bring city quicker services.

Q:What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Controllable and non-controllable

1.a) employee retention

1.b) making city hall a welcoming place to do business

1.c) continuous relationship building with our city partners ABDA, S.D. 34, arts and culture groups.

2.) funding from our senior governments, flooding issues, homelessness, infrastructure grants.

SANDY BLUE (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

I’m proud we’re now on a solid financial footing with plans to guide our growth to 200,000+ people. Much great work has been done, but there is much more to do. If elected I will continue to work hard to ensure our city is the very best it can be.

Q:What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Housing and affordability. Big issues across BC. Abbotsford’s solid relationships and advocacy with provincial and federal government has secured funding for critical infrastructure and services. We will continue to advocate on priority issues. Time is money. A strategic priority is streamlining processes to improve wait times for developers and businesses.

PATRICIA DRIESSEN

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: I was born in Abbotsford, my husband and I grew up here, our families live here, we have our businesses here and we are raising our children here. I want Abbotsford to be a safe and thriving city and will bring a fresh voice and renewed energy to council.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: I believe every member of our community has different priorities – homelessness, crime, cost of living, parks etc. A council representative should strive to address as many as possible. My goal is to move all of Abbotsford forward, creating a vibrant city where we can live, work and play.

DAVID EVANS

Q:Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: After a recent article in your paper I realized that Abbotsford’s current council is out of touch with the most serious issue facing everyone on this planet, global climate change. Since that article, Abbotsford recorded the hottest August on record after last year’s hottest day on record during the heat dome.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, which is caused by global warming, and its impact on people everywhere, especially the younger generations who are faced with, not just homelessness but HOPELESSNESS. What future do they have if we don’t solve the first issue?

TIM FELGER

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: Before society can survive the next five years, people are going to have to accept that the age of entitlement is over. They will have to accept a new reality and learn to live in smaller houses, get rid of their cars and ride the public transportation.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Politicians behave in unproductive ways. The federal politicians have facilitated the problems of climate change and environmental collapse by giving our sovereignty to the World Economic Forum. You cannot trust federal politicians who use junk science. We have to correctly identify the problem as geo-engineering, the causation of climate change.

SIMON GIBSON

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

Our residents/taxpayers, I believe, would benefit from my strong elected experience both as an Abbotsford councillor and provincial legislator (MLA). I feel I have much to contribute and would immediately be an effective and productive member of the team. I have received much encouragement to run from many residents.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: 1. The related issues of homelessness, addiction and mental illness require the full participation of the province – we don’t have sufficient funds to address it ourselves. I am supportive of abstinence-based treatment programs. 2. Sumas Prairie engineering – including a new pump station and diking – should be implemented at the first opportunity.

DAVE LOEWEN

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: First of all, it gives me enjoyment to serve my community on council. Council is about to undergo change in leadership (mayor) and the addition of a minimum of two new council members. I believe my years of experience and skill set will help provide stability during this time of transition.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Affordability and growth: Housing, fuel, food, and services, to name a few, have become less affordable to more people. These economic pressures exerted on our residents require that local government manage its finances prudently, while continuing to provide essential services to its residents in cost-effective and affordable ways that don’t put undue pressure on property taxes. Furthermore, council must exercise discipline in following the plans arrived at through public consultation.

DAVID McLAUREN

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: Abbotsford is a great place to live, and I believe we’re all in this together. Our strength is best seen in our communities characterized as safe, strong, and sustainable neighbourhoods. I’m running to create a long-term plan for our city – a plan that promotes sustainable economic development, futures that are built better, demonstrate strategic leadership, celebrates our communities, and a sense of identity.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Business-friendly: It is about time to streamline and leverage business connections as a business-friendly hub in the Fraser Valley and beyond. Community engagement and housing affordability: Need a strategic comprehensive plan for Abbotsford housing! Did you know that there is a big divide that exists between east and west Abbotsford? Break the walls and build bridges.

ALEX MITCHELL

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: I am an experienced local government leader and economic development professional running as an independent voice. My years of service inside Abbotsford city hall, and in the private sector, provide a depth of experience and policy expertise as I work to build a more business-friendly, livable and safer Abbotsford.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A:Economic development and infrastructure planning. Abbotsford continues to grow and we need economic development at the city to attract investment and retain jobs. We also need to develop a long-term capital reserve plan to invest in infrastructure where we are falling behind including recreation amenities, flood mitigation, and transportation/transit.

TOM NORTON

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: Progressive, proactive, collaborative – in 1985 I switched gears, leaving the classroom for police work. Always an educator, my passion for learning is second only to health and wellness. Nothing is more important to me than the health and well-being of my family, colleagues, friends and the community we live in.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Abbotsford suffers from an identity crisis. No longer a ’50s farming community, it has big-city issues that can’t be ignored. Risk averse with little investment in infrastructure, Abbotsford struggles to support a welcoming environment for families, business, active transportation, public safety and sport so that has to change.

PATRICIA ROSS (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: I have the experience, skill set and unique international training in sustainable communities education that is inclusive, balanced and forward thinking, which in this time where we are experiencing the effects of climate change, would benefit decision making on council.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Managing rapid growth in a sustainable way – balancing economic, environmental and social needs to create a community people enjoy, feel welcome, attracts and supports solid businesses. Climate change resiliency, particularly relating to flood recovery and prevention.

BHARATHI SANDHU

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

I am the ONLY candidate to be bringing a professional financial management background to office. Fiscal discipline, budgetary analysis and long-range financial planning are key deliverables I’ve been using to serve my client base for the last 18 years in private and corporate work. I bring a wide range of leadership skills from various not-for-profits in the city. I believe that the two skill sets combined is what Abbotsford needs for sustainable development, with a long-range approach.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

Sustainable development needs collaboration of key stakeholder groups and integration into current infrastructure with long-range plans to add more. Public safety is a key concern.

DAVE SIDHU (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: I was born here, I was brought up here, and I’m raising my daughter here. I want to make sure we are moving Abbotsford forward for both this generation and the next. I’m running for council because I’m passionate about making our community a better place.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Housing affordability is the top issue affecting young families. From community partnerships and creative housing solutions to reducing red tape and increasing supply, we need to be doing everything we can to make housing more affordable for families. Improving our parks and recreation is also a key priority of mine.

GURNOOR SIDHU

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: I want to use my public service experience in various integral community establishments, such as the Abbotsford Police Department and Abbotsford Regional Hospital, to serve our community at a higher level. I would like to use my passion, motivation and energy as fuel to be a driving force of change.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Housing and public safety. The housing crisis requires collaboration with the provincial and federal government for funding. This retains our skilled workers in Abbotsford, creating a booming economy for our city. Additionally, we want to protect every resident and ensure they feel safe in their community.

DAO TRAN

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: My name is Dao Tran, with my thankful heart to the city that opened their arms to me 37 years ago as a refugee. I enjoy volunteering with many programs to serve the people in this city. If elected, I will work hard to serve all people in Abbotsford.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: I believe the two biggest issues in Abbotsford are low-income housing and homelessness.

MARK WARKENTIN

Q: Why are you running to be a member of city council?

A: I am a business lawyer, with a long track record of public service including six years on the Abbotsford Police Board, and president of the Chamber of Commerce. I want to bring this experience to council, to ensure we are making smart, long-term decisions as Abbotsford grows to 200,000+.

Q: What do you believe are the two biggest issues in Abbotsford?

A: Smart Growth and safety. Abbotsford is growing – it’s a great opportunity that we need to manage and shape. Smart growth gives us prosperity and a livable city. With that growth comes the responsibility to keep our residents safe. That means supporting police, health, and social services.

The News did not receive responses to the two questions from Kelly Chahal (incumbent), Reann Gasper, Amritpal Mund and Steve Pimm.

Abbotsford City HallBreaking NewsElection 2022Municipal election

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