Name: Brenda Falk
Party affiliation (if any): Abbotsford First Elector Society
Education: Fashion Design UFV, Landscape Design-Horticulture Kwantlen College
Occupation: Self Employed Farmer and Business Woman. Owner of Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro
Previous political experience: Member of the Agriculture Advisory Committee, as well as Economic Development Advisory Committee, a Member of the Mayor’s Task Force for Economic Development
Residency (city/neighbourhood): Mt. Lehman, Abbotsford
Community involvement: Co- Creator of the’ Passport to Christmas’ and the Abbotsford and Regional ‘Circle Farm Tour’.
Marital status/children: Married with 4 Children,2 Son in laws and 3 granddaughters
Social media: www.abbotsfordfirst.com
What do you feel are the three key issues Abbotsford voters should be considering in this civic election?
1. Sustainable Economic Development
2. Infrastructure Deficit
3. Homeless Issue
What’s your plan to deal with homelessness in Abbotsford?
Abbotsford has a tremendous amount of resources already available within the community. We must show leadership and allow B.C. Housing and Fraser Health to partner with private sector social service providers such as Abbotsford Community Services, Salvation Army and Mennonite Central Committee in order to get the job done effectively.
As Abbotsford First we would work with Fraser Health to establish an Assertive Community Treatment Team that is funded by the provincial government and provide health assessments and services for people living on the streets. These assessments would help us provide the appropriate housing and treatment options including long term detox centres.
Work with B.C. Housing to establish a “Housing First” project with its evidence based, best practices model of housing individuals in a supportive housing environment.
Work with MCC and Salvation Army to enhance the “Rent Bank” an innovative way to help subsidize individual families rent ensuring that families have a safe and secure home.
Allow for innovative and creative projects to be explored by community groups and continue to look to other communities for proven solutions to these ongoing issues. There is no one size fits all solution and we are committed to the long term goal of providing permanent, safe, secure and affordable housing for all of our citizens
How would you make city hall more accountable and transparent?
As part of Abbotsford First we are committed to transparency and accountability. Every tax dollar that the city spends comes out of our own pockets as taxpayers. We need to treat that dollar with respect using it wisely.
As part of Abbotsford First we would invite the B.C. Auditor General for Local Govt. to conduct an audit of the Cities financial records. Such an audit would be designed to look for waste, abuse and poor value for money spent on behalf of the taxpayer. We would work at simplifying those financial records explaining line items making them understandable by the average citizen. It’s not transparent if you need a degree to figure it out.
Publish a Citizens Report that educates citizens on how their tax dollars are spent.
Abbotsford First candidates would publish their expenses, online and in detail every 6 months
Are changes required in local municipal spending? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
We need to define spending priorities based on their net benefit to the citizens of Abbotsford.
We would be forward thinking and identify city-wide capital spending priorities, publish them and work towards those objectives, planning for the future growth and development of our community to build a long term sustainable plan for the city of Abbotsford.
Infrastructure is essential to the long term Sustainable Economic Growth of Abbotsford and we would work hard to develop in such a manner as to insure infill of our City instead of outward sprawl maximizing out existing infrastructure and maximizing revenue generated by such development. Planning for densification within the Official Community Plan would also help with transportation needs and provide a more livable and enjoyable city centre for all.