My name is Hank Roos currently a paid up member of the BC Greens. Completed high school and worked the first 7 years of my working life as a structural draughtsman working for a number of engineering firms in Vancouver. After moving to Abbotsford I worked as a contractor salesman for lumber yards, and have spent the last 27 years working as a project manager and estimator for a number of general contractors, and retired 2 years ago. I have no previous political experience but have always tried to keep informed. My wife and I have been residents of Abbotsford for 42 years and currently live in the Clayburn and Beck Road area. I have served on church and independent school boards and am currently president of the Abbotsford-Mission Nature Club, a position I have held for 12 years. As a club we have partnered with the city on a successful grant application to the TD bank which allowed us to engage a class of middle school kids in tree planting at Willband Creek Park this past May. Also a class of grade 5 kids who assembled bird nest boxes (materials donated by Blackwood Building Supplies) installed in the same park. For more than 15 years my family along with our grandchildren have adopted part of our neighbourhood by picking up litter on a regular basis. As you will already have gathered I am married (50 years next year) and have one son and two daughters and 8 grandchildren. All 3 of our kids and all the grand kids have grown up in Abbotsford with the eldest daughter and 2 grandchildren now living elsewhere. My contact phone # is 604-853-4283 and e-mail is email@example.com.
What do you feel are the three key issues Abbotsford voters should be considering in this civic election?
1. How will we manage growth in a sustainable way, ensuring that future generations are not negatively but positively impacted by our current planning decisions.
2. We need to do a better job of engaging the many existing service providers and senior levels of government to deal with the significant issue of the homeless.
3. We need to make our city a more attractive place to live for the young and educated who currently move elsewhere upon graduation by also attracting new clean hi-tech industries to Abbotsford.
What’s your plan to deal with homelessness in Abbotsford?
We need to move immediately with approvals for the proposed Dignity Village on Valley Road as well as proceeding as fast as possible to still acquire provincial funding for a low barrier 22 bed unit which was available for the previous project but rejected at city hall. Neither of these 2 projects will bring an end to our current needs however, it is critical that we make a start while continuing to pressure senior governments whose responsibility it is to provide housing and or health care needs.
How would you make city hall more accountable and transparent?
We need to spend a lot more time and effort listening to residents before making decisions that significantly affect their neighbourhoods. We also need to find new ways to engage segments of our community that currently can’t be bothered to vote perhaps because they have become disillusioned with local government. For example holding a council meeting in a larger venue at the UFV Abbotsford campus allowing for lots of student input could be a useful means to connect with the student population after all, if we want to encourage them to live here we need to hear from them to find out what that would require in terms of a liveable community.
Are changes required in local municipal spending? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
I think that we need to address the current underfunding for “arts and culture”. As well we need to start a long term dedicated fund to purchase valuable, undeveloped green spaces in the upland areas to address future needs for recreation and to protect valuable eco-sensitive areas already identified in a biophysical inventory. Other B.C. jurisdictions have done that very successfully by using such a fund to purchase land when opportunities arise. We seem to be able to find the funds to create green spaces after land has been rezoned and expensive as for example around Mill Lake. I suggest we might want to learn from the past and be more visionary for the future.