Name: Patricia Ross
Party affiliation (if any): none
Education: Graduate of Abbotsford Senior High, Graduate of Leadership for Environment and Development International
Occupation: Abbotsford City Councillor
Previous political experience: I’ve been on Abbotsford council since 1994
Residency (city/neighbourhood): City of Abbotsford, I live on Midas Street (if you require address: 2324 Midas Street)
Community involvement: Restorative Justice, Environmental Advisory committee, Homelessness Task Force, Abbotsford/Mission Water and Sewer Commission, Vice-chair of Fraser Valley Regional District and their appointee to Municipal Finance Authority, Working with groups from throughout the lower mainland to stop Metro Vancouver from building polluting garbage incinerators in this airshed and promote a better way of dealing with waste, Metro Vancouver Parks board. Aside from these current appointments, I’ve been involved in many aspects of our community including Chamber of Commerce committees and Victim Services volunteer.
Marital status/children: Married with a grown daughter
Social media: website: www.re-electpatriciaross.ca (facebook and twitter access through the website)
What do you feel are the three key issues Abbotsford voters should be considering in this civic election?
1. Homelessness, ensuring everyone has a home.
2. Environmental/quality of life threats such as Metro Vancouver’s plans to build a polluting garbage incinerator and pipelines
3. Taxes, ensuring enough for todays needs and services, while not putting at risk our future
What’s your plan to deal with homelessness in Abbotsford?
I support the recommendations of the Homeless Task force, which I participated in as co-chair and their goal that everyone has a home.
How would you make city hall more accountable and transparent?
There are currently very strict rules for local government in regards to transparency that we must abide by, but I do feel we could do a better job of communicating with people and soliciting input from them. We make better decisions when we involve the public more and respect their opinions and advice. When we present ideas, we should present the pros and cons, rather than just the positives of an idea, so people are more fully informed of all risks as well as benefits. We need to engage young people more, perhaps expanding the youth council from a few months a year to the full year. I’d like to see us do multi stakeholder roundtables, including those from economic, environmental and social sectors in all advisory committees, rather than one perspective advisories. Currently, the Environmental Advisory committee is the only one that has that intentional multi-stakeholder involvement.
Are changes required in local municipal spending? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
I see our biggest threat to our tax base as being the downloading from senior levels of government, particularly in regards to infrastructure needs (more critical as it ages), which have substantial financial costs that local government does not have the ability to fund alone. Yet senior levels are pulling away from funding those more and more. If this continues, the costs to local taxpayers will be substantial. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Union of BC Municipalities is working hard to address this on our behalf, but I believe we need to become more involved and do more to inform people and engage organizations.