Candidate Name: Ross Siemens
Party Affiliation: Abbotsford First Electoral Society
Education: Attended Fraser Valley College and Trinity Western University
Occupation: Owner/manager of Hub Motor Service (Siemens Garage Ltd.)
Previous Political Experience: Was elected at the age of 23 to the District of Abbotsford Council in 1986 and reelected in 1988. Did not run for reelection in 1990.
Residency (city/neighbourhood): Have lived in Abbotsford all my life. Our business is in the Historic Downtown and our home is in the Mountain Village area of east Abbotsford.
Community Involvement: I was a founding member of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association, I have served on the Board of Directors of Abbotsford Community Services for the past 6 years and I serve on the Board of Directors of the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame.
Marital status/children: I have been married to my wife Kelly for 22 years. Kelly is a school teacher. We have two daughters: Ashley (20) and Alexandra (19). Ashley has attended Columbia Bible College and is enrolled for the spring semester at Trinity Western University. Alexandra is attending the University of Idaho on a track scholarship.
Social Media: facebook.com/abbotsfordfirst.com and twitter@abbotsfordfirst
Q) What do you feel are the three key issues Abbotsford voters should be considering in this civic election?
1) Dealing with the complex issues of homelessness in a respectful and meaningful manner.
2) Developing a sustainable plan to deal with our debt and infrastructure deficit.
3) Establishing and implementing a focused plan for economic development.
Q) How would you make city hall more accountable and transparent?
I believe that more accountability starts with easier access to information. Publishing an easy to read performance report that is sent out with the tax notices is an initiative that I would endorse.This publication would be along the lines of what Maple Ridge has done with its Citizens Report. We should ensure that it would contain valuable financial information verses propaganda.
Q) What’s your plan to deal with homelessness in Abbotsford?
The city needs to work with senior levels of government and private sector service providers to work towards housing availability for all our citizens. First we must establish an ACT Team through Fraser Health. An ACT Team is an acronym for Assertive Community Treatment. These teams are funded by Fraser Health and help to assess an individuals needs where they are on the street. Once a relationship is established and need are assessed appropriate housing and/or treatment options can then be accessed. Secondly, our city must engage and work with B.C. Housing to establish appropriate Housing First locations. A detailed plan to deal with homelessness is on the AbbotsfordFirst web site.
Q) Are changes required in local municipal spending? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
I believe that local government must focus on its core responsibilities. Our city has drifted off course by funding large projects that should have been left to the private sector to fund. We need to identify our priorities such as: our infrastructure deficit in regards to roads, sewer and water and focus on sustainable economic development. Densification of our urban core and industrial lands is a cost effective way to maximize our existing infrastructure. Developing industrial lands outside of our current development area should not be considered until proper infilling of our existing industrial properties has been achieved. We should not be taking any lands out of the ALR. Once the Official Community Plan is updated we need to stick to the plan.