Rick Barkwell, a financial advisor with Raymond James Ltd. in Abbotsford, plans to run for election to city council this November.
He previously worked for Black Press in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Surrey in sales and management.
Barkwell says that Abbotsford has many positives: an international airport, regional hospital and cancer centre, the University of the Fraser Valley, large agricultural based businesses, diverse retail stores and service based industries.
“Our growth and our future lies in how we promote, engage, and develop these strengths.”
He said some disadvantages are that Abbotsford’s large geographic area puts “tremendous strain” on city-provided services.
“We face issues for transit, emergency services, road and sewer upkeep, water supply and social services that are quite unique to our city.”
Barkwell says the Abbotsford Centre needs a “long-term revenue positive tenant.”
He says the city must develop a responsive approach to the affordable housing and homeless situations, working in conjunction with local service agencies and the provincial government.
Barkwell says that fiscal responsibility and well-thought-out strategic planning will lead the way to improved services going forward.
He said that with Abbotsford’s high unemployment rates, job creation needs to be a priority.
“If we look to the east and west we will see massive growth in job creation in industrial, commercial and housing developments. Abbotsford has a ‘lack of cranes in the air’. There needs to be more development that complies with our community plan but city hall must make it easier for developers to get their projects moving forward.”
Barkwell was born in Abbotsford and volunteers his time with Abbotsford Minor Hockey and with the Abbotsford-Sumas Rotary Club. He has served in the past on the stewardship committee of his church.