New mayor addresses Chamber of Commerce

Henry Braun speaks to Chamber of a need for clear strategic plan and long-term financial plan for city

Mayor Henry Braun addressed the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

In his second speech as mayor, Henry Braun reiterated numerous points made in his inaugural address at council on Monday.

At a sold-out Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday, he reiterated the call to build a stronger community and bring all people together to ensure concerns and priorities of the city’s residents are reflected in the discussion and the decisions from council.

Braun said there are many issues to be addressed, including homelessness, property tax levels, escalating commercial vacancies, managing growth and development, developing efficient transit systems and more.

He cited the importance of the ongoing update of the official community plan, saying that right now the way the city makes planning and land use decisions is impacting infrastructure costs.

Braun said the city must plan for the future to make Abbotsford livable, affordable and walkable.

Developing a clear strategic plan and corresponding long-term financial plan for the city are priorities, he said.

Braun spoke of creating new systems for citizens to weigh in on the performance of the government as part of a plan to demonstrate accountability in government.

There is an opportunity for the new council to increase transparency, accountability and consistency in the application of bylaws.

He said the new council will spend less time behind closed doors, only holding in-camera meetings when necessary, and communicating the rationale behind decisions.

Braun added that the number of city committees will be reduced by more than half.

He said this will free up more time for council and city staff to work on priority initiatives and “do what they do best.”

In a short question and answer period, Braun was asked about the future of the Abbotsford Centre, which hosted the money-losing Abbotsford Heat hockey team for five years until the contract was severed in April. The city had to subsidize the hockey and entertainment centre, costing $3.86 million in 2012.

Braun said the city is working on the challenge, explaining that the key to turning the centre around is finding an anchor tenant. But he said the arena will not likely make money.

“For those who may think we are going to break even, I doubt that is going to happen.”

With the changes, the yearly subsidy paid by the city could be reduced from  “$4 million-plus to maybe $1 million,” said Braun, adding that most arenas lose money and he wanted to be frank with the public about that.

Braun said he has optimism due to the quality entertainment coming to the centre. He observed that many performing acts were subsidized by the public, which has changed since the contract with the centre management company was renegotiated this fall.

The new city council consists of Couns. Les Barkman, Kelly Chahal, Sandy Blue, Brenda Falk, Moe Gill, Dave Loewen, Patricia Ross and Ross Siemens.

New to the council table are Chahal, Blue, Falk and Siemens.

Just Posted

Abbotsford woman charged after police find loaded gun in bag at mall

Danielle Rigdon, now facing 11 charges this year, was on house arrest at the time

Vehicle crashes, flips on its side in downtown Mission

The vehicle came to a stop in front of the Mission Post Office

SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford celebrates balmy start to spring

Readers share photos of how they’re enjoying the glorious sunshine

Abbotsford the hottest spot in Canada as temperatures near 25 C

Abbotsford hottest spot in Canada on Tuesday

Abbotsford school officials hope for new school approval before July

Eagle Mountain elementary school proposed back in October 2016 may finally see light this year

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Most Read