After listening to many residents in Abbotsford these are the top issues, they asked me to focus on as their Councillor:
-Safety and Crime
-Industrial Land use
-Community Sports Parks and Recreation
Safety and Crime
-Gang Violence: We need a Provincial and Regional Strategy, with the cooperation and involvement of both our Community agencies and our Public Education partners.
Let’s bring all impacted agencies to the same table and layout a wrap-around strategy together, this way we can eliminate overlap and maximize precious resources.
-Drug use, Mental Illness and Homelessness: Federal, Provincial and Municipal Strategy
-A wrap-around plan with Governmental, Non-Governmental Organizations and Local Community Agencies drafting action plans to address Mental illness, Addiction Recovery, and outreach to the homeless.
We need to work together with the Court System and our local Police to focus on this small number (less than 30 individuals with more than 100 convictions each) of repeat offenders who continue to commit 90% of community crimes by taking them off our streets through rehabilitation programs or incarceration. This would allow our APD to focus most of their attention and resources on that 10% of crime.
Industrial Land use – ALR Controlled
Def: “The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial designation in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted. The ALR protects approximately 4.6 million hectares of agriculturally suitable land across British Columbia.”
ALR: “is administered by the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), consisting of a chair and six vice-chairs appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council of British Columbia (cabinet) and twelve regular commissioners appointed by the provincial Minister of Agriculture.”
-while it is essential to protect Farming and Lands used for Agriculture, there is discussion needed for lands that are not and may never be suitable for Farming that is held in the ALR, these lands should be repurposed.
-South Fraser Highway widening and Commercial & Retail land use along corridor
Benefits = attract future Industrial and Commercial businesses, create local jobs which keeps our residence working in our City, keeps them off the freeway and increases our Municipal tax base.
We do not want to let businesses like Kal Tire Warehouse or Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery to set up in other municipalities around us, offering their citizens jobs in their Community while our residence travel outside of our community looking for employment.
Businesses like these are a huge revenue generators for the City, offsetting our residential tax base.
Our City is expected to continue to grow to 200,000 residents in the next 30-50 years. As we continue to densify the center of the City, by building vertically, this puts a major strain on our aging infrastructure. The cost of upgrading essential services continues to grow year by year.
As I have discovered, an evaluation of inventory of aging infrastructure has been completed and now the City needs a financial plan for replacement.
Present revenue sources are DCC (Developmental Cost charges), Provincial and Federal Funding and other forms of local taxes.
The City of Abbotsford just raised the DCC costs for developers which may cause some of them to go and do business in other Fraser Valley Communities. We must do better at being “business friendly” by minimizing bureaucratic processes and costs in our building department while maintaining a high standard of development. The Permit application timeline is unacceptable at present, time is money for developers and investors. We need to streamline the process to better serve our community.
Community Sport Parks and Recreation
One of the most effective long- term strategies to prevent youth from creating their own less productive activities is to keep them busy in constructive activities in their community.
“Sports and recreation have the unrivalled ability to give children a sense of belonging, meaning, value, and purpose no matter where they are from. The structure that a team provides, led by coaches or adult volunteers who care about them, instills a sense of confidence that can stay with a child for the rest of his or her life. And by bringing more opportunities to our community, we can create truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for our children!”
I remember the impact my community sports involvement had on me growing up. The teams I played for in my youth kept me from making all types of wrong decisions and from hanging-out with the wrong crowd.
As a father, my children participated in such community sports programs as Angels Baseball and Falcon Football. As we travelled to the surrounding communities in the Fraser Valley and saw first-hand the quality of their facilities compared to lack in Abbotsford, it became clear that we need to do better, and we can. The P 3 concept has generated all kinds of opportunities around our Province by creating partnerships with Provincial, Local and Private funding to create playing fields for generations to come. Not only will it benefit Abbotsford families by giving them better and more opportunities, it also generates income for the City by holding tournaments and special competitive events here in our own back yard.