Candidates asked to think outside the box

City of Chilliwack: Council candidates asked for their out-of-the-box idea that they would bring to the table if elected

The Progress is asking council candidates a series of questions over the next several weeks as part of our 2014 Municipal Elections coverage. QUESTION 2 was:

“What is your out-of-the-box idea that you plan to bring to the table if elected that will significantly improve something about how Chilliwack is run?”


Sue Attrill

There is an amazing team at City Hall with a wealth of knowledge and experience.  I would like to see monthly seminars offered to the public on any number of topics. It can sometimes be difficult for citizens to understand our zoning for example. What is the overall plan, our official community plan? If they want to develop their property, how do they go about it?  Young entrepreneurs or existing business owners could learn about what is required to set up business or expand.  What’s allowed in certain zones?  What is Cepco’s role and how can they help? Knowledge is power and creates an environment where opportunities abound.  I think this would go a long way to creating a more open and transparent City Hall and that’s good for everyone.

Phill Bruce

My Out of the Box idea is to continually engage people throughout my term to find out what the real issues and concerns are from the people in the street to the farmers in the field, facilitate from the people of Chilliwack how to fix there issues and concerns and how to make this community better.

Brigida Crosbie

If elected as a City Council member it’s important to remember to work together and to LISTEN to what the people of Chilliwack want. Letting the people know and feel confident that their issues and their voice have been heard. To be more open and HONEST about what is happening in our City and to stop pretending that Chilliwack doesn’t have the same issues as any other City and to acknowledge them and be proactive in dealing with these issues.

If elected as a City Council member it’s important to remember to work together and to LISTEN to what the people of Chilliwack want. Letting the people know  and feel confident that their issues and their voice have been heard.  To be more open and HONEST about what is happening in our City and to stop pretending that Chilliwack doesn’t have the same issues as any other City and to acknowledge them and be proactive in dealing with these issues.

Some examples are below…

When the City passed the Waste Recycling plant, instead of stating to the public and being open and honest,  that the site was going to be used for the treatment of hazardous waste, the City said it was going to ” facilitate the construction of a waste recycling and transfer facility. ” and the location map conveniently forgot to show this plant being built 150 meters from the Fraser River.

This is something The people in Chilliwack would’ve wanted to know about.  Don’t mess with words thinking the public won’t figure it out.  What happened with just acknowledging what was happening and being honest about it?

Our Homeless; does the City really think that asking them to leave, or shifting them from under the overpass in Chilliwack is really going to make things better? Acknowledge these people are there and be proactive in finding shelter for them. Winter is coming.  But do not ask them to leave so that you don’t see them in your view, thinking the rest of us don’t see what you’re doing, because frankly, we do! And because you’re treating the most vulnerable people this way, we know you’ll be treating the rest of us this way.

Brenda Currie

I would like to see voting promoted on a continuous basis, going out to schools and educating the youth to vote in the city, and not just at election time. I feel getting more citizens involved will allow them to have more input.

Gerry Goosen

When elected as a new member on council it will take training and familiarization time to see how the existing box operates and Chilliwack is run before one can start bringing new out of the box ideas to the table that will significantly improve the running of analready low taxed, debt free, industrial growing and recreational well equipped growing and outstanding community. However there is always room for improvement and as a councillor am willing to communicate with residents and business people and bring to the table any feasible ideas to make improvements on how Chilliwack is run.

Kim Harder

The idea that I would bring to council and that would make a tremendous difference to how Chilliwack runs is the establishment of a Youth Health Centre. Although not every issue is transferable from city to city, the Abbotsford Youth Health Centre, which has been operating for 5 years, recently received a Premier’s Award for Innovation.  Previous initiatives and focus groups have indicated a strong need for something like that in Chilliwack. I would also lobby to have  youth representation at City Hall.  When you look at the excitement young people have around events like “We Day” it’s clear that they  are wanting to make a difference and be involved.

Dick Harrington

I have called for a city-run Wi-Fi network for the whole city. This system is patterned after that presently run in Fredericton, NB.

It was begun there is 1998, with an initial investment of $65,000. That investment was paid back in full.

The “non-profit” agency that runs it is owned by the city, with the city being the sole shareholder.

The city built the Fibre network, with services run from existing telephone poles

The agency offers very competitive, low-cost service to the business community at rates lower than they can access elsewhere. Excess capacity is used in public buildings, libraries etc.- open free of charge to all citizens.

The yearly maintenance costs for the system runs to $100,000 a year- costs for which come from the industrial charges.

The taxpayer contributes nothing in to the costs.

We need such a service for Chilliwack and I will push for this when I get elected to Council. Let’s work together to make Chilliwack the “Internet” capital of British Columbia.

Moving forward together.”

Mike Kha

City Council meetings are traditionally held at city hall and that can be intimidating, especially for people who are not accustomed to that kind of environment. City hall is quite far from Yarrow, Greendale, and the south side of Sardis, so it makes any interactions between constituents, the mayor and council members seem so far away. What I purpose is that we don’t always have council meetings at city hall, but instead have meetings at different locations throughout Chilliwack. We could call this initiative the “Road Show” and let everyone be comfortable in their own environment while learning about how the city works. I believe that if we can bring city hall to “people” more people would be interested in politics, and be more engaged with the current issues.

Chris Kloot

I believe in open transparency, I am approachable and I will always have the time to hear any comments, suggestions or concerns from any resident in this great community.  I believe current council is on the right track, and I’d like to build on that.  I think of the Rural Issues Advisory Committees that go out and hold evenings for people to engage and discuss things that matter to them.  I want people to feel they matter, because they do! I want to hear peoples visions, dreams & wants for this community.

Jason P. Lum

I would like to see a Youth Advisory Committee setup at City Hall. With declining voter turn-outs, it is clear that we must work harder to educate, engage, and include a new generation of voters in the decision making process. What better way than to learn hands-on about the roles and responsibilities of Local Government than having a direct say in some of the recommendations to Mayor and Council.

Chuck Stam

My ‘out of the box’ idea is more of a back to the basics, citizen engagement idea relating to heavy snow fall events. The concept is city would pre-qualify and contract with owners of heavy equipment and farm implements to be available and ready when called upon to remove the snow from pre-determined third and fourth priority roads. This would free up our equipment and operators to remain focused on our first and second priority roads and provide safer passage to our less travelled neighborhoods and country roads.

Patti MacAhonic

Poverty Elimination Strategy – There is no reason poverty should exist in a community as wealthy as Chilliwack. I believe the root cause of some of the largest problems facing Chilliwack today is poverty. Social entrepreneurship—a drive for social undertakings that combine business principles and motivations—are emerging as promising approaches to combating poverty. I am proposing that we develop a poverty elimination strategy and policy using these innovative approaches that are measurable and address key areas such as income security, housing, food security, employment, health, and childcare. Did you know that 23% of Chilliwack children live below poverty level? According to Chilliwack Restorative Justice the incidence of seniors shoplifting food to eat has significantly increased. These two groups are our most vulnerable. This is not okay and has to be addressed. I will continue to provide opportunities for individuals and families to succeed and retain their dignity if elected for city council.

Phillip Maxwell

My ‘out of the box’ idea that I plan to bring to the table when elected is to keeping people informed, listening to opinions, concerns and suggestion, as well as putting together an action plan to get things done.  With the social media craze, people have forgotten how to talk to each other.  I want to bring this ‘crazy’ idea of talking to someone face to face back.  I will attend public events, have open forums and talk to local business owners to ensure there is a ‘personal touch’ to my seat on council.  This is to break the perception that council is unreachable.  I will have a social media presence to ensure that I am available for all people within our community.

Ken Popove

I don’t think that there is one out of the box idea that is going to change everything and make everything better. I believe we have to continue to work diligently to develop the great programs that are already in place here in Chilliwack. We should perfect and expand, connect and collaborate, and I believe this will significantly improve how Chilliwack is run.

Sam Waddington

We have an opportunity to build a tourism industry here that reflects our position in the Fraser Valley as the best place to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. If we capitalize on this opportunity there are vast economic benefits that await us in this sector, and tourism could feasibly become a cornerstone to Chilliwack’s economy in the years to come. Tourism is a labor-intensive industry with most of the operators being small businesses having large effects to the local economy. My world perspective, and business experience make me a great candidate to help Chilliwack commercialize our potential and set the foundation for a better, more sustainable future.

Richard Williams

A top priority must always be strengthening the foundations for public engagement. As such, we need a member/s of council or bylaws that are striving to redefine the current ‘box’ related to what information is available and how the public are engaged on ALL civic matters. For instance; we must start making all public (non-council) meetings/forums part of the public record like council meetings. Social media and other online forums (as examples) must become an integrated part of ‘regular council’ meetings as well as the other public meetings. Processes like the rezoning applications can also be enhanced with more online engagement. Bylaws should also be updated, or put in place making these types of changes mandatory in the future. If anyone thinks the adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ applies here, I ask you to look again at voter turnout and the general apathy towards government.