Hand of a person casting a vote into the ballot box during elections. (File photo)

Chilliwack Votes 2022: The Progress Q&A with city council candidates

Answers to the first 2 of 5 questions asked – Personal information and the biggest issue

The Chilliwack Progress asked candidates running for mayor and city council five questions in advance of the municipal election on Oct. 15.

Each candidate was required to keep answers to all questions below 100 words.

Only mayoral candidate and incumbent Ken Popove and city council candidate Debora Soutar did not respond.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (i.e. background, previous experience in local government).

2. What do you see as the biggest issue facing the community, and how do you intend to tackle it?

3. What type of development would you like to see in your community, and what steps would you take to attract it?

4. If elected, what is the most relevant skill or experience you can contribute to council?

5. Why should local residents vote for you?

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What follows is the answer to the first two questions.

Answers to the question 3 is here and questions 4 and 5 are here.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (i.e. background, previous experience in local government).

Ian Carmichael (running for mayor)

I am a father, grandfather, son, brother, bread-winner, volunteer, student, friend.

We know that if we don’t ask for better, we won’t get it. We know better comes with effort. I have a long track record of working as a mentor, facilitator, collaborator and consensus builder with both community and governments at all levels.

We all want to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren. We face a multitude of issues and challenges in rapidly changing times. No one has all the answers, yet my experience tells me, we make meaningful contributions when we, work for better.

Brent Bowker

I’m a husband, father of two young boys and an outdoors loving, forward-looking tech worker looking to positively impact my community. I was raised on a farm and have worked in the software industry for the past 12 years helping utilities and commercial businesses reduce their energy use.

I have a unique background in a high growth industry combined with rural knowledge to help me understand the unique needs of our community.

Nicole Huitema Reid

I am a long time resident of Chilliwack and am the general manager of Community Futures South Fraser I work collaboratively with Chilliwack’s Economic Resource Network focusing on the long-term growth of Chilliwack. Through Chilliwack Healthier Community, I have served task teams dedicated to Poverty Reduction, Food Security, Mental Health Awareness, and Transportation Innovations. This hands-on community work has given me a unique insight to the complexities of Chilliwack’s social issues and infrastructure needs. My husband Brad and I have raised our two daughters here, and owned many local businesses.

Christ Kloot

Second term city councillor seeking a third term, lifelong Chilliwack resident raising my family here, I’m a dairy farmer and Realtor, I’m passionate about agriculture and preserving agriculture land, managing sustainable growth and living within our means. Love hiking with my retrievers, and I enjoy amateur photography showcasing this beautiful place we are blessed to call home.

Jason Lum

I’m a three-term Councillor in Chilliwack. I’ve spent over ten years working hard on issues important to the region. I represent both Chilliwack, and the Fraser Valley as a five-term board chair of the FVRD. I’m also a past President of the LMLGA and Director of the UBCM. I have the knowledge, experience, and relationships to continue to be an effective advocate for the needs of citizens in Chilliwack. My professional background is diverse and includes; Past President Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, UFV top 40 Alumni, Business Owner, Fraser Valley Healthcare Foundation VP, Organic Farmer.

Mike McLatchy

Chilliwack family man and local business owner supporting development of Paramount Project, local schools, Chilliwack Fire Training Grounds and District 1881. As a Rotarian, I contributed to Zero Barrier School Playground. And donated to local charities, Chilliwack Hospice Society, Children’s Charitable Foundation, and Chilliwack Community Services. I actively volunteer my time with Meals on Wheels, Rotary Trail clean-ups and the building and maintenance of Gwynne Vaughan Park Pavilion. I’m a hard worker with a “can-do” attitude, getting things done.

Bud Mercer

I am a candidate for re-election. My wife and I have lived in Chilliwack since 1992. I have served Canada, the Province of B.C. and the City of Chilliwack for over 40-plus years. Four years ago I made promises to the citizens of Chilliwack and was rewarded with their vote and their trust. I committed to focus on public safety, parks and trails for people of all ages and capabilities, quality development, maintain a low tax rate and continue to build a city that is inclusive, diverse and accessible to everyone. If re-elected to council, my work and commitment will continue.

Jared Mumford

I was born and raised in Chilliwack on the south side, now I’m raising my family on the north side. I am a father first. I have extensive experience in governance as elected Chair of the Chilliwack Board of Education, as Co-Chair of Chilliwack Healthier Community and a few other boards. I also volunteer in the community as a Rotarian, with the Seniors Resource Society, Restorative Justice and the Downtown Chilliwack Community Market. Lastly I am part of the Little Mountain Preservation Project and Chilliwack Park Society. My platform is based on work I am already doing.

Amber Price

My name is Amber Price and I have had the privilege of getting to know many people as owner of The Book Man. I have also enjoyed connecting with people as a Founder and Director of the Chilliwack Mural Festival. I have served on impactful boards, task groups and committees for the past 24 years, two of which were appointed by Mayor and Council (Tourism Chilliwack and CEPCO). I am 44 years old, and live on Fairfield Island with my husband and our seven-year-old son, and my parents also reside with us in our multi-generational home.

Jeff Shields

I am seeking re-election after serving one term on city council. I have been a chartered accountant for 30 years and for the last 22 years I have been CFO for a local family-owned company that employs over 200 people in our community. I have always had a passion for giving back to the community and have served on numerous boards including Big Brothers, CEPCO, Community Services, and Chilliwack Flight Fest. I’ve also coached soccer, been a volunteer firefighter, and am a long-time Rotarian. I have lived in Chilliwack most of my life and I am married with two daughters.

Harv Westeringh

Born and raised in Greendale, and then lived in Chilliwack, Sardis, Eastern Hillsides and Rosedale. Grew up on a dairy farm, and until last year, had a small dairy farm in Rosedale. I am a local house builder and a Realtor. The last four years was my first term as a city councillor. My role was Affordable Housing, Development Advisory, Rural and Ag Committee, Community Advisory Board (homelessness), Public Art, and Tourism Chilliwack. Previously, president of East Chilliwack Elementary PAC, Real Estate Board of Directors, and president of the Upper Fraser Valley Hockey League. Married with two kids

2. What do you see as the biggest issue facing the community, and how do you intend to tackle it?

Ian Carmichael

The issue of homelessness is multi-faceted and well beyond the ability of the city to solve by its own means. Practical and pragmatic, build our relationships with community groups, private investment and senior governments. I favour advancing a Housing First model with integral health services and supports, to help citizens. Working with partners, the city needs to prioritize, diverse housing types, rental housing for five-plus residents housing mix, purpose built multi-generational, affordable housing etc., enhancing livability, transportation and amenities without encroaching on the ALR.

Brent Bowker

Broadly speaking, I want to ensure Chilliwack is a place that works for families. The number of young families is increasing in Chilliwack and we need to make sure our city is one where children can thrive. We need to ensure they have access to swimming lessons, trails to explore and higher educational opportunities as they age.

I’m experiencing these issues firsthand and will ensure we follow through with planned budget expenditures in these areas as well as keeping our service contractors (e.g. YMCA) performing as promised.

Nicole Huitema Reid

The rapid growth our city is experiencing is impacting many people in different aspects. There are new stressors on infrastructure, social services, and affordability. Ensuring we focus on innovative transportation solutions, safe solutions for walking and cycling, continued dialogue with the First Nations communities, and densified housing in urban areas with sustainable neighbourhood plans. I will build strong partnerships with the provincial and federal governments to access programs that will support our community with collaborative projects for social services and infrastructure.

Christ Kloot

Housing and housing affordability. As the population grows, pressure on housing is apparent not only here in Chilliwack, but across the region. I will ensure a wide range of housing opportunities are explored and implemented recognizing housing needs are changing and aging in place is vital to health and well-being. One example is we have removed the rezoning process on R1A properties to allow rental suites and coach houses, subject to design guidelines and parking on site to blend seamlessly into existing neighborhoods, which in turn has significantly increased options for rental housing within the city.

Jason Lum

Community Safety/Homelessness. If re-elected I will continue my work implementing the Community Safety Plan. Our work is focused on changing the underlying conditions that cause homelessness, and influence and promote criminal activity, victimization, and insecurity. This plan is the culmination of many hours working alongside stakeholders including the RCMP, Fraser Health, The Province of BC, Crown Counsel, City Staff and others. Our goal is to create an accountable, goal-oriented, multi-agency approach to making Chilliwack stronger and safer for all.

Mike McLatchy

Our city is doing a good job, and I believe we can do better to address the challenges arising as a result of our rapid growth. I am running for city council because I can make an impact and contribute to positive changes for the good of families, businesses and the community.

The biggest challenge I see is rapid growth with aging infrastructure.

Bud Mercer

Public Safety: We say these words almost immediately we think about policing. This is far from true. Public Safety includes multiple agencies from all levels of government. When not engaged and committed things go downhill quickly. This has happened in Chilliwack. And then, surprise, it becomes a police problem. In the past four years we have worked with all of these agencies and seen many improvements. If re-elected my work will continue as co-chair of the Public Safety Committee and the chair of the Integrated Community Safety Task Force to continue to make our streets safe.

Jared Mumford

Our biggest issue revolves around affordability, and in particular housing affordability and food security. Being vice-president of the Downtown Chilliwack Market Society, member of the Chilliwack Food Council and part of the visioning team for the Chilliwack Community Food Hub I have a clear understanding of current food production / distribution and food security organizations. I will use that knowledge to work with other food security experts on continuous initiatives regarding food processing, gleaning use, food education and protection of our local farms.

Amber Price

The growth that Chilliwack is experiencing is exciting, but we are leaving vulnerable community members behind. I believe that we must close the gap in affordable, plentiful and stable rental housing inventory in Chilliwack, and fast. Community members are choosing between paying the rent and being able to afford medication and good quality food. Many citizens and families are one pay cheque away from being homeless.

It’s imperative that we provide wraparound services for those already experiencing homelessness to reintegrate them into community, and have affordable, supportive housing ready and waiting for them.

Jeff Shields

I’d say the biggest issue would be affordable housing, with public safety being a very close second. We need to increase our supply and although Council doesn’t build homes we have plenty of levers we can pull to stimulate development through zoning, infrastructure, and bylaw. Promoting high density development that would contain smaller, more affordable units that are within walking distance of amenities. Increasing rentals by encouraging rental apartment buildings, carriage houses, and in-law suites. Multi-generational housing should be an option.

Harv Westeringh

Housing affordability as the biggest issue facing Chilliwack right now. We need to have a stable housing supply for all working people. We don’t want people commuting here from other places. Chilliwack’s vacancy rate right now is less than two per cent, so that tells us that many people are under-housed. If re-elected, I intend to continue pushing for more housing, through a planned approach via the Official Community Plan. More supply means lower prices. That is basic economics. Home prices peaked in February this year, and prices are now coming down. More supply will further reduce home prices.

READ MORE: All your Chilliwack Municipal Election 2022 Information


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