Chilliwack mayoral candidate Ian Carmichael and incumbent mayor Ken Popove squared off at the Cultural Centre Wednesday night in a bid for votes from Chilliwack residents on Oct. 15.
“As mayor, my duty is to serve the people of Chilliwack, and the businesses that serve our community,” Carmichael said in his introduction, adding his campaign slogan is ‘Work for better.’
As someone with senior management experience Carmichael said he’s handled large budgets, although maybe not as large as Chilliwack’s, and is fiscally responsible. He supports housing first strategies, and he’s out to improve the compact nature of the community.
Carmichael deadpanned that he had one promise to make to the people of Chilliwack and then quipped, “If I am elected mayor of Chilliwack I promise to get a new suit!”
Popove characterized the past couple of years as “demanding,” citing the pandemic, heat dome, water issues, murder hornets and fires.
“We persevered and came through with flying colours,” Popove said.
He mentioned the improved infrastructure and redevelopment that’s put the community “on track to be a really cool place to hang your hat,” Popove said.
Working so well as a team at city hall held them in good stead, Popove said.
Last November city crews were called out to 40 incidents from the atmospheric rivers from landslides to creek and culvert blowouts, and they worked around the clock.
“We got Chilliwack out of this mess and carried on,” the incumbent mayor added.
Delving into skyrocketing real estate, single-family homes doubling from a benchmark of $500,000 up to one-million dollars in the past five years, Carmichael said it’s true prices doubled, but said it went back even further.
“Our properties have gone from a roughly quarter of a million dollars, to half a million, to a million dollars in 10 short years,” he said. “And we’ve got a problem in our community. One of our problems is that our urban containment boundaries are full.”
Carmichael said builders will have to “go up” since they can’t go into the ALR. But striving for a compact, liveable community with more transportation options is part of his enduring vision for Chilliwack.
Popove said as one of the fastest growing cities in western Canada, Chilliwack grew by 12 per cent, reaching a population of more than 100,000 people, so the affordable housing question “definitely is a challenge,” with the amount of growth they’ve seen, and he said they will continue to work on it.
“We have done our bit and will continue to keep things as low as possible by way of our fee structure and our taxes. We have allowed secondary suites and carriage houses.”
Other questions posed to mayoral candidates had to do with tax increases, pay-as-you-go philosophy, regional transportation, intersection improvements, the lack of industrial land, and more.
Watch more of mayoral portion of the evening’s discussions on the Youtube video of the 2022 All-Candidates Debate Sept. 28, 2022 presented by the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Chilliwack BIA:
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