ACTBiPed Meeting Report for September 19, 2018

I’ve really been dropping the ball on these ACTBiPed reports. After missing out on reporting on two, I’m a month late for the September 19, 2018 meeting. Sorry! Here’s the agenda package for the meeting so you can follow along at home.

We started off discussing a pedestrian-controlled crossing that will be installed near the corner of Royal Avenue and 11th Street. There’s a lot going on here to unpack. First, it’ll be crossing Royal Avenue, part of TransLink’s Major Road Network and a truck route through New Westminster. It’s at the bottom of a hill, which means that vehicles are moving quickly (67.5 km/h on average in a 50 km/h zone). The vehicles are often heavy trucks which require more distance to stop. All of this means that New Westminster can’t just throw up a traffic light and call it done, there’s coordination with TransLink that needs to happen.

That coordination is happening, and TransLink requires an Advance Warning Flasher be installed on the eastbound direction of Royal Avenue. The city is also going to extend the median along Royal Avenue from Columbia Street towards the crossing, and install fencing along the median so pedestrians cannot cross the street except at the crosswalk. Discussion around the table seemed to focus on the fencing as a bunch of people feel that it’s hostile to pedestrians (I’m not included in that group, because I feel that this location is a good spot for such a fence — other locations I’d be resistant to it). There was also talk about controlling some of the turns from driveways or 11th Street there, as drivers may be looking one way while pedestrians are crossing where they’re not looking.

Construction should be starting soon with projected completion in early 2019.

Next up: bus shelters! New Westminster is going to get (at least) four new bus shelters by the end of 2018:

  • Agnes Street eastbound at Elliot Street (stop is serviced by the 103 and 105)
  • 6th Avenue eastbound at 6th Street (stop is serviced by the 155)
  • 8th Street northbound at 3rd Avenue (stop is serviced by the 123)
  • 8th Street southbound at 3rd Avenue (stop is serviced by the 123)

We then received a report from staff concerning transit stop accessibility. New Westminster’s goal is to have 100% of the bus stops in the city be accessible, where feasible and where bus ramps are deployable. Because of New Westminster’s topography, 98% of the bus stops in the city have the potential to be accessible.

In 2006 52% of the city’s bus stops were accessible, and in 2017 that percentage has risen to 94%, which is the highest percentage of all the cities in Metro Vancouver. But it’s not good enough! There are still 9 bus stops in New Westminster that have the potential to be made accessible. Coast Mountain Bus Company has approved funding of $11,250 to go towards the city’s 2018 Accessible Transit Stop program, which means four more transit stops can be made accessible in 2018. There are two along Ewen Avenue, one on 6th Street (stop 52421 at 5th Avenue, serviced by the 106) and one on Richmond Street (stop 53616 at the graveyard, serviced by the 155).

These four will bring New Westminster’s bus stop accessibility up to 96% with five stops remaining.

There was a report about spot improvements to the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway, particularly in the industrial section east of Sapperton. Go check it out in the agenda for all the details!

Then came a report and discussion about the overpass going in over Stewardson Way near Grimston Park, a long-standing issue for nearby residents since the Queensborough Bridge connections were “improved” for vehicles. The new multi-use bridge should be started soon with the completion in March 2019.

The bridge spurred discussion about the BC Parkway, which this bridge will tie into and potentially cause more foot and bicycle traffic on. There’s a section of the BC Parkway along Stewardson Way that’s incomplete between 5th Avenue and 14th Street. There used to be a gravel path on property owned by Southern Rail Yards but they fenced it off due to liability concerns, forcing pedestrians and cyclists to share a sidewalk directly adjacent to Stewardson Way. City staff has been in discussions with SRY to re-open the gravel path by offering various concessions (assuming liability, using city funds to pave it, etc) but SRY is very resistant to these improvements.

ACTBiPed passed a motion to advise council to direct staff to keep up the pressure on SRY and hopefully come to an agreement that will make pedestrians and cyclists safer along this stretch of the BC Parkway.

And that was our September 19th meeting!

The Official 2018 New Westminster Election Playlist!

I admit, I had an ulterior motive behind my questions, and that was gathering enough answers for the “what is your entrance music” question to make this post! Without further ado, here is the Official 2018 New Westminster Election Playlist!

  1. Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing (Nadine Nakagawa)
  2. Foreigner – Jukebox Hero (Troy Hunter)
  3. Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World (Chinu Das and Angela Sealy)
  4. Radiohead – The National Anthem (Patrick Johnstone)
  5. Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle (Chuck Puchmayr)
  6. Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror (Bryn Ward)
  7. Supertramp – Cannonball (Michael Ireland)
  8. Aretha Franklin – Respect (Mary Trentadue)
  9. Bob Dylan – The Times They Are a-Changin’ (Harm Woldring)
  10. Theme Song to Rocky (Jonathan X. Cote)
  11. Béla Bartók – Violin Concerto No. 2, BB 117 (Jaimie McEvoy)
  12. Alice Cooper – Elected (Benny Ogden)

And as a bonus track for those who didn’t reply:

  1. Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence (Daniel Fontaine, Paul McNamara, Ellen Vaillancourt, Nikki Binns, and Jimmie Bell)

Unanswered questions for the New West Progressives

I’ll start this post off with one of the items in the New West Progressives’ platform:

Connecting our citizens to various city programs and services is vital if we are to build a strong sense of community and public engagement. As a team, we commit to facilitating more submissions and feedback to council via social media channels such as YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Over the past month or so I have asked a number of questions about the New West Progressives’ platform (and some additional random questions) by email, Twitter and Facebook. A group I’m affiliated with, Yes in New West, also emailed a question to the New West Progressives city council candidates and invited them to an all-candidates meeting.

Over that time I have received one response from Bryn Ward for my questions, and instead of answering them directly she sent me a link to a podcast interview she’d done. After I listened to it and asked for clarification, for the Temporary Modular Housing question she answered “I am in favour of the project for women at risk however not the location it is in” (which wasn’t the motion to vote on) and her entrance music would be would be “Man in the Mirror“. Ms. Ward was also the only one to reply by email to the YiNW all-candidates invite, although Ellen Vaillancourt also attended.

For a team that’s committing to building public engagement through social media channels, the New West Progressives aren’t doing a good job of building public engagement through social media channels.

For the record, here are the questions I asked:

  • Speaking of 311, when it was brought in in Vancouver (thanks in part to Daniel Fontaine) they had to raid other departments to pay for its expensive implementation, like park improvements and street safety measures. Which departments would Daniel Fontaine and the New West Progressives cut?

    Child care and seniors services are conspicuously missing from your platform, would you cut those to bring in your expensive 311 service?

  • Hi David [Halkett, President of the New West Progressives], would you be able to find out why the NWP council candidates aren’t answering any questions that they’re being asked on social media or by email?
  • What can the New West Progressives do about whistle cessation that current council isn’t?
  • Why doesn’t Paul McNamara have an email address? Why do questions to his Twitter account and through his website go unanswered?
  • How would Paul McNamara have voted for the final motion on Queensborough’s temporary modular housing?
  • What is Lisa Falbo’s stance on SOGI 1 2 3?
  • What is J.P. Leberg’s stance on SOGI 1 2 3?
  • How would Ellen Vaillancourt have voted on the final motion for Queensborough’s temporary modular housing?
  • How would Daniel Fontaine have voted on the final motion for Queensborough’s temporary modular housing?
  • What are the New West Progressives’ views on New West residents spending too much on housing?
  • What red tape would the New West Progressives candidates target for elimination?
  • How will the Short Term Rental fee work?
  • What are your nomination criteria? Who selects who gets to run? How do they choose?
  • The NWP proposes going to the UBCM to push for provincial legislation changes to allow absentee voting, yet your platform proposes cutting UBCM’s effectiveness in half by only meeting every two years. How do you square this circle?

If any of the New West Progressives council candidates read this, feel free to leave your answers below.

Astute readers will note that I didn’t list a question for Danielle Connelly or Cyrus Sy about SOGI 1 2 3. That’s because they answered the question: they both fully support it, and have suggestions on making parents more informed. My utmost thanks to both of them for being responsive to questions!

Jaimie McEvoy answered my questions!

Jaimie McEvoy is running for New Westminster City Council, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Jaimie: According to a quiz I took, I am Scooter.  Order muppet, I believe.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

Yesterday.  Coffee.  Right up front, when you come in, and a place to sit and chat with it.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

I was pretty happy when the Safeway monopoly (and one expensive IGA) was broken.  Food prices in New West had been weirdly more expensive for years.  I actually campaigned in favour of a Save-On proposal at the foot of 12th Street for that reason when I was, um, President of Brow of the Hill.
Now we have that, we need to get out of that dichotomy, go more diverse, local.  Buy Low, like Save On, also a Jim Pattison company, part of a gambit to take over the territory from Safeway.  They largely succeeded, and consolidated.
So, I go for the smaller and more independents in place of another major corp.  Meat shop on Belmont, Kin’s farm market, the Ukrainian bakery, Denny’s Farm Market (which participates in a local program that gives food vouchers to some of the less incomed), and the often overlooked Uptown Market, which is like a classic small grocery store, behind all those flowers in the front.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

Affordable housing, which I deal with as Chair of Community and Social Issues, and as a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing.  But with more focus on that issue, from renewing our efforts to end homelessness, to more rental, to a greater range of types of housing, lots more townhouses, that’s really where I would like to be working – if I picked one!  Hard to choose one for a housing/anti-poverty/environmental/transportation/heritage/community economic development activist!

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

First, and for a very long time, the only neighbourhood I lived in.  Friendly, affordable, so convenient with everything from coffee shops to drugs (I mean prescriptions) to groceries.  And maple ice cream.  There was so much housing choice, so easy to live there.  I do have a bias, I was active there in the Residents Association and, incredibly, the first ever renter to be its President.  I should say I love all my neighbourhoods equally.  (But I do have a favourite, just don’t tell the other kids….).

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

Note: Jaimie is an incumbent and thus didn’t have to answer this question. He voted in favour of the motion on the table.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

Obviously Troy, once he wins the effort to create the Sasquatch Conservation Area.  Patrick because he’s the most competently woodsy one.  My Mom, who would always be pointing at things and asking if that was a sasquatch, and then we would all turn around and look.  Rob Lowe.  You have to see his show, The Lowe Files, to understand.  He finds things that no one else can, no matter how hard they try….

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

We need to go into apartment buildings, actually go there, and not wait for people to come to us.  And places where people already choose to gather, such as the Library, supermarkets, transit stations.  50% of New Westminster youth live within a short walk of the Youth Centre, so the Brow would be a good place to start.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

Concerto for Violin in B Minor, by Bartok. (note: sure hope I got the right video there!) Preferably as played by Viktoria Mullova. Now you know. Maybe since that’s hard to find, and if the love goes cold, Garth Brooks.

Why Am I Seeing This Ad? An analysis of New West election ads on Facebook

If you’re on Facebook, you see ads. They slip into your feed with a little “sponsored” note underneath the ad author. Given it’s election season in New Westminster, if you’ve identified yourself as having anything to do with New Westminster you’ll get political ads for the various mayoral, city council, and school trustee candidates.

For every ad that’s on Facebook you can find out why you’re being shown the ad. Click on the three dots at the top right, then select “Why Am I Seeing This Ad?” and you’ll see the demographics that are being targeted with that specific ad.

I’ve done this for the New West political ads I’ve been shown, and here’s what I’ve seen:

Jonathan X. Cote

A couple of weeks ago I saw some of Jonathan Cote’s ads targeting people living in New Westminster who are older than 25. Unfortunately I neglected to get a screenshot. Since then it appears that he’s broadened his target demographic to people who are older than 18 who live in British Columbia.

New West Progressives

The New West Progressives are consistently targeting people near their business, and those who are older than 30 and live near New Westminster.

Chinu Das

Chinu Das’ ad campaigns are focused on people who like their page people aged 18 and older who live near New Westminster.

Patrick Johnstone

Patrick Johnstone’s campaigns target people aged 19 and older who live near New Westminster.

Nadine Nakagawa

Nadine Nakagawa’s campaigns focus on people aged 18 and older who live near New Westminster.

Mark Gifford

Mark Gifford’s campaigns focus on people interested in Education and (and I seem to be repeating myself here) people aged 18 and older who live near New Westminster.

Gurveen Dhaliwal

Gurveen Dhaliwal’s ads are being shown to, you guessed it, people aged 18 and older who live near New Westminster.

Caveats and Notes

I’m 42 and I live in New Westminster. I fall in all of the demographics listed, which is kind of obvious or else I wouldn’t be seeing the ads. There may be other more specific targeted campaigns that aren’t listed here (like the New West Progressives might have one targeting people younger than 30).

The voting age in British Columbia municipal elections is 18.

Jonathan X. Cote answered my questions!

Jonathan X. Cote is running for New Westminster Mayor, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Jonathan: Order Muppet

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

A. Yesterday. (note: Jonathan sent the answers on October 5 so he means October 4.)

B. I think City Hall is a very welcoming place, but I would love to see the foyer opened up more to community events to allow residents to feel more connected to the hall.

C. October 1st (Last Council meeting of the term)

D. Council Karaoke???

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

My goal is to have every New Westminster resident live within a 5 minute walk to a park. I guess that could also extend to Save on Foods as well 😊

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

The Mayors Council. (Don’t tell Derek)

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

As someone with three daughters, I have learned not to play this game. Nice try Brad 😊

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

Note: Jonathan is an incumbent and thus didn’t have to answer this question. He voted in favour of the motion on the table.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

Chinu Das: Her PHD in Planning would come in handy for the search.

Patrick Johnstone: I think he wrote a blog about this once.

Jaimie McEvoy: His encyclopedic knowledge of the history of sasquatches would be an asset.

Nadine Nakagawa: Who wouldn’t want the 2017 New Westminster Citizen of Year on the team.

Chuck Puchmayr: Raising cattle has prepared him well for this hunt.

Mary Trentadue: Mary would provide the ever important small business perspective to the hunt.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

In 2016 the Mayors Task Force on Public Engagement completed its work and released its final report on how the City of New Westminster can improve its public engagement processes. Two of the big themes that emerged out of the work of the task force was that the city needed to adopt strategies to make it easier for resident to participate in public engagement and that the city needed to work harder to hear from voices that are not usually captured with traditional forms of public engagement. One of the most accessible facilities in the city is our public libraries. Our libraries attract a wide demographic of people and are often the first point of contact a city has with new residents. It is these factors that make our libraries the ideal location for public engagement hubs.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

Rocky Theme Song

Thank you Jonathan!

Angela Sealy answered my questions!

Angela Sealy is running for New Westminster City Council, and she answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Angela: I am more ordered.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

City Hall does require some structural upgrades.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

I believe we can invite grocery stores to come but I think the grocery store industry has a policy about location which would prevent another Save-on-Foods from opening in that location. I would also need to see a study of why Buy-Low was closed.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

I would continue on the committee I am on at the moment and that is the Multicultural Advisory Committee.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

I love New Westminster each area has its own charm.

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

The issue was passed and there is rule that we should not revisit decisions unless we have new information, at this time I don’t have any new information.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

Dean Martin if he were still alive.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

I have a certificate from SFU in Dialogue and Civic Engagement and my consulting business is about community engagement and various forms of dialogue.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Thank you Angela!

Harm Woldring answered my questions!

Harm Woldring is running for New Westminster Mayor, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Harm: Neither

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

I visited City Hall to file my Nomination Papers in September to enter the race for Mayor. I work Monday evenings and can’t make it to Council Meetings. I used to have staff but after nearly 6 years of nearly continuous road closures I’ve been kind of busy trying to survive and provide services to my clients and employment for my, now, very limited staff.
While I’d love to have attended many council meetings to support citizen’s and residents in their fight to get heard in a city that listen’s but doesn’t hear I think all the changes that will be needed to make City Hall and Council more welcome is to replace Council and end 15 or more years Labor dominated councils that are more about enriching a few at the top while using the dues paid by the most vulnerable members of City staff to buy their election.

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

New West will continue to struggle to provide a mix of retail and commercial businesses and services to the public as long as it continues to overtax its commercial properties. At 3.6 times the residential rate, which is one of the highest in the Metro region, commercial enterprises will continue to favor neighboring communities that are committed to being more than a bedroom community.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

One of New Westminster’s strengths is its many community associations like Residents Associations, BIA’s and its large and heavily involved social service societies. In our 21st century tech oriented society we should be moving ahead using modern technology tools to improve community involvement and move the discussion with citizen’s about our future of our community to consensus building instead of pitting neighbor against neighbor. I would explore using technologies like Unanimous AI to firstly find out what issues are most important to our citizens and then use this interactive, real-time technology to build a consensus on where we, as a City, should be going in the future.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

I don’t have a favorite neighborhood. I live on the Quay in the winter, across from City Hall in the summer (I am technically homeless since I don’t have a permanent residential address. I do have two very comfortable places to live but they are other people’s homes that are vacant for extended periods. My occupancy of these homes provides their owners with a sense of security and provides the owners with continuous insurance coverage during their extended absences) and my business is downtown. I lived in Sapperton some 45 years ago.

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

I believe this issue was, to use your word, challenging because, as is often the case in our City, residents didn’t feel included and heard. We need to move our public processes to the beginning of these discussions and look to building consensus as opposed to constantly creating divisions and controversy.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

I don’t believe in hunting.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

I believe I’ve already answered that. Everyone in our community should have a voice. I’d like to include the groups you’ve mentioned but also include the hundreds or thousands of people in our community that are supported by the numerous charitable and service organizations that help and serve them but who don’t get a direct voice in any of the discussions about our City’s future.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

The Times They Are A Changing by Bob Dylan

Thank you Harm!

Benny Ogden answered my questions!

Benny Ogden is running for New Westminster City Council, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Dr Teeth, while not loud or in-your-face, he is comfortable surrounded by anyone, including both Animal, and Zoot.

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

I haven’t been able to spend very much time at city hall

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

I would be hesitant to interfere that way into the market. Buy-Low failed because it couldn’t compete with both Save-on and Wal-mart so close by. I see no reason to force another business into that position.

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

Environmental Initiatives. We need to find ways to encourage people to creatively look for ways to encourage people to do things for the environment.

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

I live in Brow of the Hill.

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

I would have voted against it. It was just simply too divisive to the local community.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

Scooby Doo and mystery Inc. – Those guys find everything.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

I really don’t know. That is a really complicated issue. One idea could be to advertise in the local paper for them to meet with me at a local coffee shop.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

That answer is only too easy. Elected by Alice Cooper.

Thank you Benny!

Can New West municipal candidates follow simple rules?

The New Westminster Record published New West municipal candidate profiles recently, and in them the candidates had to answer a handful of questions. While they weren’t nearly as good as my questions, they did come with one simple rule:

Answers were limited to 50 words unless otherwise specified.

Pretty simple rule, right? Let’s see who was able to follow that simple rule! Candidates get a ✅ for succeeding and a ❌ for failing. Even if you miss one question, you fail! It’s a simple test, you should be able to do it!

Mayoral Candidates

✅ Jimmie Bell

✅ Nikki Binns

✅ Jonathan Cote

❌ Harm Woldring (2/5)

Council Candidates

✅ Chinu Das

❌ Daniel Fontaine (4/5)

✅ Troy Hunter

✅ Mike Ireland

✅ Patrick Johnstone

✅ Jaimie McEvoy

✅ Paul McNamara

✅ Nadine Nakagawa

❌ Benny Ogden (4/5)

✅ Chuck Puchmayr

✅ Angela Sealy

✅ Mary Trentadue

✅ Ellen Vaillancourt

❌ Bryn Ward (4/5)

School Trustee Candidates

✅ Steve Tsonev

❌ Maya Russell (4/5)

❌ Mary Lalji (4/5)

❌ J.P. LeBerg (4/5)

✅ Gurveen Dhaliwal

✅ Dee Beattie

❌ Doug Woodward (2/5)

❌ Danielle Connelly (3/5)

✅ Anita Ansari

❌ Lisa Falbo (2/5)

✅ Cyrus Sy

❌ Alejandro Diaz (3/5)

❌ Mark Gifford (3/5)

Hard-Hitting Conclusions

School Trustee candidates, almost all of you need to go back to school and learn how to follow rules. I mean seriously, only five of you could follow simple directions? That’s not even enough to form a full school board! It’s really depressing to see so many of you fail such a simple set of directions, and I’m not being sarcastic here. Seriously, attention to detail is a key skill that you all should have when you’re trying to get elected to run an $80 million organization. If you can’t be bothered to use a simple word count webpage then why should we trust you to understand the details of complex policies you’ll be coming up with to further the education of our children? That’s a serious question and I invite any of you with a ❌ next to your name to leave a comment below. And this time you don’t have a word limit.

I was originally planning on doing a breakdown between Team Cote and the New West Progressives and the independents but honestly, after seeing the terrible results from the School Trustee candidates I don’t have the willpower. Oh, alright, maybe I do, here we go.

Team Cote: 12/14

New West Progressives: 3/8

Independents: 6/11 (three haven’t answered, let’s pray to God that they read this post and figure out how to follow rules)