Patrick Johnstone 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?
Patrick: I used to think I was an order muppet, then I met Antigone, which convinced me I am the chaos muppet, until I got elected to Council, when I was re-convinced that I am an order muppet, though the answer to this question may indicate otherwise.
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.
Today. (Editor’s note: Patrick sent me the answers on September 21 and this post is being published on September 22.)
I think it is welcoming, though we have some accessibility issues that only an expensive major renovation will fix.
I have several ideas in my Engaged City platform about shifting how public engagement and Public Hearings work, but I think Council needs to be more diverse, we need to work more on speaking in plain language in both council and in our official communications. And freezies. (That was 4 questions).
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?
There will be no rest until every building in New Westminster contains a Save on Foods. Yes, including your house. Resistance is futile.
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!
ACTBiPed. We are making progress on active transportation policy, but we need to keep pushing to get more of our budget directed towards modernizing our transportation network. Building infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users (and emergent technologies like electric scooters) need to be a top priority for the City.
5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?
Because I live in the Brow. I love being a 5 minute walk to everywhere (shopping, SkyTrain, City Hall), and I love the variety of housing and my diverse neighbours!
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 voted for it.
7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?
Steve Austin, Raoul Duke, and Carl Sagan. And Peter Sagan.
8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?
By creating space and opportunities for them to engage, by meeting them on their own turf, and by seeking out and eliminating the barriers to their participation in civic affairs. For example, I think we need a Renters Association in the City on the same model as Residents’ Associations.
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 National Anthem by Radiohead. I’m back to being a chaos muppet I think.
Thank you Patrick!