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)

Mary Trentadue answered my questions!

Mary Trentadue 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?

Mary: I’m sure I’m an order muppet but likely a chaos muppet….when I’m not an 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.

I visit City Hall a few times a week – Council meetings, committee meetings and one-on-one meetings with residents. I don’t find it particularly welcoming and know that most people feel uncomfortable coming and speaking to Council. We could do more to help the public understand the process when they arrive and also change some procedures that are old fashioned and not easily-understood.

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?

The City is somewhat restricted in dictating to landlords whom they rent their spaces to. BUT, we can do much more to make sure New Westminster is a favoured location for local and regional businesses. Increasing the business profile of New West has been included in our Economic Development Strategy.

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 like to stay on the Arts Commission as I’m really committed to seeing the Arts Strategy completed. I am also really interested in some form of a Tenants Advisory Committee or task force as earlier suggested by Patrick Johnstone. We should also be discussing the best way to form a Women’s Advisory Committee. Having just advocating for two new committees I would really like for the City of have an in-depth look at how many committees we currently have and how to make them more efficient and effective.

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

HA – sorry while I do love the eclectic nature of the Brow – my heart belongs to the Moody Park neighbourhood. Being able to walk to City amenities, enjoy the parks, hang out with friends at the playground and enjoy the dog park makes this an amazing neighbourhood for my family.

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.

Yes, I voted to support this project.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

Sasquatch?? I suppose I’d take my son – that would be his thing!

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

We need to work harder to go and meet our community where they are instead of expecting them to come to us. There seems to be a lot of barriers for people feeling included and having a good understanding of the barriers 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.

My entrance music changes day to day and hour by hour. These days it’s Respect by Aretha Franklin.

Thank you Mary!

Michael Ireland answered my questions!

Michael Ireland 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?

Michael: I have organized chaos in business and personal life. A man willing to go out on the town with out a plan but, set out in my business life lists and order. There are times that my home may be a little cluttered and then days it is in perfect order. I have holidays in strange places and will run through forests where I don’t know a path but, I also plan trips around Ironman races and plan six months of training around them. There is one part of this question that’s not grey. I have never been a muppet. Nobody speaks for me, creates my dialogue or has their hand up my back controlling my movements.

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 was at City Hall last week. Changes should be to modern lighting, access, and preservation of the gorgeous Art Deco building that exists there. I attend City Council meetings all over the country regularly as the business I am and position I hold has me doing so.

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?

That is a tough question as businesses that don’t survive should not be supported by your tax dollars. Knowing that the area needs a local store I would think CIty could offer some form of incentive to have regular “mobile market” days throughout the entire year and to engage in dialogue with new retailers that the community may be interested in.

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’d like to be involved in Infrastructure planning and negotiations with Moti/Translink/Boundary Cities/Metro Vancouver. Also, I would include myself in arts council work, health care access and advocacy and the sports planning commission.

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

The Quay. It allows me to be near the water, a path to either side of the town and access to downtown.

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 supported the housing and the development of programs to aid in women getting a step in the right direction. Without the support of community my own family wouldn’t be here today. My grandmother was left with her four young children on the street in the late fifties after my grandfather took off. She turned to the Salvation Army who helped her initially and then she raised the four working until she was 65. She was my hero as, each one went to University and on on to promote unity and communal engagement. While I lived in Los Angeles for many years I regularly supported and was engaged in homeless shelters for women and children.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

I don’t hunt but, I’d go for a trail run with my photographer friend Brooklin and he’d miraculously have a camera with him and end up with a shot of the Sasquatch!

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

Well each of those groups are very different and need a different approach. New immigrants need access to services and similar immigrants who have resided here longer and have successes. This would be a provincial and federal group that would also lend to their initial needs. Renters are in many forms now. There are ones that want high end tmeporary places while they’re here for work, ones that are in between and then life time renters. Each has completely different needs and there’s no single solution. Knowing that space is at a premium I would ensure that there are no empty units like in Downtown Vancouver where real estate speculators from overseas never occupy the unit they buy.

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.

Lately my music stream has been pretty varied some nights Alexa plays Mo-town and some nights Soft Hawaiian music so, a single song that I love to turn up, Supertramp’s “Cannonball”, as I love the Brass instruments in it.

Thank you Michael!

Patrick Johnstone answered my questions!

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.

Last Monday.

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!

Chinu Das answered my questions!

Chinu Das 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?

Chinu: Neither. In order to create order you start with chaos. They are two sides of the same coin.

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, Sept 20 for the Senior’s Advisory committee meeting.
Sept 4 for Community and Social Issues Advisory committee.

A study was done by Welcoming and Inclusive New Westminster committee that identified welcoming signage, comfortable seating areas and being greeted at all civic facilities.

June 18th, I think. Attended the session on Cannabis legislation.

Staff, Mayor and Council members  can meet and greet people for a short time so that they feel welcomed.

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?

Alert the media?

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!

Multicultural Advisory, Community and Social issues Advisory because those are my interests. Would love to see a committee on neighbourhood social connectedness.

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

Because it is the little hood that could!

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 in favour of the motion on the table : to amend the OCP and rezone the property.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

My youngest son. He is a great storyteller and can spin a sasquatch yarn easily.

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

This needs outreach work, connecting one on one and building trust and respect. Once trust is established, encourage them to participate in city events and use their voice on city committees.

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 Chinu!

Chuck Puchmayr answered my questions!

Chuck Puchmayr 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?

Chuck: Sorry Brad, that’s classified information.

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, Monday, better sound system for overflow seating in public hearings.

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?

Consumers fare better when there’s competition. Buy Low is the same company as Save-On. The Competition Bureau was played brilliantly by Pattison after the 2014 ruling.

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 have been productive on all committees and would go wherever appointed.

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

All of our neighbourhoods have unique characteristics. I have lived in the Brow, Queen’s Park, West End and now Moody Park. The Brow had the most vibrant cultural diversity.

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: Chuck 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?

My best friend Ed as he would surely scare any Sasquatch we encountered.

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

By communicating the following : work we are doing to protect existing and develop new rental property; our work on new Canadian inclusion and diversity; our outreach to youth through youth centre, youth advisory committee and public engagement.

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.

Right now, during the election it would be Welcome To The Jungle by Guns N’ Roses.

Thanks Chuck!

Troy Hunter answered my questions!

Troy Hunter 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?

Troy: My daschund that I rescued came with the name Chaos and I hated that so I renamed him Brad Pitt. I guess that makes me an 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.

It was about a couple of weeks ago, I had to have a meeting with the electoral officer. I always visit City Hall to pay my electricity bill. I guess a more welcoming approach would be to make the public park and enter through the front doors, it almost seems weird to use the backside and I am sure the architect that made the building is not happy about that. I would propose a big comfy couch along with a good cup of Java to make city council meetings more welcoming. The last time I attended a City Council meeting was around ten years ago when I was still a law student. I also attended the 2008 Canadian Constitutional Affairs Conference in Quebec City and made a vow to return; I am back. I almost forgot to mention but I was an elected School Trustee from 2008 to 2011 and I think that also counts.

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 am saddened for the loss of Buy Low Foods as it was one of my favorite grocery stores and that is for sure. What is more sad is that there is now a vacant space, people that used to work at that location no longer do so and it diminishes our sense of community. Losing that flagship store was like a punch in the gut. As for proper competition, it seems that there is only so much City Hall can do as we live in a free and open market space. If I could wave a magic wand, I would do it in a way that the shoppers had fatter wallets and were not attracted to the lowest hanging fruit but that they would reach for the locally grown produce and farmed products. This would help with our local economy, support local farmers, and help in the fight against climate change. On that note, I would also make a new program to match land owners with those that want to grow their own food, just like the community gardens program and also institute a rain harvesting initiative to feed those local crops. We can turn acres of trimmed lawns into productive yields of corn, squash, beans, and herbs, etc. Maybe the space could be the farmers market which happens at my favorite park by city hall at Friendship Garden by closing the parking lot. At least those with cars will have a place to park when visiting the Farmers Market. By the way, my dog Brad Pitt loves Friendship Garden.

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 wish to chair the Indigenous Reconciliation Committee. I have previous experience chairing meetings, and it doesn’t hurt to have an actual Indigenous person chairing the meeting.

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

Yes, I live at Brow of the Hill area but really, my favourite neighborhood is probably downtown because that is the gem in the rough that has the best potential to make New Westminster an attraction. While we don’t have a walled city, UNESCO World Heritage Site like the one I am writing this from: Old Quebec City, we do have a history of the New Westminster Quai which with great vision and passion, we can turn this place into an attraction and a place where people will want to be. We are the original Capital City of the Province of British Columbia, we had the first hospital, maybe even one of the first court houses, and we have some fine Victorian style buildings. As we demolish the past to make way for the future, perhaps, we can think about heritage conservation and re-create a unique Victorian era heritage village, even it means relocating structures (actually this is being done take for example 8th Street or Blackford Street).

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’m not a big fan of “temporary modular housing”; however, the Indian Reserve I am a part of near Cranbrook BC, went with modular construction for a new school and gymnasium and it seems to work well even though its situated right beside one of British Columbia’s finest Victorian era wooden churches (St. Eugene Church). I would prefer stone masonry structures, but I guess modulars could also be clad in stone facades to give it that permanent feel. What people need to understand is that we need to think outside of the box when it comes to creating low cost solutions for the homeless, the at risk and for people in need. If it works for the Aboriginal community, why would it not work for Queensborough? There is a building downtown Vancouver made of shipping containers. As we move into the 21st century we need to keep an open mind about what we are building, how its done and to how to be more efficient. I would have voted with an unequivocal yes because we need solutions and the modular housing is just that. I am thinking that architecture wasn’t the real problem it was perhaps, NIMBYism (not in my backyard). As much as we want to have a beautiful and lovely city we also need spaces for the less affluent and such spaces should not be in segregation.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

I don’t hunt Sasquatch and believe that would be in poor taste. Some people believe Sasquatch are almost human and we don’t go out hunting humans (at least not anymore). If I wanted to find Sasquatch to see one or to take a picture, I would have Todd Standing on my team.

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

I can relate to this question on two levels, I don’t consider myself a youth as I am not a spring chicken anymore. With respect to renters, I am one. With respect to new immigrants, I am married to one. How do I propose to engage with them, I think City Hall could be more open, could consider brochures in other languages including Chinese, Indonesian, Tagalog, etc. We could have community get-together’s for social events. When we get to know our neighbors we become closer as a community.

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.

Well at first I was going to say Helter Skelter because I just saw Paul McCartney play that song at a sold out show in Quebec City but then I changed my mind and went with Jukebox Hero by Foreigner.

Thank you Troy!

Nadine Nakagawa answered my questions!

Nadine Nakagawa 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?

Nadine: I don’t support the use of muppets to describe personalities. Controversial enough position to start with? I hate the term “chaos muppet”. Don’t @ me.

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 was last at City Hall to file my candidacy paperwork. Before that, probably the Temporary Modular Housing Public Hearing and before that likely an ACTBiPed meeting. To make City Hall more welcoming, we should add more comfortable seating to start. We should then ask members of the community what would make their City Hall feel more welcoming. This was done by the WINS table a few years back and we should incorporate their feedback. To make meetings more comfortable, perhaps we should consider a Council Meeting 101 package and workshop. We should also strive to use plain language and bring council meetings into the community.

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?

The Buy Low Foods community room was an incredible community asset and I hope residents support grocery stores that have community rooms.

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 to-be-created Renters Task Force. I’d also like to chair the Community Social Issues Committee that I’ve sat on for a number of years (sorry Councillor McEvoy)

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

As the immediate past President of the Brow of the Hill Residents Association, I can confidently say #BeLikeBrow

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 yes. I have previously worked as a Housing Support Worker for the Elizabeth Fry Society and understand how soul shatteringly difficult it is to find affordable (read 30% of your income) housing, particularly for people on income assistance, disability, or a pension. We are in a housing crisis and I believe that everyone has a right to housing.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

My golden retriever Gus. He’d love to meet a Sasquatch. In fact, he’d love to meet just about anybody. We really wouldn’t be hunting, just going out to say hello.

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

By bringing people who identify as renters, new immigrants, and youth onto committees and task forces and asking them how to do this and then listening to them. By going out into the community to places where people we want to reach gather. By being humble. By practicing cultural humility. By asking questions. By never making excuses for why it’s not happening. By asking people to come and then making space for them. By not giving up until our public engagement reflects our community.

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.

My theme song is Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix.

Thank you Nadine!