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!