Abbotsford News asked candidates to complete a questionnaire. Our answers were published on their website and in last Friday’s newspaper. However, my answers aren’t accessible on the mobile version of their website and the published version edited the questions and responses. I am posting the original questions and my responses here.
ABBY NEWS CANDIDATE PROFILE
Name: David Sahlstrom
Party affiliation (if any):
Education: Bachelor of Science in Agriculture – BSc(Agr), Master of Business Adminstration – MBA, Professional Agrologist (PAg)
Occupation: Partner in Everett House Bed & Breakfast, Sahlstrom & Associate Business Consulting and David Sahlstrom Consulting (Chief cook and bottlewasher, Business Management Consultant, Environmental Agrologist)
Previous political experience: None
Residency (city/neighbourhood): Everett Rd, Abbotsford
Community involvement: MSA Museum Society, Arts Council, donated to various community groups, worked on the HST repeal referendum.
Marital status/children: Married with 3 children
Contact phone number: 604-309-6301
Social media: www.DavidSahlstrom.ca, Facebook/David Sahlstrom
Please answer the following question as briefly as possible, not exceeding one sentence.
What do you feel are the three key issues Abbotsford voters should be considering in this civic election?
- Voters should consider how the candidates will support their own vision and dreams for Abbotsford such as the level of taxation and user fees, growth and development, protection of the environment, caring for the poor and needy, provision of services, and the support and empowerment of the various communities in Abbotsford.
- Voters should ask themselves why they should vote for incumbents who have supported various initiatives that the voters have rejected such as Plan A, The Heat, Stave Lake Water, YMCA, etc.
- Voters should consider the qualifications of the candidates to carry out the responsibilities of Councillor in critically examining the issues, evaluating them with respect to the responsibilities of local government and the vision they hold for the future of Abbotsford.
Please answer the following questions in no more than 300 words in total.
What’s your plan to deal with homelessness in Abbotsford?
I would work with the other members of council to develop a plan with my recommendations being:
- Re-examining the decision to hire a Homeless Coordinator as the City has no experience or expertise in this area.
- Striking a homeless committee that included homeless representatives, the care communities and provincial and federal agencies with the terms of reference to coordinate the work and that the City provide assistance to this committee.
- Until adequate housing supply is provided, we need to provide a location where the homeless could camp and engage the care communities to provide services to it.
- Instruct the APD to end their policy of dislocating and dispersing while maintaining law enforcement.
Until we as a society can provide the needs of this marginalized community, we should not discriminate or harass them.
How would you make city hall more accountable and transparent?
I would move to:
- hold all meetings in public to release to the public all decisions and discussions that are allowed by law,
- record council committee meetings making them available to the public – possibly as podcasts or video.
- restructure the committees so that they are more accessible to the public with City staff supplying more of a support role.
I will, whenever legal, discuss the issues in public and make known the reasons supporting my votes.
Are changes required in local municipal spending? If so, what are they and how would you address them?
Abbotsford spends money in many areas that are not part of the core responsibilities of local government and we need to examine bylaws, programs and spending to determine how they align with our responsibilities as well as examining not only immediate costs but the long term benefits and liabilities.
As residents of Abbotsford we shouldn’t be paying for the costs of development. There is good development and bad development and we should learn to tell the difference so we can say no to the bad development.
We need to engage, support and empower the communities in our City – the Business, Arts, Culture, Heritage, Care, Social, Environment etc. to enhance our quality of life.