RECONCILIATION & NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIGENOUS PARTNERS
I have consistently advocated for building a strong, respectful relationship with the Stó:lō people. In both my role on Council, and in the position of Chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District I have been an active participant in Community to Community forums, Cultural Place Name tours, as well as a frequent invitee to a variety of different notable social and cultural celebrations here in the Valley. I recognize the boundaries of the City of Chilliwack fall within traditional Stó:lō territories that were never ceded by war or treaty, and I recognize the importance of building meaningful intergovernmental relationships with all levels of Aboriginal leadership here in the region. I also believe in the work of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and I have studied the calls to action, in particular those affecting local government. While I admit, I do not yet fully understand the changing landscape of reconciliation, I know that our shared opportunities for prosperity rely on forging a new path forward with indigenous partners, by clearly understanding and recognizing past wrongs, and seeking out and advancing new opportunities to work together for a better more inclusive future.
PUBLIC SAFETY & COMMUNITY RESILIENCY
I believe in support for crime prevention resources. Crime is more than simply a policing issue. Crime is a community issue, and I believe in order to tackle our most challenging public safety issues we must focus on prevention rather than the cure. If we want to create a healthy, vibrant community we have to focus on changing the conditions in our City that influence and promote criminal activity, victimization, and insecurity. For the last four years, I have worked as the Chair of the Public Safety Committee alongside the RCMP, NGO’s, Private Sector, Health Providers, and Faith Organizations to tackle issues relating to homelessness, crime and public safety. I am in full support of an accountable, goal-oriented, multi-agency approach to making Chilliwack stronger and safer for all, and I have promoted the idea of a comprehensive crime reduction strategy for Chilliwack, which I believe will have traction under the leadership of Ken Popove.
I am proud of my work as Chair of the Public Safety Advisory Committee, and I believe we are on the right track collaborating with multiple agencies to tackle the pressing public safety issues facing our city, in the past four years our committee has put forward concrete recommendations to council that have supported better resourcing to the RCMP with additional officers being hired, including mental health officers, and new front-line general duty officers to support foot patrols, addressed bylaw issues around problem properties, increased resources for the homeless population, partnered with Project 529 Garage to create a local bike registry, provided advocacy and support to projects tackling youth exploitation, and advocated for a tougher response to dealing with prolific offenders. Our work has started to see results, our overall crime statistics are down, but we have much more work to do.
Be A Part of the Solution! Check out these Public Safety Resources:
VIBRANT NEIGHBOURHOODS & MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT
I support mixed-use and mixed-neighbourhood planning. Many of the decisions your Council makes revolve around land-use, planning, and rezoning. I envision a Chilliwack that provides affordable housing options for residential, while providing commercial and civic functions in the same neighborhoods. I believe planning mixed-use neighbourhoods helps reduce auto dependence, cuts down on traffic, and when planned correctly can help improve ridership on our public transportation system. I also believe great neighbourhoods offer citizens close access to the things they love, ie: shopping, amenities, libraries, pubs, schools, etc. Our recent OCP (Official Community Plan) looks at opportunities for densification in order to protect and preserve agricultural land. I believe smart densification has its benefits, more eyes on the street helps reduce opportunities for crime while providing more opportunities for citizens to interact and build community. I have consistently championed housing affordability policies at the Council level, including adaptable housing standards, density bonusing for seniors and youth housing, as well as DCC (Development Cost Charges) and servicing credits for projects addressing low income and non-market housing options. I believe some of our current housing challenges do stem from lack of supply, however I believe it is imperative when addressing housing affordability that Council looks at the types of supply being built, as well as what levers we can access at the local level to streamline the development process to ensure the timeliness of product being brought to market.
I will also advocate for greater participation in the neighbourhood planning process. In my time on Council I have focused on building engagement with the community, I believe by continuing to seek out neighbourhood ideas in an innovative way we will build engagement and strengthen our long-term plans for the city. In my last term on Council I was fortunate enough to help facilitate the creation of our Neighbourhood Grant Program, which has blossomed into an extremely popular program enhancing the quality of life in neighbourhoods across the city. I was the Council Chair who had the good fortune of introducing Jim Diers to Chilliwack, and I facilitated a presentation with Jim to brainstorm new ideas for neighbourhoods. You can check out the presentation below:
Learn more about Neighbourhood Planning & Engagement