John Ashdown would seek action on taxes, ‘real’ truck routes [council]

Taxpayer representation is the civic issue that is most personally meaningful for John Ashdown, a small business owner who would slash taxes, designate truck-only routes and sees the 400,000 cars that pass through New West every day as an opportunity for our local retailers.

The following questionnaire was sent to all New Westminster candidates for mayor and council a little over a week ago. A separate questionnaire was sent to trustees (their responses are also being published this week). Questions were selected based primarily on comments from readers of Tenth to the Fraser collected via Twitter and Facebook, with a few of my own questions added in. Responses are published in the order they were received. Spelling/grammar are not corrected and candidates’ responses are published unedited.

John Ashdown
John Ashdown

1. First, let’s hear a little about you:

  • What’s your name? – John Ashdown
  • How long have you lived in New Westminster? – 30 Years
  • What do you love most about our city? – Community Spirit, Diversew neighbourhoods.
  • What do you think most needs improvement? – Political imbalance on city Council
  • What is the civic issue that is the most personally meaningful to you? – Taxpayer representation

2. What are the top three initiatives you believe would improve economic development?

  • More support for local business improvement associations
  • Funding marketing campaigns to draw shoppers and tourists to New West
  • Funding a ‘buy local’ campaign
  • 400,000 cars THROUGH New West could be promoted to stop and Shop instead of candemning them as aliens. People outside hate New West for negative traffic initiatives

3. How would you like to see city council improve engagement with younger citizens?
Engage them by involving them.

4. What should New Westminster do to improve access to recreational programming and indoor public spaces in neighbourhoods that lack amenities like rec centres and libraries such as the West End, Connaught Heights and Sapperton?
Open up the Schools is a start.

5. Which approach best describes your philosophy towards City budgeting and spending?
New West should spend within its means. Borrowing money to fund community projects should only occur after a public consultation process to get a mandate from citizens to do so.
Cut costs through departmental and staff accountability

6. Which of the following most closely reflects your views on taxation?
Taxes are too high. The City should freeze or reduce property taxes by any means necessary, even if this requires cutting back on City staffing or services.
City justifies increases each year by claiming citizens want more service. If you take a close look as you trip over sidewalks and dodge pot holes thee are very few services provided. Parks are great but used by so few.

7. Beyond voting, serving on City committees and appearing at council meetings, what do you think citizens can do to become more involved in civic life?
The City has to listen! Not just pretend to listen.

8. What should be done about truck traffic through our city?
A real truck route. Only designated truck routes exist today and are mixed with Cars.

9. What should be done to improve our recreation facilities? Specifically, what would you like to see done with Canada Games Pool, which is in need of repair/upgrades?
We have excellent recreation fields etc; Encourage more use. Nothing wrong with Canada Games Pool. When they shut down for refit all they do is paint over the rusty lockers and a few other cosmetic issues. Replace what is necessary over time.

10. Let’s conclude with some ‘blue sky’ thinking. What is one big-idea project or improvement that you would propose for New Westminster if cost was no object?
Access to Queensborough for all modes. The Province and the City dropped the ball on vehicular access. I would like to see a small passenger ferry (mini paddlewheelers) leaving the Quay with stops at [Port Royal, Queensborough, Casino and back to Quay. This is not for City to administer as current council hasn”t a clue how to make money, only spend. This would be a project for Free Enterprise…

If you’d like to learn more about John Ashdown, you can find him online:

Briana Tomkinson

Briana Tomkinson is a Montreal-based writer and original founder of Tenth to the Fraser. She really likes to write letters by hand.

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