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.
1. First, let’s hear a little about you:
- What’s your name? – François Nantel
- How long have you lived in New Westminster? – 12 years
- What do you love most about our city? – central to the mainland
- What do you think most needs improvement? – ease congestion at rush hour
- What is the civic issue that is the most personally meaningful to you? – traffic
2. What are the top three initiatives you believe would improve economic development?
- Small business incubation and support
- Funding a ‘buy local’ campaign
- Cutting red tape for businesses at City Hall to streamline processes to obtain permits, inspections, etc.
3. How would you like to see city council improve engagement with younger citizens?
more sports, and school visits to encourage student not to drop out of school
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?
develop an email list of citizens, and inform them of event programming. May be we could have a shuttle bus to make these facilities more accessible, depending on the cost of cousre
5. Which approach best describes your philosophy towards City budgeting and spending?
infrastructure money should come from the Bank of Canada. The Feds just have to change their policy, or we have to change the Feds, the political culture is the problem
6. Which of the following most closely reflects your views on taxation?
I would have to assess the taxation level with other data. On the other hand, taxation level is like gas going to the carburetor. If the air intake, for example, is not adjusted properly, your gas consumption will be higher, and your engine will not perform as well as it could. Same thing for taxation. If other level of government(s) short changes the citizens based on ideology (so, in other words, if those regulating the air intake are the same as those who sell the gas, then a bad mix of air to gas only means higher sales for them, while costing you more money to go to the same place), such as shackling the Bank of Canada in order prevent built-in efficiency within the citizenry, then, the assessment of taxation level is skewed by that much. We must first make proper use of our assets, then look at taxation levels after.
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?
volunteer their time. Send letters to the editor. Start a blog
8. What should be done about truck traffic through our city?
Enforced the engine break by-law so that noise is reduced. Repair roads, such as Royal Ave. at 1st street, where trucks going there make huge noise as they run into the uneven pavement (going towards 6th street)
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?
Only a complete understanding of the issues at the pool will dictate what should be done, repair or rebuild. Whatever is done, we should try to get international competitions for diving when the pool is ready. Same thing for Queen’s Park arena. We should try to get short track speed skating events. Off the river Downtown, we should try to get the Strong Men Competition. What about getting Little League Baseball championship at Moody Park? We could have games throughout the Lower Mainland, and have the semi and final games at Moody Park.
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?
Build a tunnel from Hwy 1 to Hwy 91 by-passing all of New Westminster. See if it is possible. Watch “Money Master” on youtube. 3 1/2 hours of adult education. You can download the movie, and watch it on your big screen TV, or off your computer monitor. Really eye opening.