Candidates Lay Out Platforms At Bradner Meeting

About 90 residents from the rural area of Bradner and West Abbotsford met at the Bradner Hall Wednesday evening to hear from the candidates in the November 15 municipal election.

Incumbent City councilors and the mayor sat on a raised dais while other candidates sat in the audience.

It was the first look voters have been given of many of the candidates and provided an opportunity for new candidates to practice their speeches and sum up their pitches in the two-minute time frame the format allowed.

The evening saw very little audience participation other than the one question which seemed uppermost on most area residents’ minds. Heather Lemieux asked for a show of hands demonstrating who voted to take the land for the West Aldergrove Business Park out of the ALR.

Mayor Banman tried to sidestep the issue by saying it was the decision of the Agricultural Land Commission which made the decision but Lemieux was undeterred.

Taking the initiative back from Banman she asked, “All right. Then by a show of hands; who voted against it?”

Councillors Henry Braun and Patricia Ross put up their hands.

Other than the candidates residents heard from the police department and the fire department and City Manager George Murray was asked by MC Daren Alary to describe the situation with ‘the hockey team.”. Murray said the City would not enter another deal with an anchor tenant that was not in the best interest of the taxpayers of Abbotsford and said that he was hoping to see the money-losing entertainment side of the 7,000-seat arena operations move towards a “revenue-positive impact.”

Murray said that while figures weren’t final the Calgary Flames affiliate Abbotsford Heat had probably cost taxpayers $2.25 million (on top of the cash buyout from their ten-year contract with the City)

The Candidates:

Mayor Banman

Incumbent mayor Bruce Banman told the audience that he had decided to run for mayor in order to achieve real change and to abolish old regime which had stagnated at city hall for so long.

He emphasized that, for the first time in 18 years property taxes are not going up andf that crime is down an average of 11 percent.

“City hall is now listening to you and there is no longer a small elite group controlling things behind closed doors,” he said.

Asking for voters support in his bid for a second term Banman said, “My work is not done.”

Henry Braun

Councillor Henry Braun spoke of his 60 years living in Abbotsford and said, “My roots in this community are deep.” He spoke of his experience as the former president of largest privately held railway in Canada and told voters his corporate experience has helped him deal with some of the biggest issues which face the community.

Braun has sat on a large number of committees, boards and commissions during his working life including the Airport Authority, the Economic Development Commission, variety of police boards and commisions as Trinity Western University’s School of Business Advisory Committee. In 2008 Braun was awarded the Order of Abbotsford.

“A mayor must have a clear understanding of the facts and the ability to articulate succinctly important information and negotiate effectively for the City’s best interests. This city needs a leader who understands how to achieve consensus around the council table and provide both vision and leadership,” he said.

Rick Barkwell

Candidate for City council Rick Barkwell told the audience he was born in Abbotsford and wants to give back to his community. The investment advisor stressed his background as a businessman and said he fully supports the direction council has adopted in the last three years of no tax increases and lower crime.

Les Barkman

Incumbent councillor Les Barkman told the audience his years of service at the City of Abbotsford would stand him in good stead running for his third term on council. Barkman was first was elected to council in 2008 and prior to that spent 35 years of working  for the City city hall in the public works department. He retired as supervisor of sanitation and roads in the public works department.

Sandy Blue

The former Economic Development Officer for Maple Ridge, and AbbotsfordFIRST candidate, stressed her experience working for a number of blue chip companies. She said she was proud to call Abbotsford home and told the audience she had made the decision to get involved in politics because Abbotsford is need of true leadership and a new vision for its growth over the coming years.
“The decisions we make on November 15 will affect our community for much longer than just the next four years. They will affect us for many years to come,” she said.

Dan Bue

Candidate Dan Bue spoke of the ways in which his years of working with disadvantaged people would help him work with Abbotsford’s crisis and offered that his years running successful businesses would serve him well in ensuring the City is run with a balanced budget. Bue said that candidates who refer to themselves as ‘business-friendly’ must also be friends of those in the business of agriculture.

Vince Dimanno

Vince Dimanno, who came within several hundred votes of being elected in the last municipal election, spoke about the three major initiatives the City has engaged in over the last several years – Plan A; the Stave Lake Water pitch and Mayor Banman’s plan to give millions in cash, land and taxes away to the YMCA – as examples of why the City desperately needs to change course.
“The reason I joined the AbbotsfordFIRST group is because, among other things the group is committed to effective strategic planning,” he said.<

Brenda Falk

Owner of Tanglebank Gardens Nursery, Brenda Falk spoke of her years in business and in the public sector serving on a variety of municipal committees. She said that one of her primary concerns and reason for running is the Fraser Valley Corridor which has been virtually ignored by municipal governments, the growing removal of land from the ALR, and the need to stop the outflow of businesses from Abbotsford.
“A lot of businesses are leaving Abbotsford,” she said, “And I hope we can convince them not to give up on Abbotsford.”

Aird Flavelle

Perennial council candidate Aird Flavelle spoke of his perfect attendance in the audience at council meetings over the last seven years and said he would prefer to ask Bradner residents how he can help them rather than tell them how he intends to do it.
Flavelle said he opposed, what he called ‘leap frog development’ we have seen in the Lower Mainalnd and was fort the protection of agricultural land. He also announced that he had been endorsed by the Abbotsford Greens Elector Organization.

Moe Gill

Veteran councilor Moe Gill spoke about his many years on council representing the interests of farmers and his desire to continue to do so. The six-term councilor said that Bradner was a pleasant rural part of the community, that he has attended many community events in the area and that he would be honoured to be trusted to represent the interest of the community again.

Bill MacGregor

Two-term councilor Bill MacGregor told the audience he knows what it takes to lead. Describing his years of being paid as a teacher and later as a principle as service to the community, MacGregor then described how much he loved Abbotsford. Adopting his best teacher-pupil stance, MacGregor then told the audience, “A true leader does not stand down when the seas boil.”

Gerda Peachey

Candidate Gerda Peachey spoke of the need to have professionals handle the economic development file in Abbotsford rather than allowing mayor and council direct the city’s efforts.
“They have no skin in the game,” she said, adding that council’s track record of disastrous decisions – Plan A, the Abbotsford Heat, the YMCA – were evidence that council is not up to the task. She provided a further example of a development along Railway Avenue which saw the City pay for infrastructure including roads, lighting, and sidewalks to the tune of $8 Million with not development whatsoever.

Hank Roos

President of the Abbotsford-Mission Nature Club, Hank Roos told the audience that, after 42 years in Abbotsford he had decided it was time to give back to the community. He spoke of the need to temper economic growth within the confines of sustainability. Roos announced that, like Aird Flavelle, he had been endorsed by the Abbotsford Greens Elector Organization.

Patricia Ross

Incumbent councillor Patricia Ross said that a strong economy was needed to provide a healthy environment for future generations. She spoke about the need for sustainability and detailed her long experience as a councillor in Abbotsford and with the Fraser Valley Regional District and reminded residents of her strong opposition to Vancouver’s attempts to reduce its waste footprint by converting garbage to energy.

John Smith

Incumbent councilor John Smith spoke of his nine years on council precede by two four year terms on the school board and told the audience he believed Abbotsford should continue down the path it is, citing a final stop to years’ worth of tax increases. Smith told the audience Abbotsford needs to be more business friendly, thank the staff of the City for all their hard work and told voters they should reward his experience by voting for him.

Ross Siemens

The youngest councillor in Abbotsford’s history at the age of 23, Ross Siemens, who is running as part of the AbbotsfordFIRST group, spoke of the need to address the homeless issue. A long-time member of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) Siemens said that his abilities at building relationships and consensus, will be a valuable asset in navigating the issues which face the City over the coming months and years.

Tina Stewart

Executive Director of the ADBA Tina Stewart told the audience she loves her job and supports the concepts of economic growth and sustainability, which she says are “The only way we are going to help those people.” Stewart also spoke in favour of a living wage and pledged to do everything she could to support small and medium-sized businesses and families.

Ken Wuschke

Newcomer Ken Wushke told the audience of his involvement with the Traffic Advisory Committee and the City’s Heritage Committee. One of his proudest moment since moving to Abbotsford with his family four years ago, he said, was when the project he started and fought for – the conversion of the old downtown library to an Arts Centre – became a reality earlier this year. Wuschke said Abbotsford’s agricultural sector needed to be supported and protected and that land in the ALR needs to stay in the ALR

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Gerda Peachey says:

    Hi Mike: Just a bit of an error correction in this sentence,….”a development along Railway Avenue which saw the City pay for infrastructure including roads, lighting, and sidewalks to the tune of $8 Million with not development whatsoever.” From the back of the hall, it was probably difficult for you to hear, but I was talking about an area behind Homestead Nusery on Marshall Rd, that is between Clearbrook and Foy St. The city had a lot of men and equipment working there for over a year, preparing for future industrial development. So some serious infrastructure work is done now, in the event that industry wants to develop there. I’ve asked staff how the city would recover Development Cost Charges, since the $8 million has already been spent on it. Anyway, about a year has passed since the crews left, and the road, sidewalk and lamp posts sit silent while the weeds and thistles grow there.

  • The Editor says:

    Thanks Gerda, Not only was I at the back of the hall … I’m getting old 🙂
    Thanks for your help.

  • Deceit in Drugs says:

    Re: Clearbrook East Industrial Park…the city failed to initiate
    block sales of property to facilitate development. Developers are
    left to deal with several individual property owners to move their
    development plans forward, thereby, creating a comlicated, slow

    The taxpayers have, however, paid for the servicing of the Industrial Park in order to stimulate Industrial development.

  • Deceit in Drugs says:

    Former Maple Ridge Economic Development Manager ?

    As at Sept., 2014 Sandy Blue was still Maple Ridge Economic Development Manager? Has she resigned in order to run for Abbotsford Council?

  • Deceit in Drugs says:

    Bill MacGregor, as council rep on ADBA you did stand down, when seas boiling and voted down the ACS proposal on Montvue on behalf of
    select business owners/investors in C7 zone.

    What is your stance on low barrier housing on cities Gladys properties, which are in the BIA but not C7 zone?

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