Q & A – Karen Young

In order to get beyond the election signs and the candidate profiles Abbotsford Today has put together a series of questions for candidates in the upcoming municipal election. We will be publishing the answers provided by those who participate.

Abbotsford Today What do you know about the way civic government operates?
Karen Young That a duly elected Mayor and Council represent and oversee the needs of the community. This includes oversight of bureaucracy through the City Manager, oversight of the budget required to operate City services including planning for the future, and managing growth. This also includes listening to and interacting with the citizens of the City, listening to their concerns, and creating a liveable and safe place.

AT Why did you decide to run?
I love this City, and believe that I have something to offer the people here. My service and leadership over the past 20 years in various Board and non-profit positions including in business, the arts and heritage, social services, and community service will, I believe, serve this community well.

AT What does social responsibility mean to you as an elected city councilor?
KY Responsibility towards the community through sustainable and responsible financial management, community growth, respect for the needs of the people and respect for preserving a clean environment for the future.

AT What do you want to accomplish and how will you get it done?
Increase employment with jobs that pay a living wage and higher
a) Actively seek, through the Economic Development office, businesses that will be responsible employers, setting a goal and timelines.
b) Eliminate homelessness
1)Working with the non-profit sector, seek a wide range of housing solutions, including low barrier shelter, transitional housing and permanent supported housing, as well as a range of supports to help people transition from homelessness to sustained housing.
2) Seek funding from senior levels of government, other public funders, and private foundations
3) Research and seek to provide affordable housing by working with the provincial and federal government
c) Manage and encourage growth and development, while protecting agriculture and the environment
1) Update the OCP
2) From a streamlined Development application system, move applications quickly and efficiently through to completion

AT What should the City of Abbotsford do with Abbotsford Center now that the Heat are gone?
KY Explore possibilities that may include (but not limited to)
A) Seek an anchor tenant
B)) Privatise or partner with the goal of profit or cost recovery

AT What should Abbotsford’s approach to homelessness be?
KY Having worked for the past 6+ years in a senior management position with an organization that effectively provides solutions to homelessness (now semi retired), I suggest the following:
1) First, recognize that people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness must be treated with dignity and respect. This should characterize all communications with, and about people who are homeless.
2) Set a goal to end homelessness within a defined timeline by providing for (through partnerships and informed communications) a wide range of solutions that will both assist people who are currently homeless – whether street homeless, sofa-surfing, or living in unsecure housing – and address some of the root causes of homelessness.
3) Concrete solutions in accordance with guidelines and outcomes laid out by Council, matching best practices, and with understanding of our community may include a range of the following:
– (1) staffed, minimal barriered housing overseen by the non-profit sector
– (2) affordable housing appropriate to the health and safety needs of an individual
– (3) outreach services to directly assist people to maintain their housing by liaising with landlords, and assist with maintaining health
– (4) Funding will be partnership with senior levels of government, health authorities, public Foundations and private funding.

AT If elected what would you do about the law suits faced by the City of Abbotsford by members of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors through Pivot Legal Society?
KY I can’t comment on an ongoing legal action.

AT Abbotsford suffers from the highest unemployment in Western Canada and has for years. What would you do about that?
KY Set a priority of attracting and proactively seeking business that provides living wage jobs through Economic Development office.

AT How would you resolve the commercial truck parking issues here in Abbotsford?
KY Enforce the existing bylaws that set where commercial trucks may park, as this is one of the issues.

AT Abbotsford has no animal control and care facility. Will you address this issue when elected and how will you do so?
KY Abbotsford deserves an animal control and care facility, and, should the matter come before Council, I would suggest exploring a working relationship with the local SPCA.

AT Is there anything we should have asked that would better demonstrate your value as a candidate?
KY What about community involvement?
Currently on the Board of Governors, I was President of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce in 2001. I served as President of her Rotary club (2005), President of the Abbotsford Symphony Orchestra Society (to 2007). I was a member of the Abbotsford Economic Development Advisory Committee in 2001, 2002. I sat on the Executive Committee of the Campaign for Healthcare Excellence, technology-fundraising for our new hospital. I was appointed to the Abbotsford Arts and Heritage Advisory Committee, 2006 – 2011. Previously, I was a Leadership trainer for the United Way FV (1996-2000), and was on the volunteers organizing committee for the 1995 Western Canada Summer Games (1992 – 1995). Provincially I was appointed to the British Columbia Arts Council, serving from 2007 through 2012.

Abbotsford Today has put together an extensive section on the 2014 Municipal Election. In addition candidates announcements, profiles and Q&A as well as news stories, columns and pieces contributed by candidates it includes:
Contact Your Candidates
List of Candidates
Municipal Election Guide
New Local Elections Legislation

The Municipal Election Guide is made up primarily of information and links from the City of Abbotsford’s extensive information section on the City website which provides all of the information you will require in order to exercise your franchise.

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