Q & A: Kelley Chahal

By November 11, 20142014 Municipal Election

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 answers provided by all those who participate.

Abbotsford Today: What do you know about the way civic government operates?
Kelly Chahal: Unlike Provincial and Federal governments, civic government has more of an influence upon our daily lives and in theory, is supposed to engage citizens so we can participate in local government. Civil governments manage the city and are entrusted with revenues, resources and are charged to be productive, accountable and provide leadership.

AT: Why did you decide to run?
KC:I decided to run because I am disappointed with the leadership and accountability demonstrated by City Council.

AT:What does social responsibility mean to you as an elected city councillor?
KC: Social responsibility means striking a balance between the economy and social structures. If there is no balance between economic development and the welfare of society and the environment, then there is no benefit to society at large. I am willing to do the research and spend the time required to be knowledgeable about the issues so I can serve the community in a productive manner.

AT: What do you want to accomplish and how will you get it done?
KC: I’d like to ensure there is engagement with citizens by communicating openly and regularly about important issues that affect them. For example, review City documents regarding managing DCC’s. Transparency is important because ultimately, it’s the citizen’s money we are managing. I’d like to get rid of the numerous in camera meetings held, which doesn’t allow for citizen participation and involvement.

AT: What should the City of Abbotsford do with Abbotsford Center now that the Heat are gone?
KC: Sell it to a private entity. Fire the current management group.

AT: What should Abbotsford’s approach to homelessness be?
KC: Develop and maintain working relationships with government and local resources who are the experts in managing and facilitating successful outcomes. I would not shut out important stakeholders but encourage them to participate in interventions with those who may find themselves in a state of homelessness.

AT: If elected what would you do about the law suits faced by the City of Abbotsford by members of the KC: Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors through Pivot Legal Society?
If you spent your time facilitating respectful dialogue, and show flexibility and respect, you probably would not be facing a lawsuit to begin with. I would go back to the table and try to assist in developing an open and honest dialogue – because history shows, if you are prepared to work with others, they come along as well.

AT: Abbotsford suffers from the highest unemployment in Western Canada and has for years. What would you do about that?
KC: If we do not encourage businesses to come here and stay, how are we going to develop jobs for qualified individuals? We need to change our mindset and be proactive advocates of industry and business, not bog them down with red tape and bureaucracy.

AT: How would you resolve the commercial truck parking issues here in Abbotsford?
KC: Firstly, we need to acknowledge this is an issue in Abbotsford. Trucker’s state buying land and charging trucks monthly for parking does not make financial sense – land value and taxes are too high and the cost of owning will not be covered by the use of those who will park their trucks. The City needs to work with the stakeholders to come up with a solution which will benefit everyone and be sustainable for the future. If we expect to increase industry, we need to accommodate those who are struggling with this problem.

AT: Abbotsford has no animal control and care facility. Will you address this issue when elected and how will you do so?
KC: As the City grows larger, Abbotsford will need to have our own resources so that we can take care of our own issues. Contracting out to another resource can leave us vulnerable if something were to change with the resource.

AT: Is there anything we should have asked that would better demonstrate your value as a candidate?
KC: My value comes from a place where I raised my two children as a single mother during their latter years, and understanding the challenges associated with that. I have the tenacity and will to advocate and stand up for or what I believe is important and I have demonstrated that by the service I have provided to the community for the past 25 years. I didn’t always have the time or money, but I made volunteering my time a priority when it came to advocating for marginalized and vulnerable individuals. Pursing and completing my education in Criminal Justice shows that despite challenges, I can overcome barriers and achieve successful outcomes. I am a hard worker, and show integrity and compassion in whatever I am involved with.

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