Q & A – Paul Redekopp

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?

Paul Redekopp Council is responsible for developing and enacting municipal by-laws that govern residents. Council is also responsible for administering and executing these by-laws, as well over seeing the day to day operations of local government. It is also required by Councillors to be part of or chair local and provincial committees. Although this is considered a part time job it is usually 40 or more hours per week.

AT Why did you decide to run?
PR In 1988, I came to Abbotsford from Campbell River to help out with the 5-day clubs at South Abbotsford MB Church. I loved the community so much that I decided there and then, that one day I would move here. In 1992 that dream became reality and I was able to make Abbotsford my ‘home’.

Now I want to help make a difference and serve YOU as your City Councilor.
It is time for change in Abbotsford, It is time for:

· Lower Property Tax and end User Fees
· Fiscal Responsibility (pay off our 100 million dollar debt)
· Accountability and Transparency at City Hall
· Streamline and cut Red Tape for small to medium size business
· Work at finding solutions for our homeless community by empowering our not for profit agencies and giving them the necessary tools required to fulfill their vision
· Build a safer community for all of us.

AT What does social responsibility mean to you as an elected city councilor?
PR “The time is always right to do what is right”
Martin Luther King 1929-1968, American leader of civil rights movement and Nobel Peace Prize winner

Every individual has a responsibility to act in manner that is beneficial to society and not solely to the individual. As councilors we have to think for the whole community and make decisions based on what is good for the community not for special interest groups. I want to work towards a more ethical and socially responsible Abbotsford. We need to lead by example and show Abbotsford that “we” their elected council, not only has their best interest in hand but also the economic, environment and social needs of Abbotsford. It is time to work together to make Abbotsford the best practice city in BC.

AT What do you want to accomplish and how will you get it done?
PR I want to see small business return to Abbotsford. Our unemployment rate is over 8%, which is the highest in BC. By cutting red tape, lowering property tax and stream lining how we do small business. We can make Abbotsford a more desirable place to come and do business, buy a home and raise a family. At the same time expanding our tax base and lowering our unemployment rate, creating a win win for everyone. Abbotsford has an international airport, a commercial border south to the USA markets and direct access to the west and east of BC and Canada. Cities like Surrey would love to have the potential that we have here in Abbotsford.

AT What should the City of Abbotsford do with Abbotsford Center now that the Heat are gone?
PR We have to move forward and let the past rest, it is unfortunate that poor decisions were made that will have a lasting effect on us all. We are now holding a huge debt and a vacant building most of the time. So what to do now? We need to bring in a new tenant, one who will respect the tax payer and who sees Abbotsford as a place to call home. I do not have the answer as to what that looks like, but I do know that we have to get to work on it right away. With the right team or tenant we can turn our amazing center into a revenue making center. Until this happens we need to continue to promote our city as the alternate to Vancouver. We do have the perfect venue to support concerts and shows of all sizes.

AT What should Abbotsford’s approach to homelessness be?
PR We need to work with our homeless community and our not for profit organizations, to break down the barriers that have been put up over the past few years. We can do this by empowering our not for profit organizations, giving them the necessary tools required to achieve their vision and goals of helping our community. This is just a start; the solution will come when we can all work together with a common goal in mind and not work against one another.

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?
PR I would like to sit down and have an open conversation with all those involved to help sort out our differences, so that we can put the past behind us and work towards real solutions that will benefit the needs of everyone. One thing we can do is reexamine and possibly revise our current Bylaws regarding parks.

AT Abbotsford suffers from the highest unemployment in Western Canada and has for years. What would you do about that?
PR Unemployment is a big issue in Abbotsford, part of it comes from the perception that Abbotsford is not a friendly place to do business. We need to change this perception so that we can draw more new business to Abbotsford. We can start by lowering Property Tax, cutting Red Tape and streamlining our permit process, making it easier to do business in our city. This will all lead to more higher paying jobs and a lower unemployment rate. We want to become a desirable city, to start a business, buy a home and raise a family.

AT How would you resolve the commercial truck parking issues here in Abbotsford?
PR We have a lot of commercial trucks in Abbotsford that cannot park on the road or in some neighbourhoods. I would love to see a full service commercial vehicle park in Abbotsford. Equipped with fuel pumps for commercial and personal vehicles, a resting area, restaurants and a dumping station for RV’s and plenty of secured parking. This would alleviate the need for road side parking and keep all commercial vehicles in one area. It would also generate revenue and create jobs here in Abbotsford.

AT Abbotsford has no animal control and care facility. Will you address this issue when elected and how will you do so?
PR Currently we are in a contract with the city of Chilliwack’s animal control facility. I would like to revisit this contract to determine whether or not it is feasible to continue on in the contract or open an animal control/care facility in Abbotsford.

AT Is there anything we should have asked that would better demonstrate your value as a candidate?
PR How can we include our ageing community in the vision of Abbotsford?
I would love to host a senior’s art festival here in Abbotsford. It would be a festival that would showcase all the talents that our seniors have, from all cultures and backgrounds.
Dance to sculpting to the art of quilting, there is so much that we can learn from our maturing community. I believe that we could have a festival that would reach all the corners of BC and the Pacific North West. If I am elected and it is a desire of our seniors to have such a festival, I will work with groups such as ASAA, community service and other organizations to help this possibility become a reality.

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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