Q & A – Raymond Kobes

What do you know about the way civic government operates?
RK. As a student I have studied civic government and the other tiers above. Civic governments are unique because they deal most directly with our everyday lives.

Why did you decide to run?
RK. There are several reasons that I decided to run, but the main reason is that I believe I can bring a valuable voice to the council table. As a student at the University of the Fraser Valley I can relate directly to the large demographic of young people in our community. I believe in fiscal responsibility and a reallocation of resources looking more favourably towards arts and culture. I can be a fresh voice on city council.

What does social responsibility mean to you as an elected city councilor?
RK. Social responsibility is ensuring that I balance the well-being of the city, residents, and businesses when making decisions. I will be open and transparent in my dealings on city council and I am prepared to go to great lengths to ensure to the citizens that what I am doing benefits numerous sectors and groups and not just one. We live in a very diverse city and are decisions must reflect this diversity.

What do you want to accomplish and how will you get it done?
RK. I would like to see the budget continue to be held accountable and better allocation of resources in our community. I think we have not been putting enough emphasis on arts and culture and I would be a proponent of reallocating money from Park and Recreation to the Culture side of things which has been seriously lacking. We need to find a permanent and long-term solution to the homeless which I believe is the Housing-First approach. We must also have services coordinated properly so that when someone comes out of prison or detox they have services to help them to stay clean and be able to work towards employment. I think Housing First is the most effective method for the issue of homelessness as it has been proven in other cities in Alberta.

What should the City of Abbotsford do with Abbotsford Center now that the Heat are gone?
RK. We have a fantastic facility that we need to continue to promote to bands and shows while we continue to search for a revenue-positive anchor tenant. This tenant will have to be a private organization that will not be costing our city. I believe we can find a hockey team in the next couple of years and I am prepared to wait an additional year if that is what it takes to get a deal that will benefit us long term. Rushing into a decision again will not be beneficial for Abbotsford.

What should Abbotsford’s approach to homelessness be?
RK. As I have previously stated Housing First is the method that has been proven to be effective and I would be in favour of this approach here in Abbotsford. A homeless coordinator that ensures services are provided for those who need them is also extremely important for dealing with this issue.

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?
RK. I will not comment on an ongoing legal law suit.

Abbotsford suffers from the highest unemployment in Western Canada and has for years. What would you do about that?
RK. We need to promote and increase the demand for jobs here in Abbotsford. There are numerous hoops that business must jump through in order to set up shop. We must streamline the process and bring the appeal back to Abbotsford. Taxes must also be reined in for we cannot promote business on one hand and be discouraging it with taxes in the other.

How would you resolve the commercial truck parking issues here in Abbotsford?
RK. There are numerous options to deal with this issue. I believe we must enforce current by-laws with regards to commercial truck parking while at the same time give them places to park. We need to start planning today for the future of parking in Abbotsford as more and more people are moving to urban centre and we must have a plan to deal with this issue. This coupled with gravel lots and truck-stop spaces are essential in dealing with this issue not just today, but for the long term as well.

Abbotsford has no animal control and care facility. Will you address this issue when elected and how will you do so?
RK. I would support an animal control and care facility as a councillor. It is astounding that we do not have one and we must look towards a fiscally and budget responsible approach that will fill this gap. I would be willing to meet with interested parties and work towards a solution here in Abbotsford.

Is there anything we should have asked that would better demonstrate your value as a candidate?
RK. I am level-headed, keen to learn and excited for an opportunity to represent the citizens of Abbotsford on the council table. I believe we must be constantly assessing situations to see how they will work out in the long-term. This can be difficult and may cost us short-term, but I am not here for only the short-term, but also the long. I would like to ask for your vote to have one young face present on council.

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