Let's Create a Brighter Future
It doesn't matter how great Abbotsford is if no one can afford to live here.
In the last three years the benchmark price of a home in Abbotsford has increased over 90%, putting home-ownership far out of reach for every day people.
Renting isn't much better. Last year, Abbotsford had the lowest vacancy rate in Canada - that's not something to be proud of. On the handful of rentals available each month, prices are skyrocketing.
Reduce Wait Times & Barriers for Developers
I’ve talked to numerous developers in Abbotsford, and I hear the same thing every time: building anything in Abbotsford is a nightmare. Our average approval time is over 12 months - in Langley, it’s just 2 months. If you were a developer, where would you go?
I will work to reduce wait times so developers can get building. Council can increase staffing, and redirect existing staff, to ensure developers aren’t spending months waiting for action. We can also improve communication channels, so when developers do face challenges, there are streamlined and clear methods for finding solutions.
Second, we can streamline the process for re-evaluating zoning changes. We need to work with developers for common sense changes with necessary, in ways that are transparent and effective.
Developers are either leaving Abbotsford, or avoiding it all together. It’s time for a change.
Incentivize or mandate Affordable Housing Developments
When developments are getting built, they sure aren’t for everyday people. Luxury developments like the Mill Lake high rise offer $700k condos, but there is little movement to build projects normal people can actually afford.
If elected, I will work to ensure we get affordable developments, not just luxury condos. Council can do this in two ways. We can either incentivize developers to build affordable units through tax-breaks or new zoning categories, or we can mandate affordable housing allocations on larger developments.
It’s time to make Abbotsford a city people can afford to live in.
The affordable housing crisis means increasing numbers of people have nowhere to live at all.
Since the last election, homelessness rates have reached record levels, and local shelters and nonprofits are struggling to cope. Our current leaders campaigned heavily on solving this issue in the last election, but have failed to follow through; City Council's "Homelessness Action Plan" hasn't been updated in over two years. We need to do better.
Increase Affordable Housing Supply
We simply don't have enough housing. Abbotsford had the lowest vacancy rate in Canada last year, at 0.4% - I've heard from residents who slept in their cars because they couldn't find a place to rent. Low availability makes it especially challenging for vulnerable and marginalized people to rent - landlords can just pick from "better" tenants to rent to.
I'll release a full housing platform soon, but we need to work with developers to open up the supply, with a priority on rental and affordable housing units.
Increase Funding for Addiction Treatment
Addiction and substance issues are often the underlying cause of homelessness, and they to be addressed. When I talk to community leaders working with the homeless population, time & time again I'm told that we just don't have enough options and facilities for rehab and treatment.
We need to work with the province to ensure we can offer the comprehensive services needed to break the cycle of addiction.
Funding for Nonprofits to Expand Their Programming
We have a whole slate of stellar, independent nonprofits already combatting homelessness in Abbotsford. Do you know much funding they get?
Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, I will push the city to make grant funding available for existing organizations. Let's support the great work being done.
Small Business Development
Some small businesses fail when they run out of money. In Abbotsford, they usually just run out of patience.
Abbotsford was built on the grit and determination of entrepreneurs and small business owners, but red tape is making it challenging for the next generation of leaders to get started. Archaic regulations and insane wait-times means many businesses fail before they can even start.
It's time to work with small businesses, not against them.
Reduce Wait Times
Smooth line Zoning Changes
Form A Small Business Advisory Committee
With over 15,000 college students, Abbotsford is a full-fledged college town. These students do a lot for our city. They live here, work here. They spend their time, money, and energy here. They shape the culture today, and will shape the city tomorrow.
It's time these students have a voice.
Form a Student Advisory Committee