Candidates for BURNABY CITY COUNCIL - profiles and issues

Voters go to the polls on Saturday.We asked the candidates:

1. What is your background?

2. What is your community involvement?

3. Why vote for you?

4. What are the key issues?


Nick Akvenich (Ind.)

1) Resident since 1980. Married to my wonderful wife Yuriko, I have one great son, Nickolas. I have a diploma in finance, and industrial engineering (specializing in lean thinking).

2) Community Policing District 2; founding member Burnaby Optimists; Eagle Creek Streamkeeper; soccer coach (nine years) for Cliff Avenue football club; SUCCESS assisting immigrants to adjust to Canadian life, Director of Seton Villa retirement community.

3) I am running to provide to taxpayers a balanced budget with a zero per cent tax increase. Tax hikes, year after year, are a heavy burden on seniors. I want to take a leading role in preventing the erosion of Burnaby Lake as a wildlife sanctuary.

4) Over taxation, transportation, policing and the environment.

Pietro Calendino (BCA)

1) Married with one adult daughter. Live in Burnaby Heights/Capitol Hill area in North Burnaby

2) I have been councillor for three terms; MLA for Burnaby North; School trustee and chair of the Burnaby School District; director of the Burnaby Multicultural Society; director of the original Fraser Health Board; vice-president of National Congress of Italian Canadians; PR director, Rotary Club of Burnaby Deer Lake; volunteer driver for Burnaby’s Citizens Support Services,

3) I have knowledge, experience and a proven track record. I enjoy helping people and solving their issues. I will continue giving 100 per cent.

4) The main issue is what kind of city people want to live in. Burnaby is the “best run city in Canada” because the current BCA council has managed its resources exceptionally well and has provided first class services and recreational facilities.

Richard Chang (BCA)

1) I work as a movie director and producer and am married, living in the Metrotown neighbourhood in Burnaby. I am serving as a city councillor since 2008.

2) I have encouraged many members of Burnaby’s Taiwanese and Chinese communities to become active in the city and its politics.

3) I have helped bring a greater understanding of the city and local government to Burnaby’s Taiwanese and Chinese constituencies. I have facilitated stronger connections with our Asian business and cultural communities.

4) Being able to continue to strengthen citizen involvement in Burnaby with active participation in our inclusive style of local governing is a key issue. Reaching out to all areas of our community requires strong leadership like the BCA has shown and helps improve the understanding of the opportunities citizens have to help us make Burnaby the best place to live and work.

Jeffrey Chiu (Team)

1) Metrotown resident for 13 years; managing broker for a local real estate comapny.

2) Ex-chairman of Strata Council of the Crystal Mall; founder of Burnaby Chinese Community Association.

3) I will make sure there is no wasteful spending in city hall, support provincially paid municipal auditor-general.

4) wasteful spending, no transparency

Lotus Chung (Team)

1) I live in North Burnaby and am a financial advisor, interpreter and real estate specialist with Sutton Group. I hold a Master of Education degree and was a school teacher. I am married with one son.

2) A volunteer, director, and advisory council member and president of a number of non-profit organizations. A member of the Lions Club and the Rotary Club.

3) My professional experience brings a very well-rounded, business-oriented background to this election. With my strong roots in business and economics, I know how to make good business decisions and will apply those skills if elected to city council.

4) I want to promote economic growth and job creation, improve community policing and encourage greater public input. As a councillor, one of my priorities will be to provide more support for seniors and the disadvantaged. I will make decisions in an open and transparent manner.

Sav Dhaliwal (BCA)

1) I retired in 2005 after a long and rewarding career in Information Technology at TELUS. I have lived in Burnaby with my wife, Cheryl, for over 35 years. We have a grown son and are now proud grandparents of four young children.

2) I am a Life Member of the Burnaby Minor Hockey Association, where I served as a volunteer and President in 1980s and ‘90s. I also served as a director and a treasurer on the Board of the New Vista Society. I’m a founding member of the Burnaby-Edmonds Lions Club.

3) I have gained a considerable experience and appreciation of municipal priorities, governance and finances over the past nine years. I will apply my experience in guiding me while making decisions for my constituents. I take my responsibilities quite seriously. I will remain accessible and responsive to Burnaby residents at their convenience.

4) Incremental downloading by senior governments continues to erode local government resources that should rightly be directed at providing services under their own jurisdiction. Planning and governance of regional transportation by TransLink is ineffective and is now threatening quality of life.

Garth Evans (Team)

1)  I am a lawyer specializing in real estate law. A substantial part of my practice is involved with the development of low income housing and housing for the homeless. I live in Burnaby Heights with my wife and 17 year old step-son.

2)  Member, Burnaby Deer Lake Rotary Club and Vancouver Korean Lions Club; Director, L’Arche Greater Vancouver Society; Member, Canada Korea Business Association; Advisor, Canada China Business Association; Member, B.C. Degree Quality Assessment Board.

3) I am trustworthy and experienced. I was a Burnaby City Councillor from 2005 to 2008. I have done this job before and did it well. All members of the current council belong to the same political party. Burnaby needs a balanced council with effective opposition.

4) Lack of an effective opposition; property taxes have been going up 4% per year while the rate of inflation has been approximately 2%. This is unacceptable. Lack of a homeless shelter or transition housing in Burnaby. Burnaby has no homeless shelter because the current government refuses to work in cooperation with the province to build one.

Jim Favaro (Team)

1) I manage government relations for a biotechnology company with a research facility in Burnaby. We moved into the Burnaby Hospital area in 1986. I am married 28 years with two sons ages 26 and 6.

2) I volunteer with the Burnaby Hospital Foundation and The Campaign to Control Cancer where I advocate to BC MLAs for improvements to cancer care. I am a volunteer musician for the Edelweiss Dance Group. For the Olympics, I auditioned and was chosen as a volunteer performer in the Closing Ceremony with Michael Bublé. It was an honour.

3) In my 25 years of business experience and 18 years in government relations, I have learned that the key to finding a solution to a challenge is to bring people together and to listen respectfully to each other. I want to see a return of collaborative, transparent, and accountable civic government. I will work tirelessly to sustain services by identifying opportunities for increased prosperity for Burnaby and our citizens.

4) Voters are concerned about Burnaby’s municipal tax rate being constantly in excess of inflation when Burnaby has such large reserves. There is also concern that there is not a balanced political voice on council and school trustees. The solution is more people in Burnaby have to vote.  Only 1 in 4 people voted in the last civic election.

June Jeffries (Team)

1) Events manager & fundraising, married with three children 15-22. We live in upper Deer Lake.

2) Parent Advisory Council: chairperson and fundraising, DPAC - representative, School Planning Council, Burnaby Minor Hockey - Bantam tournament fundraiser and organizer; Canadian Diabetes Alumni, BC Brain Injury Association board member: secretary and fundraising, Brain Injury Association of Canada board member.

3) I believe in open and transparent government because information will encourage civic participation. Good government builds relationships with citizens, communities, and other levels of government. In order to ensure Burnaby remains a great place to live it is necessary to have a vision for the city that is planned collaboratively.

4) Taxes rise beyond the rate of inflation while council boasts of $518M in financial reserves; hoarding taxpayer’s money is not good government. We need a collaborative vision on ageing neighbourhoods, homelessness, progressive housing, community living, innovation, and sustainability. We need citizens and community associations to be part of the process.

Dan Johnston (BCA)

1)  I am a Certified General Accountant. I am married to my wife, Nancy, and live in the Lakeview neighbourhood with my teenage son who is a student at Burnaby Central.

2) I’m an active member of St. Francis de Sales parish, serving in several volunteer roles. I’m also a member of the Knights of Columbus 8853 (past Grand Knight) and the Burnaby Edmonds Lions Club. I have served on the boards of both the New Vista Society and St. Michael’s care home.

3)  My focus will continue to be on making Burnaby more efficient, maintaining our leadership role, and building on our many strengths – keeping our city green, enhancing citizen access to services as our population grows and changes demographically, and ensuring that our reserves grow at a sustainable rate for future generations.

4) The key issue in this election is who offers the best future for the City of Burnaby and its citizens. Burnaby’s been judged the “Best Run City in Canada.” We are leaders in the environment. We’re financially strong and poised for the future. The choice is clear – BCA Burnaby Citizens.

Colleen Jordan (BCA)

1) I retired as Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in 2005 and currently serve as a Burnaby City Councillor. I live in the Deer Lake neighbourhood.

2) I have been an active supporter of the United Way, from whom I received the Labour Community Service award. I serve as a Director of Pacific Blue Cross, and as Chair of the Board of Community Savings Credit Union. With both of these organizations, I am involved in their charity and community outreach.

3) I have lived and worked in Burnaby for more than 30 years and want to continue to serve my community as a city councillor. We have made considerable progress, especially in the areas of community development and housing, and I look forward to implementing Burnaby’s new sustainability strategy.

4) Burnaby cannot afford to go backwards. Our council works very well together and is efficient and effective, providing strong leadership with proven results. We need to continue on this path to maintain what we have and keep working together with the community to ensure Burnaby remains a great place to live, work, learn, play and do business.

Anne Kang (BCA)

1) I work as an elementary school teacher in Burnaby, am married and have two pre-school children. I live in Burnaby’s Inman neighbourhood.

2) Founding Director of the TIO Group for young professionals; Director, Progressive Housing Society; Past MC for the Taiwanese Cultural Festival; Past Media Coordinator for Taiwanese Cultural Festival; Past Communications Officer, Vancouver Heritage Society; Past Youth and Young Adult Leader, Tai Kong United Church.

3) I believe I represent an important element of Burnaby’s future as I, like many of our residents, am an immigrant to Canada. Our youth are our future and as we look forward to addressing the many challenges ahead, I want to serve my community and continue to work with council to provide the strong leadership that makes Burnaby Canada’s “Best Run City”.

4) Burnaby is a caring and creative community. Key issues include sustainable environmental strategies and social issues, such as housing and community inclusiveness. I will work together with the community to keep Burnaby strong, with trusted leadership from BCA–Burnaby Citizens.

Paul McDonell (BCA)

1) I retired as Deputy Chief, Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services. I am married and have three grown children, 3 grandchildren and am soon to be a great-grandfather of a new baby girl. I have lived in Burnaby since 1964 and currently reside in south Burnaby.

2) Founding member, past-president, Burnaby Edmonds Lions Club; Member, Burnaby Board of Trade Task Force on Homelessness; Member, Edmonds Business & Community Association; Member, Mayor’s Task Force on Graffiti; Past-chair, Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission; Past-chair, Burnaby and Simon Fraser Health Authorities; Director (past-chair), United Way of the Lower Mainland; Past-chair, Vancouver Firefighters Muscular Dystrophy Society; Chair, Edmonds City Fair; Chair, Edmonds Santa Claus Parade; Chair, Edmonds Murals Committee; Recipient, British Columbia Community Achievement Award; Recipient, Syd Thompson Community Service Award; Named Firefighter of the Year- Vancouver Junior Board of Trade Jaycees

3) I’m a hard worker and committed to serving my community. I enjoy working with residents and listening to their concerns and taking action to help. I want to continue to strengthen Burnaby’s network of community involvement and its reputation as Canada’s “Best Run City”.

4) We have a number of important intiatives that are at the forefront of making Burnaby the best place to live, work, play, learn and do business, including the ongoing implementation of our social sustainability strategy, completed earlier this year. Burnaby is a caring community with strong, trusted and effective leadership and that must continue.

Rick McGowan (Green)

1) I am a public school teacher, married, and have two girls 3 and 6 and live in the Metrotown neighbourhood.

2) In addition to teaching science and civics, I teach English to new Canadians as they work toward achieving a BC high school diploma. I am an organizer of the Burnaby Municipal Green Party.

3) The traditional special interests have the ear of BCA and TEAM. My special interest group is our children and grandchildren, the vulnerable in our community, and the environment.

4) Rezoning: Reviewing and improving the Official Community Plan to create complete communities. Pedestrian and bike friendly neighbourhoods. Creating a strong, resilient local and regional economy. Waste Management. We need to find local solutions to a local problem.

Carrie McLaren (Green)

1) I live in a Burnaby co-op in the Canada Way and Boundary area, with my husband and a cat.  I work as a junior accountant in a local IT firm.

2) I serve on the board of directors of two Burnaby non-profit groups, as well as volunteer with the Green Party at all levels of government. When I was attending BCIT, I volunteered with Shaw cable recording the Burnaby City council meetings. That’s where I was first exposed to the local level of government.

3) I am willing to listen to all sides of issues, and would not be constrained by an “it’s always been done that way” mentality.

4) We need more public input into long term livable community planning. We have a lack of affordable housing, and homeless support. The city of Victoria has an official Homelessness Community Plan while Burnaby continues to place the blame on other levels of government. At least zone some land, open the resource center full time, or lease city property to the non-profits who are able to help. Use the social housing fund to actually create housing.

Adrianne Merlo (Green)

1) I am married. Our oldest child is 14, and we have 13 year-old twins. Somehow we survived having three kids within 17 months. We are now experiencing the pure joy of living with three teenagers. We live in the Burnaby Heights neighbourhood.

2) Currently, I am most involved with the Green Party but in the past, I was a PAC vice-chair, and also served on DPAC and CPAC committees. My husband and I own a small business in Burnaby which employs five people. In addition, we are Ultimate Soccer School sponsors, Cliff Avenue Soccer sponsors, and members of the Burnaby Board of Trade.

3) As a Green Party candidate I am a small part of a global grassroots movement, committed to environmental and social justice issues. I am not interested in personal political power; I am running for deeply altruistic reasons. I will push for the environment, affordable housing, and take seriously any issue which is of concern to a Burnaby resident.

4) Burnaby residents are concerned about rising property taxes, affordable housing, and environmental issues. City Council is disconnected from the economic reality of many residents who are finding it increasingly difficult to afford decent housing and provide for their families.

Graham Murchie (Team)

1) I’m an urban planner with 35 years experience, over 20 in the Lower Mainland and B.C. I’ve been in private sector and government advising on community development and planning for the future. I have lived in Metrotown for six years.

2) I’ve done volunteer work on the Downtown Eastside, and pro bono work with First Nations. I’ve served on my Metrotown strata board and was president. I’ve served on the board of my local riding, federal political party.

3) As an urban planner and community worker I bring a fresh perspective. I was Surrey Chief Planner and know the issues of growth and change and how to manage them. Mayor Corrigan is not representing the citizens well: his vision is outdated, and the community plans he and his council use are from 14 to 34 years old! He refuses to have an open public process to engage residents, who need their views heard about Burnaby’s future. Team Burnaby would involve all neighbourhoods in dialogue about the future.

4) Ensuring our land use plans are open to new businesses which create jobs and a healthy local economy. Ensuring our transportation and transit are able to serve residents and business to support a strong economy.

Ray Power (Team)

1) I am 64 and live in the Capitol Hill area with my wife of 44 years. I have two grown sons, eight grandchildren and a foster child in South Africa.

2. Community involvement past and present includes volunteering at a seniors complex, life member of the Burnaby Optimists, past president of CNIB Burnaby Chapter. I have also been a Royal Canadian Legion Vice President, President of a Chamber of Commerce and a Juvenile Hockey Coach.

3) I have 25 years of experience in public service as an RCMP Corporal and a municipal government manager. I have the knowledge and ability to make informed decisions. I have already proven my dedication through service to my community. As a private business operator, I have also seen and felt the effects of over-taxation by wasteful government.

4) Key issues are a lack of public disclosure, no opposition to one party rule and council’s demeaning attitude toward public input. We need to revisit the community policing model. From my personal experience including a recent break-in at my house, we have lost the communication between residents and police. We need police officers on the street and out of the cars to converse with residents.

Lee Rankin (Team)

1) I am a lawyer with a successful private law practice. I am married to Ragini Rankin, an urban planner. Our son, Henry, 9, attends Gilpin Elementary. We live in the Deer Lake neighbourhood.

2) I am a volunteer youth soccer coach with Cliff Avenue United F.C., a volunteer softball coach with Burnaby Minor Softball Association and I have been a volunteer coach for Burnaby Eagles basketball, South Burnaby Metro Club.

3) I served eight terms and 22 years on council. I chaired most city committees and was a Metro Vancouver director. I am an avid environmentalist. I negotiated parkland and community use sites acquisition for Burnaby. I am dedicated to innovative solutions to housing, transportation and environmental issues.

4) Burnaby needs open, transparent city government. We need genuine public input whether on a new tree preservation by-law or building heights in town centres. We need accountability and real debate at city hall. We must partner with local and senior government to solve regional policing, transportation and waste management issues.

Matthew Stuart (Green)

1) I am a small scale farm owner, and developer of the Sur-Del Farmers Cooperative. I am not married (but live with my partner), and have no children. I live in North Burnaby.

2) I am involved in a number of community organizations in Metro Vancouver. I am the Vice President of the Surrey Urban Farmers Market, and am involved in the Surrey Food Action Coalition. I am also involved in Village Vancouver Transition movement, and hope to bring the Transition movement to Burnaby.

3) It’s important to have a variety of views represented in council. As a young person, I bring a fresh view to city council, and great ideas on creating a sustainable city. I will deal with food issues, developing local business, sustainable transportation, and equitable wage programs like the living wage.

4) Our platform is built on five pillars – creating an inclusive community, building a resilient local economy, improving  transportation infrastructure, making a greener Burnaby and planning for smart growth in town centres.

Nick Volkow (BCA)

1) I work as a professional truck driver, am married and have three children who have grown up and graduated from Burnaby’s public school system. I live in north Burnaby.

2) Past-member, Ex-Brits Red Lions Rugby Club; Member of “Million Mile Club”, Canadian Association of Fleet Supervision; Past-member, North Fraser Harbour Commission (1993–1996)

3) I’m committed to serving my community. Since 1996 I’ve had the opportuntity to do a lot of great things for the city and I’m not done yet. Working together with my council colleagues is a tremendous reward and I know we are all committed to continuing the work that has made Burnaby Canada’s “Best Run City”.

4) I think our strong leadership is a major issue in this election. When I talk with residents, they’re telling me how proud they are to live in Burnaby and are glad they can engage in the decision making processes by getting involved with the numerous citizen committees we have - and they don’t want that to change! As the chair of the Transportation Committee, my focus is on transportation issues and the constant improvements we make to the city’s roads and transportation infrastructure.

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