Scott Anderson made one promise in the 2014 municipal election.
He promised to tell people what he believes to be true, and not what he thinks the people want to hear.
With that, the interim leader of the B.C. Conservative Party and recently retired commissioned officer with the Canadian Forces Reserve, has thrown his hat into the ring Oct. 20 to retain his council seat.
“Politics is changing, and people are looking for a new breed of politician who looks them in the eye and tells them the truth instead of hiding behind platitudes and smiles,” said Anderson, who believes the city is doing well on many issues, like underground infrastructure and development strategies.
“I think we’re on the right track in terms of underground infrastructure replacement in most cases. For years our pipes and wires were neglected, but under the past two councils this deficit has been addressed by a comprehensive program funded by a dedicated replacement levy. I will push for continuing replacement, because when we’re done we’ll be back to maintenance mode for another 50 to 100 years.”
Anderson believes the city needs to be more responsive to the disruptions caused to businesses and citizens, and be willing to use new techniques and faster construction methods like 24/7 or 24/5 construction wherever feasible.
He sees areas in which the city can improve, including more transparency and citizen engagement, more robust efforts in petty crime prevention and civic pride, and a halt to variances to reduce parking requirements, among others.
“I will continue to push for town hall-type engagement, street level enforcement of panhandling and nuisance bylaws, and a halt to what has become almost a habit of lowering parking requirements for new development,” said Anderson, who believes that municipal politicians should govern by public consent as much as possible, and not by forcing behaviours on citizens by restrictive actions.
“We should treat our citizens as customers and be responsive to their needs rather than trying to force them to adapt to our direction.”
Anderson thinks it is crucial that a strong, engaged council be elected to face the new problems the city is dealing with.
“The 2018 election is important because so many incumbents will not be running,” said Anderson. “And that can mean significant change on council. We can’t afford to elect candidates on the basis of popularity. Drifting along and refusing to try new things simply isn’t an option anymore. I urge folks to look beyond the platitudes and clichés of old-school politics and search for candidates willing to honestly engage, who have a can-do attitude.”
The only member of the current council who has not publicly declared their intentions Oct. 20 is Mayor Akbal Mund. Councillors Dalvir Nahal and Brian Quiring will join Anderson in seeking to retain their seats while incumbents Juliette Cunningham and Catherine Lord have elected not to run again.