Who are your Langley City candidates?

We asked Langley City byelection candidates about their backgrounds and top issues.

  • Feb. 18, 2016 1:00 p.m.

Note to readers: Below are the answers to biographical questions as the candidates sent them in. In our grid in the print edition of the Langley Advance, many answers had to be summarized for space reasons.

Some candidates listed service on civic committees as volunteer service, while others listed it as political experience. To standardize for the paper, we located civic committee service as political experience.

Shelley Coburn

Shelley Coburn

Do you live in Langley City? The answer to this questions is actually one of the reasons I was motivated to run in this by-election. I own a home in the City with my sister, where we have lived together with our kids for many years. I am currently in the process of selling and buying a townhouse in the City and during this process I have had to rent.  What I discovered is that there is an utter lack of available, suitable places to rent in the City and as a result I am renting in the Township. I believe that people should be able to rent in the City if they like, however, to do so requires that we have adequate and appropriate housing for them. I am not sure if we do and I want to understand why and then I want to do my part to do something about it. We should all have access to safe housing no matter who we are, what we earn, or where we are from.

How long have you been a City resident? I have been a resident of Langley City for a total of 23 years. Like many kids I left and then came back. I was born in Langley and I attended schools here. The doctor that delivered me delivered my oldest son at the same hospital where I was born. I am long-time Langley City; this is my home.

Occupation: Education Trustee

Volunteer service: I have a lengthy volunteer history and my role on the Board of Education has only added to the volunteer opportunities that I am able to participate in. In 2010 I was awarded the President’s Outstanding Graduate award from KPU for academic excellence and community service. I have organized coat drives, food drives and other such activities in order to generate resources for the people in this community. I have worked with literacy programs to help teach adults how to read, I have been a peer tutor, a student ambassador for my City, and I have served on multiple school PAC executives. I have given my time and energy to school food programs, either working to put them in or helping to keep them going.  I currently sit on several different committees in the City. I am a single parent, raising two teen aged boys and my many roles demonstrate that I am concerned, committed and connected to my community. I it is just who I am.

Top three campaign issues:

Re-vitalization of the downtown core. This includes developing our infrastructure, dealing with homelessness, building our relationships with business, and supporting the arts and culture. I believe if we make this our goal we will have the kind of community we all want and deserve.

Seniors. This is includes providing appropriate services for their unique needs, making sure they have access to appropriate health care, safe and affordable housing, and that access to practical and affordable public transportation. We need to help them have a meaningful and comfortable existence.

Liveability. To enhance the overall liveability in this City. This means lobbying for better transit, taking care of our parks and our public spaces and protecting our valuable ecosystems.

Previous political experience:  I currently am an Education Trustee. Prior to this I did government relations for KPU. I served on the PAC executive of two schools for a number of years. People often do not see these as political positions but they are. You have to be nominated, you have to be supported, and then you have to follow a series of policy and procedures to arrive at an acceptable outcome that serves the best interests of everyone involved, I’d say this is pretty political.

Carol Gran

Carol Gran

Carol Gran Bio

Carol is a healthy and active senior. She and husband John have lived in the two Langley’s for a total of 22 years and currently own and live in a condo across from Linwood Park in the City.   Frustration over  three issues, homelessness, crime and lack of services has led Carol to become a candidate in this by-election.  Local government’s first responsibility is to provide residents with a safe and healthy environment and to create the climate necessary to attract business that in turn will offer appropriate services. “I simply cannot accept that this is the best we can be”.

Langley City has some very serious problems and  Carol would like to help.   As a Councillor, MLA for both Langley’s, and Cabinet Minister, Carol was always a strong voice, not afraid to speak her mind and will be a positive addition to Langley City Council.  In order to solve the current challenges we must have a Council that not only understands the problems but has the will to find solutions.

Carol has volunteered with several sports and homeless organizations over the years.

Kiernan Hillan

Kiernan Hillan

Do you live in Langley City? Yes

How long have you been a City resident? 33 years

Age: 66

Occupation: Retired municipal roads and construction works manager

Volunteer service: Volunteers weekly with the  Langley Hospice Society’s Hospice Residence at Langley Memorial Hospital.

Chair of St. Joseph’s Charity Committee for the past eight years, helping set up a ‘drop in’ service to serve the homeless.

Worked with Langley Stepping Stone, who support the homeless and people suffering from mental illness in Langley.

Served as a representative on the Homeless Steering Committee at Stepping Stones for three years, working with members of City Council, the RCMP,  and other non profit organizations to develop co-operative solutions for city residents.

Served as Employee Co-Chair of “United Way Campaign” in Richmond.

Worked for more than 40 years with his wife Lorraine to develop and present marriage preparation programs.

Served as Coordinator for Engaged Encounter Vancouver for multiple terms.

Top three campaign issues:

Community Safety:

Our Downtown core is suffering. Crime is becoming more and more an issue. The encampments in certain areas of our City are affecting us all. People are scared to walk downtown at night.

I want to facilitate discussions and concrete actions with residents, members of our Council, Langley Township and Surrey, the RCMP, provincial and federal leaders, and local business leaders to move proactively to deal with the issue of the homeless and disadvantaged in our region. This is not a simple problem, but my work with the homeless gives me a unique perspective on this issue. I know we need to move this issue forward from just talking about solutions to actually doing something concrete about them. This problem is spilling over into other areas of our City. Crime is rising and we must deal with it now not later. I believe in more foot and bike patrols, more eyes on the street, a renewed push to deal with street-level crime, and other proven strategies.

Using our Tax dollars wisely; Look at your neighbourhood and you will see that our City needs attention. While on the surface it would appear that some areas are okay, take a closer look and you’ll find cracked pavement and heaving sidewalks. Under our streets are the aging sewer and water pipes we all rely on. As a retired manager in Public Works, I am aware of some of the issues.

Are we using our dollars wisely to maintain our streets, pipes, parks, trails and infrastructure? If we ignore issues that need attention, eventually the fix will cost much more than dealing with them now. A dollar spent now in preventative maintenance will save $10 in the future: It’s simple engineering. Fix what is broken early enough and it costs you less in the long run. My experience as a municipal manager will enable me to work with staff to find ways to maximize the use of our tax dollars and properly prioritize our spending.

As a long time resident, I have always felt a sense of pride in how we look after our City. I can remember when we won contests for being the best in our category in the Communities in Bloom contest across Canada. I would like us to recapture that sense of pride in our City and each of us to take ownership of taking care of our beautiful City.

Seniors: We have a very active seniors population in Langley City. But as we age mobility becomes more of an issue. My experience in Public works will help me to work with staff to identify areas within the City that could cause potential tripping hazards for seniors and work to eliminate such hazards. The sidewalks that are heaving,  the crosswalks that are unpainted the paving stones that are uneven little things to some hazards to others.

We must also look at enhanced public transportation options to help the less mobile in our community  stay connected. We must support the Seniors Action Committee in finding ways to improve connectivity for all. Pedestrian friendly precincts downtown all options must be considered to enable seniors to remain active and in touch with their world.

I will continue to support Our Senior Centre in providing education and enhanced aids to our more needy seniors. Our Senior Outreach workers need to be supported. As our population ages financial stresses mount. Helping seniors understand their options for tax relief and potential benefits is needed more than ever. Support programs such as “Meals on Wheels’ are essential.

Previous political experience:

Some say there is politics in every aspect of life from family to community and to elected office. My experience has been that a listening ear, helping hands and active brain always trumps moving lips when it comes to political involvement.

As I have said to my neighbors I am not standing for election to fulfill a long sought after political dream or ambition. I am standing because I firmly believe that I can be a catalyst for change and an advocate for all concerned Langley City residents. If you want the status quo, I am not your man.

Mel Kositsky

Mel Kositsky

Live in Langley City? – I live in Langley but not within the City boundaries. Residency is not a requirement.

How long ?  – I have lived in Langley since the late 1970s

Age?  65

Occupation?  – freelance journalist/consultant

Volunteer service? – Currently on the board of directors of Pacific Parklands Foundation, and member of Langley Environmental Partners Society. Past director of BC Recreation and Parks Association, former director of multiple local government associations, a former president of Langley Big Brothers,a former director of Langley Chamber of Commerce, volunteer for various Games held in Langley and special events.

Top Three Issues 1) encourage mixed-use housing developments to help rebuild the attractiveness of the downtown area

2) address homelessness and panhandling

3) support arts and culture initiatives to help build a vibrant City identity

Previous political experience — Served as a Langley Township Councillor for 18 years and a former director of the Metro Vancouver Regional District. Very involved with local government organizations in the Lower Mainland, provincially and federally.

Rae Maj

Rae Maj

Yes I live in the City of Langley.

I have lived in the City of Langley since June 2003.

I am 45 years old.

I am an Architectural Technologist.

My volunteer service includes: City of Langley Board of Variance Member for past 2 years, YMCA Soccer Coach, Langley Girls Soccer Association Coach.

My top three priorities are 1. Cleaning up the downtown (a lot of problems we face in our community have to do with the conditions in the downtown core).

Attracting business that the residents in our community would frequent, along with attracting others from outside the community

2. Supporting our Business Community (it is imperative that the business in the downtown is heard and provided with the

necessary support in order to thrive and be successful, as well as attracting new business).

3. Engaging with the Gateway of Hope and other experts in order to help the disadvantaged and powerless to access the programs they desperately need.

Sharon Newbery

Sharon Newbery

Do you live in Langley City? Yes

How long have you been a City resident? Most of my life. I was born in Langley

Age: 51

Occupation: Self-employed bookkeeper

Volunteer service: Current  Langley City Public Safety Committee, Langley City Board of Variance, Langley Big Brothers/Sisters/Langley Lodge. Previous: Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, Langley Canada Day, Langley International Festival, Langley Seniors Games and VTEA

Top three campaign issues: Public Safety, Homelessness, Business/Job Opportunities

Previous political experience: None

Serena Oh

Serena Oh

I live in Langley City.

3 years.

58

I was a Realtor with Re/Max, currently Restructuring career and studying laws.

BC Seniors games: provided medical services, Langley Senior Resources Society, Langley community Service Society, Meals and wheels.

Top three campaign issues:

1. Revitalization of downtown, Clean Safer City.

2. Better Transportation, rapid transit.

3. Tougher laws on vulnerable Senior abuse.

4. I was growing up with politics, my father was a politician.

Nathan Pachal

Nathan Pachal

Do you live in Langley City? Yes

How long have you been a City resident? Over a decade

Age: 32

Occupation: Senior IT Systems Engineer

Volunteer service: City of Langley Parks & Environment Advisory Committee, The HUB – Langley (Cycling), South Fraser OnTrax (Sustainable community and transportation advocacy) , Abbotsford Inter-regional Transportation Select Committee, Smart Growth BC, VALTAC (Advocating for bring light rail back to Langley)

Top three campaign issues:

Investing in a range of community safety projects that strengthen our neighbourhoods and help make everyone feel safe.

Creating strong relationships with the Langley business community in order to build a more prosperous local economy.

Enhancing and improving the safety of our park system to ensure it meets the needs of all citizens, with special consideration for seniors.

Previous political experience:

Campaign in the 2014 City of Langley civic election. Advocating for positive change in the community since I moved to Langley where via non-profit organization or appearing before council.

George Roman

George Roman

Do you live in Langley City? Yes

How long have you been a City resident? 6 years Age: 39

Occupation: Investment Advisor

Volunteer service:

• Community Day volunteer

• Christmas Parade Day volunteer

• BC Youth Week volunteer

• Volunteer Advisor to Ron Dunkley Memorial society

Top campaign issues:

Public safety and homelessness

Public safety: Police must have a greater street presence, increase foot and bike patrols, implement effective crime prevention policies, direct more resources to hot spots of crime and encourage block watch programs.

Homelessness: I support the work of a multi-agency team to better engage the homeless population in Langley. This blended outreach team will play an active role in working with people who experience homelessness to help them recover from mental health and/or addictions issues and gain access to available services.

Revitalizing downtown & transportation issues

Revitalizing downtown: We have to redesign the entire Downtown core and give it an attractive and unique character. Fort Langley, BC and Leavenworth, WA are examples of successful Downtowns with unique character. Fort Langley adopted the old town theme and Leavenworth adopted a Bavarian German town theme. This has resulted in booming business and influx of tourism all year long.

Transportation: Increased rail activity will result in drivers and emergency vehicles experiencing long delays at railway crossings. Over the coming years trains will double in length and the number of trains will increase dramatically. We have to start now to find the funding to finance more overpasses, grade separation projects and implement an information system that can detect a blockage and communicate the information in real-time to drivers and emergency services. The City has to better lobby for a light rail or skytrain option and better bus connectivity.

Providing a tax exemption to the food bank: This tax exemption will ensure that more funds are available to help the people in need.

Previous political experience:

• Member at large Advisory Planning Commission

• Member at large Canadian Pacific Railway Community Advisory Panel

• Former Member at large Public Safety Advisory Committee

• Former Member at large Recreation, Culture and Public Art Advisory Committee

• Former Member at large Youth Council

• Former Member at large Multiculturalism Advisory Committee (City of Coquitlam)

 

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