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Get to know Burnaby council candidates: Daniel Tetrault

“Like many municipalities, Burnaby is in need of a variety of housing forms including non-profit projects and social housing initiatives to meet the needs of the community.”
Daniel Tetrault, Burnaby Citizens Association, is running for Burnaby city council this October.

Burnaby will head to the polls on Oct. 15 and vote for eight city councillors and seven school trustees. Mayor Mike Hurley has been acclaimed for a second term after receiving no challengers. 

The Burnaby NOW asked every candidate running for office in the upcoming civic election to respond to a questionnaire on issues facing Burnaby today.

Candidates were given strict word limits and a deadline to submit their answers. Answers exceeding the word limits are marked. For details on how and where to vote, see our voter’s guide.

Questionnaires have been edited for clarity.

Name: Daniel Tetrault

Current occupation: Burnaby secondary school teacher

Short biography (50 words maximum): I have been a proud member of the Burnaby community for over 20 years. I graduated from SFU, I teach in Burnaby, and my wife and I just welcomed our first child into the world at Burnaby General. I recently served as the president of the Burnaby Teachers’ Association.

Why are you running for city council? (150 words maximum): I love Burnaby. We have ample green space and parks for families to enjoy. We have thriving local businesses that showcase and serve the diversity of our community. We have community centres that provide services people count on and we have access to strong transportation networks. But I also know that we can make Burnaby even better.

As a teacher, new parent and long-time Burnaby resident, I know our city and the families that live here are facing challenges, and I am running to make life easier for them.

I am running to protect and build more affordable housing, take immediate and decisive action on climate change and reconciliation, and create neighbourhoods that are accessible, inclusive and provide ready access to services we rely on.

I am proud of the work BCA councillors and Mayor Hurley have accomplished in our city and want to build on that success.

What are the top three issues facing Burnaby today, and what are your plans to address them? (250 words maximum):

Housing: Burnaby was once an affordable place to live. But now, people who are renters and those looking to buy, are priced out of the market.

We need to make sure that people living in Burnaby can afford to stay while also recognizing that we need to make more room for our growing population. I support the creation of a city housing authority that builds affordable housing.

This would remove the profit incentive and ensure that housing was provided for those that need it.

I would also support zoning for more diverse housing forms (laneways, duplexes, etc.) where it makes sense to do so, and purchase or lease city land for non-profit and co-op housing developments.

Climate change: Climate action is needed, and cities must play an important role in reducing greenhouse emissions.

I support better transportation options so that it is more convenient for people to bike, walk or take transit to where they need to get to. We need to make sure all of our buildings are energy efficient, and this means retrofitting our older buildings and making sure all new builds are net zero.

Community programs: Burnaby offers many great programs for families, but they are not always accessible.

I would make sure we have the online infrastructure to deal with the heavy registration volumes, and, more importantly, we need to hire more swim instructors, music teachers and city workers so we can provide these valuable programs and activities to families and get people off waitlists.

What is your housing situation? Are you a homeowner, renter or something else (describe)? Do you rent property to others? (50 words maximum): My wife and I own our townhouse in the Brentwood area.

Burnaby currently has a population of about 250,000 people and is projected to grow to about 360,000 by 2050. How – and where – do you want the city to accommodate that growth? (200 words maximum): Burnaby is a rapidly growing city, and our infrastructure needs to keep up with the demand. This means more community centres, more schools, more parks and an investment in different types of housing.

Burnaby owns a lot of land, and we have an opportunity to designate zoning for the “missing middle.”

This means looking at a variety of housing forms like townhouses, co-ops and low-to-medium rise apartment buildings to provide affordable housing for working people. We cannot just rely on towers to accommodate a growing population.

Yet with an increase of housing in neighbourhoods, we need to make sure the amenities come with it. For example, in the Brentwood area we have seen massive growth, including an influx of new young families.

Unfortunately, the schools are overflowing, and kids are stuck in portables. We need a new school in the area to meet the growing population.

In addition to schools, the city must find new ways to create green spaces and make sure that the community centres have the capacity for kids to access a variety of parks and recreational programs.

Some organizations are calling on municipal governments to support the creation of non-profit housing by allowing projects to be built without rezoning requirements. (As an example, Women Transforming Cities wants social housing initiatives of up to 12 storeys to be permitted in multi-family areas and up to six storeys in other residential areas, without a rezoning requirement). Is this something you would support – why or why not? (250 words maximum): Like many municipalities, Burnaby is in need of a variety of housing forms including non-profit projects and social housing initiatives to meet the needs of the community.

These projects can and should be integrated into multi-family areas but must involve adequate community consultation to make sure that the unique character of existing neighbourhoods is considered, and we hold onto our cherished greenspace.

I understand that many organizations have had to undergo lengthy processes and we need to find ways to shorten rezoning applications so that the housing we need can be built quickly and efficiently.

In 2021, 73 people died in Burnaby due to the heat dome. What are your plans for the city to address increasing heat? (150 words maximum): Burnaby needs to become more climate resilient. The effects of climate change are becoming a common reality and we have seen floods, fires, and heat domes all in the last year.

Often, it is the most marginalized who are disproportionately affected. I would make sure that we provide the supports and resources to keep people safe. I would start by advocating for a program that would provide free air conditioning units to lower income seniors and people living with disabilities. Air conditioners are no longer a luxury but a necessary medical device for many of our most vulnerable.

I would also make sure the city has adequate cooling stations and centres for people to get relief. Finally, I would add to our wonderful greenspace by prioritizing trees and vegetation to provide shade in strategic places around the city.

Is crime a concern for you, and how do you hope to address it? (150 words maximum): I have heard from many residents who do not feel safe in their communities.

Everyone should feel safe where they live, and I want to make sure Burnaby is one of the safest cities in the region.

In order to do so, we need to invest in services that address some of the systemic causes of crime. Building strong communities by providing adequate resources and supports like accessible childcare and affordable housing are ways to reduce the crime rate.

I would support proactive actions including working closely with schools, neighbourhood and community associations to make sure programs and supports are offered to youth and families.

What is the biggest achievement and/or failure of Burnaby council in the last four years? (100 words): I think the biggest achievement in the last four years were the policies passed by council based on the recommendations from the Housing Task Force (which I was on).

These recommendations included some of the strongest protections for renters in Canada and also endorsed laneway houses, additional suites and duplexes/triplexes that can help house multi-generational families.

In terms of challenges: Burnaby offers some of the best recreational programming for children, but too often I hear parents struggling to access these programs. The city should invest more in parks and recreation to get people off waitlists and into programs.

How would you spend a leisurely 24 hours in Burnaby? (150 words maximum): I would start the morning with a walk up to Hastings Street to visit one of the many local coffee shops, picking up an iced latte for my wife and a regular drip coffee for myself.

Once home, I would grab my tennis racket and head to the Willingdon Heights courts. After the game, my family would go to Eileen Dailly Pool or Confederation Park spray pad to splash around (my son Jules is a true water baby).

Following the requisite nap time, we would meet friends to re-hydrate at one of Burnaby’s local breweries (Studio, Daageraad or Steamworks) and enjoy an IPA or a Sour. To cap off the day, my family would order in (our son is a little loud for dining out at the moment!) from one of our favourite local restaurants.

This kind of neighbourhood day is exactly why my family chooses to live in Burnaby.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell voters? (100 words maximum): I love and am proud to call Burnaby home.

Our city is not just the neighbour of Vancouver. We have our own identity that is inclusive and vibrant, and I am running to make Burnaby even better.

I want to invest in the services that seniors and families rely on, support affordable housing where and how it makes sense, and protect the green spaces that we cherish.

The election of the BCA team – which combines experience with new voices like myself – will make that all possible.

How can folks contact you? (Website, email, social media handles)

Facebook: electdanieltetrault

Twitter: @danieltetrault

Instagram: danieltetraultbby