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: Heymann Yip
Current occupation: Retired, former owner-operator of Pro Mark Marketing Inc.
Short biography (50 words maximum): Burnaby has been home for the last 31 years and is where I worked as the owner-operator of Pro Mark Marketing Inc. I have been a member of the CPAC-District 4, Burnaby RCMP since 2017 and a member of the public safety committee for the past two-and-a-half years.
Why are you running for city council? (150 words maximum): Here are my pledges to the City of Burnaby as a city council candidate:
I will advocate for a second hospital to help meet the needs of our population growth in ten years.
I will have city staff review the current recreational seniors programs, and look to see how we can improve and expand existing programs while adding new inclusive programming.
With the rising cost of living, I would advocate to stop any increases to property tax in 2023 and 2024.
Ensure we have enough resources for first responders, such as staffing, new headquarters, and educational programs to meet and reflect the needs of our ever-growing population.
To see we construct more purpose-built rentals, which means the whole building is intended as rental units. Additionally, I would work to approve the building of laneway homes, duplexes, and townhouses to our housing stock.
What are the top three issues facing Burnaby today, and what are your plans to address them? (250 words maximum):
Affordable rentals: I would like to primarily work on finding a solution to high rental fees. In 2018, the average one-bedroom condo rent was $1,640 and by the end of August 2022, it has ballooned to a 45 per cent increase.
I would work towards more purpose-built rentals with no special amenities such as swimming pools, whirlpool, sauna, weight room, exercise room, amenities room, etc. These amenities should be provided and accessible to all citizens by the city instead. In doing so, it would decrease strata fees associated with the additional maintenance needed.
Additionally, I would work towards rezoning properties where laneway homes can be built to increase affordable housing supply.
Public safety: Ensuring we have the resources in public safety such as firefighters, police, and paramedics to meet our projected population growth.
As the city has been rapidly transforming to accommodate hundreds of new condo towers, surrounding neighbourhoods have become congested and difficult to navigate. Broken roadways and sidewalks have been ignored by the developers as well as the city and have resulted in hazardous environments. Issues like these are a public safety concern and must be addressed before there is a serious accident.
Community resources: I would see that the following amenities are in place as part of the planning stage in our communities that have seen a sharp increase in public density. These amenities include: schools, community centres, recreation centres, gymnasiums, grocery stores, walk-in clinics and libraries.
What is your housing situation? Are you a homeowner, renter or something else (describe)? Do you rent property to others? (50 words maximum): Yes, I am a homeowner, and I also rent out three two-bedroom condo units.
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): I would want the city to accommodate projected growth by increasing housing density using lowrise condo developments, townhouses and row homes, laneway houses, multiplexes, and non-market rental options.
These options will allow more people to live in a given area without filling our city with highrises. In terms of the “where,” I would want to increase density surrounding our SkyTrain stations, where we already have developed public transit options and many which also have valuable amenities.
I would also want the city to support projected growth by expanding non-market rental options in SFU’s UniverCity. Laneway houses (would) of course be built on any property that is zoned for a single-family home, while townhouses and row homes would be a great choice in the areas surrounding the highrise developments near SkyTrain stations.
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): I cannot answer this question without more detailed information and would be remiss to provide an answer to such a complex scenario without a better understanding of the whole picture.
As the incumbent councillors may have a response to this matter, please remember they may have further knowledge from city staff reports on this issue.
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): To combat the increasing heat, I would continue to use the current cooling centres at our community recreation centres. I would also look at expanding the program to include libraries, ice rinks, and any other buildings that are operated by the city.
I would also change the building code to mandate central air conditioning in all new construction of homes and condos.
In addition, I would work to create more green spaces in the city to provide natural shade and improve the livability of neighbourhoods, especially for those in densely populated areas.
Is crime a concern for you, and how do you hope to address it? (150 words maximum): Crime is always a concern especially as the city’s population is growing. I would tackle crime in a proactive manner, such as ensuring we have enough police officers in relation to our population. For example, shoplifting has become an epidemic in our city and is greatly under-reported due to an insufficient number of officers.
We need to address petty crimes before it escalates to more serious incidents. Another major issue I would address is reviewing the CAR 86 program, where a psychiatric nurse works with an RCMP officer to conduct wellness checks.
The motion to introduce this program to Burnaby was rejected by Fraser Health and I do not agree with their decision.
What is the biggest achievement and/or failure of Burnaby council in the last four years? (100 words): The biggest failure of Burnaby city council in the last four years are campaign promises from 2018 that have not been kept.
We still do not have enough housing stock in place, especially for the missing middle. The city’s vacancy rate is at 1.2 per cent, which has driven the cost to rent a one-bedroom condo from $1,640 in 2018 to $2,370 as of September 2022 (report from zumper.com), which is an increase of almost 45 per cent!
This rate of increase is unsustainable and needs to be addressed seriously.
How would you spend a leisurely 24 hours in Burnaby? (150 words maximum): A leisurely 24 hours would be spent visiting the many beautiful parks and trails in Burnaby with my dog. I would then treat myself to a coffee and pastry from one of our local cafes before grabbing a bite to eat in the evening at one of the many culturally diverse eateries in Burnaby!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell voters? (100 words maximum): The municipal parties have been making promises for a long time without delivering results. Their vision is only as long as the next election, resulting in a severe lack of long-term planning for the citizens of Burnaby.
For independents like myself, we do not have the luxuries of huge campaign budgets or access to vast professional resources. Instead, our success lies directly with the citizens of Burnaby, and those who believe in our mission through word of mouth, donations, and voting!
I am committed to representing the people of Burnaby and working to find meaningful solutions - let’s #KeepBurnabySafe together!
How can folks contact you? (Website, email, social media handles)