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Get to know Burnaby council candidates: Martin Kendell

“This city is at a crossroads when it comes to our expensive real estate market and our next-to-unaffordable rental market.”
Martin Kendell
Martin Kendell, independent, is running for Burnaby city council in the upcoming October election.

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: Martin Kendell

Current occupation: I'm a stay-at-home father Monday through Friday, then work as an engineering dispatch clerk for the City of Vancouver on the weekends.

Short biography (50 words maximum): I have lived in Burnaby for the past 22 years, the last 15 of those in the Gilmore area. I have been married to the most wonderful and patient woman on Earth for the past 15 years and we have 5-year-old boy/girl twins.

Why are you running for city council? (150 words maximum): I have grown to love this community immensely over the past 22 years I have lived here. I love the mountain views and Burnaby’s many parks that I visit often with my children.

However, I have not been satisfied with the way this city has been moving forward when it comes to dealing with property development companies and the way they build highrise towers. I think the city is moving too fast and allowing these companies to run roughshod over the residents who live near these projects.

I also think that we have way too much garbage lingering in our streets, parks and waterways, which is a huge black eye to a community which should be a crown jewel of this region.

I feel city council needs someone like myself who is driven, solves problems well and will advocate on behalf of all Burnaby residents.

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

Housing availability and affordability: This city is at a crossroads when it comes to our expensive real estate market and our next-to-unaffordable rental market. It is nearly impossible for most people to afford a single-family house in Burnaby.

Burnaby needs to gently densify these neighbourhoods and provide incentives to build family-friendly missing middle housing options such as multiplex complexes, co-op housing, stacked townhouses, legally built secondary suites and laneway houses with sufficient parking.

An independent office should be created to deal with Tenant Assistance Program inquiries and advocate for renters across Burnaby.

Community cleanliness: Burnaby is a beautiful city, but we’re allowing it to fester with garbage.

I believe there’s enough civic pride in this municipality that we can collectively remove a lot of garbage off the ground, then invest in equipment to keep it that way. We need to beef up our littering bylaws and properly enforce them to keep our streets and parks free of litter.

Delivery of city services: The City of Burnaby needs to be more thorough and efficient when responding to issues with city infrastructure.

All city staff need to take a more active role in making Burnaby a cleaner community while on shift.

We need to hire more bylaw officers to better serve Burnaby residents. Currently, issues such as parking and noise bylaw infringements have to be investigated by RCMP officers after 8 p.m., which puts a drain on their precious resources.

What is your housing situation? Are you a homeowner, renter or something else (describe)? Do you rent property to others? (50 words maximum): My family lives in the apartment we have owned in the Gilmore area for the past 15 years.

I have volunteered as strata president for over 10 years. During my first seven years in Burnaby, I rented a two-bedroom apartment in the Lougheed Town Centre 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): Densification and how we deal with it is going to be the biggest issue Burnaby deals with over the next 40 years. We are a centrally located municipality with amazing mountain views that has two SkyTrain lines running through it.

We need to densify near these transit hubs to encourage residents and commuters to leave their vehicles at home and off our already busy streets.

We need to rapidly build a robust network of mobility lanes to encourage non-vehicle travel in this municipality and throughout the Lower Mainland. All mobility lanes on major road routes need to be separated to protect cyclists and pedestrians from vehicle traffic.

Secure bicycle parking must become a priority if we expect people to use greener types of transportation.

All areas of Burnaby need to accommodate our future growth over the next generation. We need to offer incentives and flexibility when it comes to building in our single-family neighbourhoods.

We need to allow family friendly missing middle housing options such as multiplex complexes, co-op housing, stacked townhouses, legally built secondary suites and laneway houses with sufficient parking on its property.  

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):

It is important that we respond to the needs of the at-risk and marginalized populations in the best way that we can. Providing them with safe and secure housing is one of the best things we can do to help them in their time of need.

It is important that these non-profit housing projects are properly integrated in neighbourhoods all around Burnaby.

Support services must be provided on site, and the type and size of building should fit in with the community plan that is on the books. The city must streamline the permitting and rezoning processes when it comes to building non-profit housing. The city should also consider waiving development cost charges for smaller non-profit and co-op housing developments.

Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis to ensure that people in the area are able to voice their concerns and garner feedback from city officials.

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)

The City of Burnaby needs to update its building codes to ensure all new buildings have the ability to easily add air conditioning and have cross ventilation.

Burnaby must also plant more trees along its streets, in its plazas and within its parks to increase the shade in these areas, as well as preserve old growth trees the best they can.

Emergency action plans must be continually updated to make sure that vulnerable populations can be easily contacted and taken care of when we experience these extreme heat events.

Is crime a concern for you, and how do you hope to address it? (150 words maximum): Crime is a major concern of mine as Burnaby residents deserve to feel safe in this community.

One thing we need to do is stop the RCMP from investigating noise and parking bylaw infractions after 8 p.m. on behalf of the city. It’s a waste of their resources and takes their focus off of doing patrols and other preventative police work.

I would also suggest that Burnaby focuses on making sure this community works hard to get litter off its streets in order to convey a positive image of a community that cares about its image, the businesses that set up shop here and the residents who call this place home.

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 over the past four years is the implementation of a weak Tenant Assistance Program. While it was admirable that council created this program that didn’t exist in 2018, they allowed property developers to draft the guidelines and rules then exploit them for their gain.

A common tactic they employed was to neglect a newly purchased property so there would be fewer tenants for property developers to assist under the TAP. As well, the replacement units that were provided were substantially smaller that the original units that were being demolished.

How would you spend a leisurely 24 hours in Burnaby? (150 words maximum): I would spend the day going around to Burnaby’s many beautiful parks with my family while grabbing food along the way from some of Burnaby’s tastiest restaurants.

After dropping the kids off at their grandparents, I would take my wife to a great dinner, then go to a cool concert at Deer Lake Park. After the show, we would head home for a good night’s sleep.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell voters? (100 words maximum): This election will be extremely important when it comes to how Burnaby will be densified and developed over the next 50 years.

I hope the Burnaby voter will take the time to research each candidate’s platform, policies and moral character instead of blindly voting for a party’s entire slate. This election should be about renewal and balance.

I think city council needs some new voices and viewpoints at the table, and no one party should hold a majority of the seats.

On October 15th, vote for Martin Kendell if you want a cleaner and better Burnaby.

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

My official website is at:  You can find me on Twitter at: @BurnabyMartin. Feel free to email me about anything Burnaby-related at: