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City of Burnaby 2021 byelection Q&A: Candidate Gulam Firdos

"Please do not refrain from voting. Your vote is your voice"
City of Burnaby byelection candidate Gulam Firdos.

Burnaby NOW will be publishing candidate Q&As for each candidate leading up to the City of Burnaby byelection scheduled for June 26, 2021. The answers provided have not been altered or changed.

QUESTION: When did you decide to run for the City of Burnaby byelection?

ANSWER: As a Board member of Burnaby City Council and a professional city planner I have been closely connected with the Council and their Policies.

 A Planner plays an important role in an advisory role when City Council decisions are made. In this respect I believe that a professional planner with City Council roots can provide more informed decision while serving as a Councilor. After the death of two Councilors, there was vacuum in the policy planning, so I have decided to run as a Councilor, with a promise to serve the people. I have come from a professional background that will help the Council in making an informed decision.

QUESTION: Why did you decide to run for the City of Burnaby byelection?

ANSWER: My decision to be a candidate for City Council has been based on my professional interest and experience. I am confident that my inclusion into the Council will help bring a change in the policy making process. As a professional city planner I will propose categorical transformation of services and facilities in the context of neighborhood and the society as a whole. I have my highest respect for our citizens and want to emphasize on necessary services they deserve in return for the taxes they pay for city services meaning high quality living standards ,as well as balancing present-day challenges of land use, infrastructure, housing, transportation, crime and drug abuse through concerted efforts, to create affordable development in all sectors.

QUESTION: What do you think is needed on city council the most? What do you think it’s missing/lacking?

ANSWER: The most important issue for the City Council today would be to tackle issues like: housing, transportation, infrastructure development, land use management, climate, crime prevention, drug abuse, First Nations issues.

The development plan prepared in 1965, has not been reviewed or updated till now except bits and pieces that needs urgent improvement. This is an extremely unprofessional approach since Development plans have a life of 5/10 years after which they should be updated as spatial and geophysical features keep changing on a regular basis. You cannot step into the same river twice. Revising of the land use plan in bits and pieces leaves other areas vulnerable in the face of development of the city hence this could be the missing link.

QUESTION: Do you think there needs to be more diversity when it comes to Burnaby’s municipal government? If so, why?

ANSWER: In my opinion diversity is an important aspect in the decision making process of any municipal governments,   polices that are adopted and implemented without a diversity do not represent common people’s concerns. When it comes to Burnaby municipal government the policy decisions need to project greater diversified approach in the context of transports, housing, climate, crime and other areas of concern.

QUESTION: What issues do you think need to be tackled the most in Burnaby?

ANSWER: At this point in time the most important issues that need attention are:

Review and update Burnaby’s Land use Development Plan prepared in 1965, which needs update every 5 years.

Updating the plan will have greater focus on important development issues transportation, housing affordability and other long-term development issues. The age old plan has not taken any step to address the climate change, crime and drug abuse.

To tackle the crime aspect I would like to support strengthening of police force as well as budget increase to keep pace with present requirements. I would also support extended funding for the fire department so they are well equipped for the summer. Tax brackets for citizens should also be balanced to reduce undue constraints to the citizens. Social and utility services should be improved but without a toll on the citizens.

QUESTION: Why should voters vote for you?

ANSWER: My experience as a planning and development professional, voting for a candidate will enhance the diversified capacity of the Council, where most policy decisions would focus on general welfare of the City dwellers. Only the voters have the capacity to bring diversity and change to any system through informed voting.

QUESTION: What would you say to those who may not want to vote or don’t really see a point?

ANSWER: In my opinion voting to elect a representative is one of the strongest voices a citizen has that can transform the society and city government. It is the responsibility of every person to choose the representative of his or her choice representing the government. Please do not refrain from voting. Your vote is your voice.