Burnaby NOW will be publishing candidate Q&As for each candidate leading up to the City of Burnaby by-election scheduled for June 26, 2021. The answers provided have not been altered or changed.
Burnaby resident Martin Kendell says after a dangerous incident involving his family and road rage, he finally felt a firm change was needed.
QUESTION: When did you decide to run for the City of Burnaby by-election?
ANSWER: February 17, 2021.
On that day I was driving my wife and two children home from the dentist when another driver attempted to smash my vehicle with a baton while we were all inside. Luckily I saw him and was able to speed down the driveway to avoid him damaging my vehicle and harming my family. This was due to road rage caused by unauthorized reconfiguration of the traffic on Dawson Street by the Gilmore Place megaproject. Up to that point, I would write a lot of emails and complain about things that were bothering me. After that incident, I knew enough was enough and I had to take a stand against the building developers who had little consideration for the people who were already living in the neighbourhood.
QUESTION: Why did you decide to be a candidate?
ANSWER: I used to think that Burnaby was a really well run municipality, but I feel like the current City Council is getting complacent and aren't listening to the average Burnaby resident anymore. A couple of years ago, I wrote a letter to the City of Burnaby regarding the rezoning of the land for the Gilmore Place megaproject on behalf of my building's Strata Council. I brought up concerns regarding the construction noise, the extra vehicle traffic, the loss of our view of the North Shore mountains and the fact they were putting a 50 story building directly across the street from our building. I didn't hear anything from the City about the letter I wrote other than a quick acknowledgement that they received it. That's not a respectful way to treat the taxpayers that they depend on to generate revenue to run the City properly.
QUESTION: What do you think is needed on city council the most? What do you think it’s missing/lacking?
ANSWER: I think City Council needs some new blood and some new ways of thinking. There's an old adage that politicians and diapers should be changed regularly, and for the same reason. I don't want to be disrespectful, but a majority of the current batch of Burnaby City Councillors have had the job for almost 20 years. The reason we're having this by-election is because two of them died while in office. I'm here to provide a different point of view from someone who has young children and has lived in a Strata complex for over 20 years. I also have major concerns about the direction this community is heading if we don't take action now.
QUESTION: Do you think there needs to be more diversity when it comes to Burnaby’s municipal government? If so, why?
ANSWER: Burnaby City Council needs some diversity and youth, and some fresh innovative ways of thinking and problem solving. The candidates who get elected to office need to have a new and different point of view, and need to put the average Burnaby resident as their number one priority. The City of Burnaby doesn't need more Councillors who are there to do favours for building developers and unions.
QUESTION: What issues do you think need to be tackled the most in Burnaby?
ANSWER: The number one issue as far as I'm concerned is Affordable and Sustainable Housing. We're at a crossroads where Burnaby is about to lose its soul as seniors, families and lower income residents are losing their homes to the scourge we call renoviction. Right now, the direction we're headed in the four major centres of Burnaby is next to unsustainable. Council has allowed building developers to double the density of the buildings they're erecting to provide "affordable housing", but by doing so they're subjecting the next generation of Burnaby residents to overcrowding, traffic gridlock and a strain on community amenities. I support gentle densification, where single family homes can be converted to family-friendly options such as duplexes, triplexes and basement suites. I also support a revamp of the current zoning bylaws to allow modern solutions such as laneway homes and small houses.
QUESTION: Why should voters vote for you?
ANSWER: The reason Burnaby voters should cast their ballot for me is because I'm not your standard run-of-the-mill politician. When I decided to throw my hat into the political ring, I made the conscious decision to self-fund my election campaign. I did this for two reasons: reason number one is I wanted my point of view to be free from the influence from building developers, unions and other special interest groups. I wanted to have the time to tour the many playgrounds and parks of Burnaby with my two children, and meet the many wonderful residents in this municipality. Reason number two is I wanted to show Burnaby voters that I can stick to a budget and am willing to work hard to get my name out there in creative and unorthodox ways. Instead of buying newspaper and radio advertising, I got some cool "VOTE FOR MARTIN" shirts in purple, some really good looking postcards, a few lawn signs and learned how to set up my own website.
QUESTION: What would you say to those who may not want to vote or don’t really see a point?
ANSWER: We're extremely fortunate to live in a country like Canada where we have freedom of speech and the ability to choose our elected representatives in democratic elections. But for some reason, the political arena has gotten despicable and nasty, and the average Canadian doesn't want to be involved in the process of choosing the next leader who will sound and act like the one before. We need to remember that the most of the rights and freedoms we have today is mostly due to the sacrifice our grandparents and great grandparents took on when they fought in the two World Wars. We owe it to them to get out and vote every single election, even if we're not 100 percent satisfied with the options we have available.