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City of Burnaby 2021 byelection Q&A: Candidate Scott Van Den Ham

"I believe it is time to think about what Burnaby will look and feel like in a generation's time"
City of Burnaby council candidate Scott Van Den Ham.

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.

For Scott Van Den Ham, Burnaby's future is a major factor for his candidacy. 

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

ANSWER: I decided that I would run when I read (in the Burnaby Now - seriously!) that a by-election was being delayed until the Spring. In other words, early last October.

QUESTION: Why did you decide to be a candidate?

ANSWER: I believe it is time to think about what Burnaby will look and feel like in a generation's time, and all segments of society need to be involved. I want to bring a voice that is independent of the party caucus structure to Council - one that can find common ground amongst all members of Council as we strive to solve the many issues facing us.

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

ANSWER: More than a third of Burnaby residents are renters, and I believe all current members of Council are home owners. Nothing wrong with that, except for over-representation. I want to bring the perspective of a working-class renter and transit user to Council discussions, something that is missing right now.

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

ANSWER: Burnaby Council surely needs to look more like the community it represents. I want to represent renters and transit users. But there is also room for Indigenous representation, for women, and for people with disabilities.

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

ANSWER: We need much more rental housing, with green space for gardens and kids to play in, more than public art. We need to think beyond the fight against Trans Mountain expansion, and use the Official Community Plan update to show all the other tank farms and refineries the exit. We need to reconnect with our Indigenous neighbours through meaningful dialogue and respect. Our public spaces, our civic buildings and our streets need to be accessible for all.

QUESTION: Why should voters vote for you?

ANSWER: A lot of change needs to happen in the years ahead. Climate change, affordable housing, reconciliation will all impact Burnaby and its citizens, and I won't sugarcoat the situation to hold onto a few votes. If property taxes need to go up, I'll say why, and expect you to give it serious consideration. With the right to vote comes a collective responsibility to leave this place better than how we found it. That is what I expect of my fellow citizens, and it is what you should expect of your City Councillor, and that is why you should consider me.

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

ANSWER: The park you walk your dog in is maintained by the City. The sewer line that flushes away last night's takeout is City infrastructure. The library your kids have study groups at (pandemic notwithstanding) is a City building. Local government is the most impactful level of government to the individual, the family, and the neighbourhood, and deserves so much more appreciation. And the Councillors who make decisions there really need your input to help make those services and spaces better!