LynnValleyLife asked each Lynn Valley-residing DNV council candidate to respond to a set of questions designed to help readers become acquainted with their views. Read about candidate Roger Bassam, below, and see our original story for links to all the candidate profiles.
What prompted you to run for re-election?
Our community faces many challenges and I believe I will be able to contribute greatly to creating the solutions that will help keep the District a great place in which to live, work and play. Key issues I want to address include:
Transportation – The recurring traffic problems at the Second Narrows bridgehead are impacting the entire community and must be addressed. This requires a major investment in new infrastructure and we have committed to this and begun building elements of phase 1 of the solution.
Housing – The District faces a very real challenge in providing the assortment of housing we will need to meet the needs of our changing and aging population. The issue is not simply the cost of housing but also includes the lack of specialized housing such as housing appropriate for people with disabilities. We also must increase the stock of rental housing as this greatly assists in moderating the price of local housing. I was pleased to champion a new District policy that sees new Multi-family housing assigned a covenant that prevents the Strata from restricting rentals. This will, over time, add significantly to the rental inventory but it is only one of many tools we can use to help address this issue.
Economic Development – Within the OCP economic development and sustainability are identified as key considerations. However, we have not focused on this goal and we must re-visit this concept immediately else we will be losing an opportunity to include this component in the emerging Town Centres. And as part of the financial sustainability of the community and protection of the ratepayers we re-negotiate many of our current shared service agreements. The potential savings are in the millions of dollars and must be realized before we begin service reductions and cuts that may impact the quality of life for our residents.
What experience do you bring to the job that you believe would be valuable?
For the past six years I have been a Councillor in the District of North Vancouver. I have served three years on the Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Committee and the Board of Directors- NV Chamber of Commerce.
I have management experience in both the retail and IT industries. For the past 16 years I have been involved in various community groups and served on numerous committees including: Parks and Natural Environment committee, Metro Labour Relations (alternate), President of Millar’s Soccer League, Sports Council, Chair – Field User Capital Fund, JBAC, Joint Use Committee, and the District Advisory Oversight Committee.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and am currently completing my MBA.
What do you appreciate about the manner in which DNV council currently conducts its affairs?
I believe Council has been very productive because while we have routinely disagreed with each other we have done so respectfully. We rely on the collective wisdom of Council to make good decisions for our community. Individual Council members will sometimes find themselves in the minority on a vote, and that’s how a good democracy works.
We also have an excellent senior management team that provides great leadership for the organization. The District is a routinely cited as a well-run municipality and we are proud of that reputation.
What would you like to see change?
I would like to see more participation from the citizens in all areas of the District. We need to find new ways to engage our busy population and get their feedback on how they want to see their community evolve and improve.
Lynn Valley’s town planning process was long and, in some respects, divisive. What was your experience with this process, and what did you learn?
The learning lesson here was that by taking our time and thoroughly engaging with the community we can come to a consensus. People are willing to engage but want to have a comprehensive understanding of the issue before they make a major decision. In the end it takes longer and may cost some more money but the fulsome engagement allowed for an excellent process and result.
What do you think is the most difficult challenge councillors have to face in their work?
The learning curve is immense. Councillors deal with an amazingly wide array of subjects and need to be able to quickly understand the issue, discern the options available to us and make sound decisions. We cover everything from Police and Fire Services right through dogs of leash and trees. One truly must be a Jack of all trades to excel in this role.
What do you appreciate most about the Lynn Valley community?
That Lynn Valley is a COMMUNITY. I love when we come together for Lynn Valley Days, the concert series or the Olympic festival. There is a strong sense of belonging and fierce desire to protect our natural areas. It is truly a great place to live and, for me, to raise my children.
What would you like voters to know about you?
I have strong ties to the Lynn Valley community. My children attend Ross Road Elementary and will soon be in Argyle. I enjoy meeting my neighbours regularly, often on the soccer field as both a coach and player, and I understand what our community wants.
I share in the frustrations we have felt recently over the traffic problems and delays. I am committed to keeping our community a great place to live and I specifically am focused on addressing the traffic issue. I invite you to my website to see some specifics on how we can solve this problem.