Yes! I'm running for Richmond City Council.

We’re fortunate to live in Richmond BC with its incredible human and environmental resources. Unfortunately, we also have some serious problems on which I've worked for the past ten years.

My motivation in suggesting low cost innovative solutions at City Council meetings and in letters to the editor has been to bring about change, not get elected to Council. However, the current councillors have ignored my solutions, rejected them because they haven’t been tried elsewhere or said the problems don’t exist.

I was surprised when a diverse group of Richmond citizens said they liked my ideas and started a petition to convince me to run for City Council. I was doubtful at first, but we seem to have an oversupply of well known candidates who, with a couple of exceptions, only show up at election time. They speak sincerely about the problems, but don’t offer innovative ideas on how to solve them.

I offer some of my ideas below to stimulate debate and get us moving toward solutions.

Important Issues Requiring Council Action

The Richmond housing crisis is the result of housing being used as an investment rather than shelter. Investment demand has driven up prices and reduced the stock of multi-bedroom rental housing. The City could demand that 80% of the units be multi-bedroom in the large developments now being planned.

Developers should be able to get fast track approval for their projects by setting up strata rules that require the strata manager to assume responsibility for renting out, at market rates, all units not occupied by the owner, or a relative of the owner. More

Non-farmers have been buying up Richmond farmland in order to build mega mansions that make it difficult to farm the land. Farmland prices have skyrocketed beyond what any farmer can afford. Richmond City Council has refused to lower the maximum farmland house size below 10,764 sq.ft.

The City should lobby the BC Government to require a permit from the Agricultural Land Commission for the transfer of beneficial ownership of farmland. Permit approval would require the new owner to provide either an approved business plan for a productive farming activity or an assignment to the ALC of leasing rights for the farmland. The ALC could then lease the farmland to new farmers at standard rates and conditions. More

Both immigration and housing prices have increased dramatically creating a perceived link between the two. Foreign language signage has also been an issue. These have resulted in intercultural isolation and mistrust.

While there are a number of agencies in Richmond working effectively to integrate new immigrants, it is difficult to learn a new language and customs, especially for adults. Programs to increase intercultural understanding tend to attract those least in need of sensitization. Fun activities have to be developed that require working as a multicultural team on a common goal using facilitators with language translation skills. More

Business persons and retirees who travel for extended periods as well as new immigrants are frequently the target of residential crime and fraud. It is difficult for police to prevent these crimes.

The most effective deterrents are neighbours who know one another and provide advice or raise the alarm when there is suspicious activity. The existing BlockWatch program and new Know Your Neighbour programs require expanded funding to be more effective. More

When councillors don’t know what to do about major problems, they ask city staff to prepare report after report and have a half dozen highly paid senior staff attend endless meetings. It’s a huge waste of taxpayers’ money because Councillors then do too little or nothing and the problems get worse.

One example is the Onni Imperial Landing rezoning of 6 waterfront buildings that dragged on for 11 years. Councillors couldn't decide what uses should be permitted and how much of an amenity contribution Onni should pay. More

I am the founder and coordinator of Plug-in Richmond, a group of electric vehicle drivers in Richmond offering information for drivers interested in switching to an electric vehicle as a primary or secondary vehicle. Richmond has an ideal environment for electric vehicles, but they do not necessarily meet everyone's needs. While environmental concerns are a factor, electric vehicles are also fun to drive. Detailed information is available here.

Campaign Contributions

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GOAL: $8,000; RECEIVED: $5,425

As an independent candidate, I do not have the resources available to the candidates nominated by the local political parties, but I do have the freedom to speak my mind.

You can help even the playing field by contributing to my campaign.

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Volunteer to help me distribute campaign materials in October by sending an email here.

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Read my blog here.

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July 22, 2018.

Many believe that politicians crave power and their voting on the issues is motivated primarily by what will secure the financing they need to win the next election. More

July 18, 2018.
Richmond allows farmland owners to build an 8,000 sq.ft. concrete floor barn without a variance, but they claim that this is too small and variances are a hassle. More

My Experience

Extensive experience in management, communications, negotiation, technology, local organizations and small business.

  • B.A. and M.A. in Communications from McGill University;
  • Director of McGill department responsible for the use of technology in teaching; responsible for over 40 unionized staff;
  • McGill Adjunct Professor responsible for major next generation internet research projects;
  • Author of negotiation simulation used to teach MBA students;
  • Frequent speaker on major issues at Richmond City Council meetings;
  • Founder and Coordinator of Plug-in Richmond providing advice on electric vehicles;
  • Worked in Canoe Pass First Nations Art Gallery in Steveston;
  • Richmond BlockWatch Block Captain;
  • Treasurer and member of the Board of Richmond Museum.

What I Want To Do

The pace of change in Richmond is too slow to prevent problems from getting worse. Bold action is required on a wide range of issues.

  • Ensure that developers create multi-bedroom housing for families and millenials rather than one bedroom condos for investors.
  • Collaborate with Richmond employers to create affordable housing for people who work in Richmond.
  • Ensure that building permits for homes that change the character of neighbourhoods are referred to City Council.
  • Preserve farmland by restricting mansion construction and non-farm use by non-farmers and speculators.
  • Encourage mutual respect among cultural communities through working together on common projects.
  • Dramatically improve neighbourhood safety by increasing funding to expand BlockWatch and introduce Know Your Neighbour programs.
  • Save taxpayer dollars by reducing the number of staff reports and staff attendance at endless meetings on the same issue.
  • Collaborate with local business property owners on a program to reduce rents for small shops and services until they become well established.
  • Extend existing incentives for businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to groups assisting consumers in reducing their emissions.

Help Me Do It

  • Volunteer to help me distribute campaign materials in October by sending an email here.
  • Contribute to my campaign here.
  • Comments and suggestions are always welcome. The best way to contact me is by email: john@johnroston.ca. I read all email although time constraints usually prevent me from providing individual responses.