Q&A – Ali Mallakin

Ali Mallakin

1. What community involvement have you had?
Today’s successful governments are the ones with an interactive element between elected officials and their constituents. I believe in representative government, which provides meaningful communication between the community and city hall. A community can not operate without volunteers or engaged constituents. Having no volunteers means higher costs, fewer services and general disapproval. I know, from surveying our residents, that educational, law enforcement and neighborhood developmental concerns are at the top of the list of major issues. In order to address some of these issues, my community involvement has mostly been focused on teaching and coaching both the students and a health professional. I have been involved with coaching in both a professional and volunteer capacity.
 2. What are the top 3 issues facing West Van that need to be addressed in the next 4 years? What action would you take in these areas?
Obviously, for most of the residents of West Vancouver the key issue that still exists is appropriate development of their District. Firstly they are concerned about the scale and model of their neighborhood developments, and how these developments will affect their property and daily commute. An example of such is proposed development at 752 Marine Drive that will likely impact the traffic, particularly at the intersection of Taylor way and Marine Drive. I would make sure that there is substantial agreement between the municipality and Provincial counterparts, in order to identify and implement measures that would reduce the traffic backup. I would support and approve developmental projects that maintain the character of the West Vancouver neighborhood and meet the needs of our residents. In this regard I support the construction of multi-family housing, which can provide alternatives to the current housing.
The second evident issue is related to the business or property taxes that can affect the revenue and spending of our residents. I would try to avoid an increase in business-related taxes. In the event of an increase in property tax, I would ensure that this increase is reasonable and limited to large and expensive properties. In general my presence will make the District operation more transparent, thus resulting in better decision making. I support the appointment of a municipal auditor to oversee the staff hiring, and facilitate new initiatives to make the District operations better staffed, more efficient and cost-effective. I would ensure that information concerning Bylaws and taxes are made available to the residents in a transparent and understandable format. I would also initiate an online site and round-tables that allow for debate concerning the current issues. The round-tables would present an opportunity for the different ethnic groups residing in West Vancouver to address their particular concerns and issues.
Finally, I would make sure that the issues that are still facing West Vancouver such as British Pacific Properties, Park Royal development, Translink, and the Squamish Nation can be addressed as effectively and transparent as possible.
 3. Over the past few years, there has been much talk about rejuvenating Ambleside. What are your thoughts on that?
West Vancouver has promised to build the Spirit Trail through West Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay. I would support this project and act as a facilitator for the completion of this project. Compared with the two North Vancouver municipalities, West Vancouver is lagging behind in the building of the Spirit Trail. As a council member in the next administration, I would support the initiative to start the building of an off-road Spirit Trail route between Ambleside and Dunderave, especially since we are aware that the foundation of funding for this trail has come from different Provincial and local sources.
 4. Incumbents: What has been your accomplishment in the last 3 years? What do you hope to accomplish in the next 4 years?
5. WVD’s tax base is heavily tilted to residential property taxes. What would you do to broaden the tax base?
Broadening the tax base essentially means subjecting more gross revenue to taxation by eliminating or holding back tax expenditures such as deductions, exclusions, credits and exemptions. Such actions have great value beyond raising revenue. They would help the tax code adhere more closely to the principle of horizontal equity. Broadening the tax base does not have to be another way of saying ‘increasing taxes’. On the other hand, expanding the tax base is concerned with the creation of more assets on the tax rolls, in order to spread the cost of operations across more entities. This would result in more money being available to enhance the government-funded community, allowing for the development of many projects from a new hospital with in Vancouver to the expansion of roads. In order to expand the tax base, I suggest we support small businesses that create new jobs, which in turn will increase tax revenues. We need to build strategies in order to market the West Vancouver District to new residents, especially retirees, middle- to high-income families, and young professionals. We need to encourage the philosophy that, both shopping and conducting business locally, gives West Vancouver the resources it requires to maintain and improve its quality of life. As the tax base grows and broadens, the community of West Vancouver will enjoy the benefits of new tax money.
 6. Tell us about your ideas to support commercial development in West Vancouver.
West Vancouver, specifically Ambleside, requires commercial development in order to address the needs of a growing population. I would support development of business projects that maintain the character of our neighborhood in West Vancouver and meet the needs of its residents. I would take the lead in the key developmental processes. Demand for environmental products and technologies are expected to expand in the years ahead, and our local companies that can successfully compete in this capacity will benefit from this trend. West Vancouver will see a rise in the number of businesses producing green goods and technologies. I would study and strategically determine what we can do to attract green businesses to West Vancouver, and I would find the unique economic advantages of developing of these green technologies. Promoting green industries and environmental sustainability is an attractive path to pursue in the future.

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