Print Edition: November 2, 2011
Gerda Peachey is a UFV Alumni who has lived in Abbotsford for over 30 years, and has a clear interest in municipal politics, having attended numerous city council meetings, public hearings, and City of Abbotsford information open houses. However, last year she lost interest in going to council meetings, and has now decided to run for Abbotsford mayor in hopes of making some changes. This week, Peachey spoke with The Cascade, explaining her motivation to begin a campaign and what she’d like to accomplish as mayor.
Why run for mayor of Abbotsford?
I lost interest in council meetings because they were such a charade. It was quite obvious that these people [mayor and city councillors] filed out, [and] sat around the table… [but] it was clear it was all done behind closed doors… We have such a lot of quality people in this city. When I go to public hearings I feel joy… listening to my fellow citizens and the quality, the thoughtfulness, and the class with which they come to council… [but] It had already been decided. The public hearing was just a mockery. I have told Mayor George Peary that he has the potential to be the finest mayor in Canada, but I don’t think he is the best mayor, and that’s why I’m running.
If elected, what are your plans?
There are many issues that matter a lot to me… I do not believe that Tradex… should be used to host a filthy sex show annually. If elected, I will use my one-in-nine voice to oppose that. I find it surprising that in the “Bible belt” we have Christians on council that seem to sit on their thumbs when that issue comes up. Morals matter. I think morals have enormous implications for here and forever. I’m actively trying to understand… the city’s relationship with Tradex. There are many issues I would like to address. Unfortunately, right now this looming referendum question must dominate everything because it is serious. The city is using $200,000 of our money to push that referendum.
This election is largely going to be about water. What are your opinions on the proposed P3 project?[The Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre] is a massive debt burden on Abbotsford. We fought it. I went to every meeting about Plan A… We were given so many smooth assurances. It was a three-pronged question. I voted for the Reach and I voted for the ARC expansion because I could clearly [see] that those were for our community. The AESC was clearly not… Our city employees are the ones who are putting up the Heat signs all around town. Who pays for all that? So now we come to today – now we’re on the cusp of something far more serious. Mayor George Peary [is] urging everyone to vote yes for the P3. That is far worse, far worse than anything they have done yet… P3s have had very serious ramifications in other cities around the world. I’ve been poring through the documents. Abbotsford, for example, will have to pay for the electricity [of the water plant] for 30 years… They’re making it sound like “If we don’t do this now, we’ll have no water”. That’s an absolute lie. PPP Canada was conceived in 2007 and we’ve had water all this time. So nothing prevents us from doing it the way we’ve always done it, which is that the city hires someone to design and build and then city employees operate it… So for Peary to say “If you don’t say yes to P3, we’re all going to be gasping our throats in 2016 and our cattle will drop dead on their feet” is absolutely fraudulent.