Port Coquitlam’s youngest City Council candidate Justin Smith joins TCCTV’s Patrick McCarthy. Justin graduated from Riverside Secondary in 2016 and has lived in Port Coquitlam for about twenty years. Justin completed a degree in Political Science and participated in a co-op at a political advocacy company whose role is to engage people with their elected representatives. This made him think about how to ensure that peoples’ voices and issues were being heard. He feels Port Coquitlam can do more with respect to political engagement and therefore decided to run for Council.
Justin says a lot of young people are disengaged from politics and with so many pressing issues including climate change and the affordability crisis their voices need to be heard. He cares deeply about making the political process better.
Housing affordability is one of Justin’s priorities. He feels a mix of housing options including rentals, rent-to-own, and strata units, not simply single-family dwellings are needed. Just having high-rises with all the amenities included may drive up the prices. Existing homeowners need to be part of the conversation. The pure valuation of a house does not tell the whole story; people must move away to realize the value. Affordable housing can be achieved via below-market housing and by increasing supply. The City needs to foster relationships with developers and find opportunities to prioritize building affordable housing.
Justin feels in general, better engagement is needed. There are interest groups, advocacy groups, and people in Port Coquitlam who are not being heard. Engaging younger people may require using relevant social media apps. Information from City Council meetings should be condensed and made available to young people
A long-term view is needed for sustainability, including investment in infrastructure. The City needs to do another Environmental Assessment Plan to see where the investments need to be made and needs to reach out to experts.
Justin is running because he believes the people of Port Coquitlam have amazing ideas and collectively know a lot. He is committed to doing the outreach needed and setting up community work groups.