John Roston

John Roston

Why I am running
I’m fed up with the token efforts being made to address the housing crisis and environmental threats brought about by climate change. There is a lot we can do that isn’t being done, but it takes strong leadership and a collaborative management style. I will act as the champion of bold solutions to get councillors on board, motivate staff and speed up implementation.

Community Experience

  • Founder, Richmond Rental Housing Advocacy Group: increasing rental housing in Richmond
  • Member, Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition Housing Committee
  • Member, Richmond FarmWatch Executive Committee: halting mega mansions on farmland
  • Founder, Plug-in Richmond: promoting electric vehicles in partnership with the City
  • Past Treasurer, Richmond Museum Society: educating about histories and cultures
  • Block Watch Captain, Richmond RCMP BlockWatch Program
  • Keen Mah Jong player

Career Experience

  • Retired McGill senior administrator and Adjunct Professor 
  • Director of the McGill department responsible for the use of technology in teaching.
  • Past member, Research Advisory Committee, Canarie Inc., Ottawa – Federal agency responsible for next generation internet infrastructure and research.
  • Research projects, in collaboration with partners at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, involved virtual reality simulations, remote music teaching, high quality immersive videoconferencing and the transmission of high-definition video from the seafloor using underwater internet networks.
  • Co-author and Programmer, “McGill Negotiation Simulator” used to teach negotiation skills to MBA students at several universities including Harvard Business School.
  • Inventor, “Remote language interpretation system and method,” U.S. Patent US 7,395,200.
  • Winner, “Most Innovative Use of New Technology” Citation, SuperComputing Conference 2005 Bandwidth Challenge, Seattle, Washington.
  • Past employment at First Nations owned art gallery

Education

  • M.A. in Communications from McGill. 
  • Advanced management, accounting and negotiation skills training

— John Roston Quotes for Platform items —

On housing:

“No matter how comfortably we may be housed, we are all involved in the critical shortage of rental housing in Richmond. Look around at the staff the next time you are in a grocery store, restaurant or shop. Most of them cannot find affordable rental housing in Richmond and must endure long and expensive commutes. This is a major reason why Richmond businesses are having difficulty in attracting staff. It will increasingly impact the service we receive.”

“We have to create modest starter homes for young people, while preserving the character of our residential neighbourhoods, and we have to greatly increase the supply of rental housing to meet the huge demand.”

“We have older couples wishing to downsize and in need of retirement funds. They sell their house to someone who replaces it with a huge mansion that is out of character with the neighbourhood. Instead, we can allow them to subdivide the existing house internally into two strata titled housing units, continue living in one and sell the other as a starter home to a young couple that can’t afford to buy the entire house. By maintaining the external appearance of the house and requiring sufficient parking, the neighbourhood character is unchanged, and everyone wins.”

“We can greatly increase the supply of rental housing by zoning single storey commercial properties to only allow the addition of 100% purpose-built rental on top of the ground floor commercial. This increases the value of the property while ensuring that we build desperately needed rental instead of strata condos for sale to investors.”
On climate change preparedness:

“Climate change is galloping while we are walking. The dikes need to be raised higher faster. At the same time, the top of the dikes must be better designed for recreational use by people, bicycles and vehicles.”

“We are in a major earthquake zone. Should evacuation of a neighbourhood be necessary, everyone should know where they are going and what route to take. Otherwise, as we have seen elsewhere, there will be chaos on the roads and panic caused by not knowing what to do.”
On taxes:

“The City has set aside hundreds of millions in surplus and reserve funds for future use on everything from buildings and parks to dikes and drainage. More hundreds of millions are set aside for nothing in particular and that amount is increasing further by adding an additional 1% in annual property taxes on top of taxes that already exceed the rate of inflation. Any tax increase beyond the rate of inflation should be for a specific use clearly explained to taxpayers.”

“City departments are very good at asking for more money to provide new services but are very poor at admitting that some existing services are no longer needed. Zero based budgeting requires them to justify what is currently being spent before they are given additional funds for new services.”