University of the Fraser Valley

Mayor Siemens and President MacLean host the first Mayor’s Luncheon at UFV

Mayor Siemens and President MacLean host the first Mayor’s Luncheon at UFV

UFV President Joanne MacLean and Abbotsford mayor Ross Siemens enjoy their conversation during an informative Mayor’s Luncheon at UFV on May 23, 2024.

Abbotsford community members converged at UFV’s Evered Hall on May 23 for the inaugural Mayor’s Luncheon with Mayor Ross Siemens. He shared anecdotes from his education and professional experience and illuminated his upcoming plans and priorities for Abbotsford, before sitting down for a question-and-answer period hosted by UFV president Joanne MacLean.

See photos of the event here. 

The afternoon began with a meal followed by a short video featuring community leaders like Chris Silver, Sukh Kahlon, and Clare Seeley, and highlighted several picturesque Abbotsford locales while reflecting on the meaning of community.

After a warm introduction by President MacLean, Mayor Siemens took the stage. Noting UFV’s 50th anniversary this year, the UFV alum looked back on the milestones that brought him to his current position. These included memories of growing up in his family’s business (which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year as well). He described the time he spent on the Abbotsford City Council prior to becoming mayor, volunteering in Haiti, Hong Kong, and Macau, and working on the board of directors at Archway Community Services.

Mayor Siemens acknowledged the talent and hard work of his co-collaborators on city council who were also in attendance. He listed upcoming projects such as increasing industrial land holdings for the development of agritech, the Abbotsforward 2050 plan, and the building of new transit exchanges. Also on the way will be the widening of Highway 1, an updated affordable housing strategy, and airport expansion to accommodate the 26 per cent increase in air passengers in 2023.

“We know that there’s still a lot of important work to do over the next two and a half years of our term,” Mayor Siemens concluded. “But we are confident that we are on the right track, and thanks to all of you, we will continue to thrive as a vibrant, prosperous, welcoming and generous community. Together, we are building Abbotsford – the cultural and economic hub of the Fraser Valley.”

President MacLean joined the mayor to discuss submitted questions from the audience. Topics ranged from local challenges to methods for attracting new businesses to the area. To conclude, a $4,400 check was gifted to the UFV Food Bank from the proceeds of the event. The donation was gratefully received by Katina Noble, a psychology student working at the Student Wellness Centre who spoke about the important impact funding has on students struggling with food security.

Looking to the future of both UFV and the city of Abbotsford, Mayor Siemens predicts: “I think the next 50 years are going to be quite exciting for both institutions.”