The Kelowna Chamber canvassed those running for elected office this October and asked them to provide a brief Bio and a response to three questions that impact our economy.  Each candidate was contacted and requested to provide a response and an image of themselves. We have posted what we have been provided.   Each answer was limited to no more than 175 words to keep it concise and to be fair to all candidates.  You can use the hyperlinks to find out more about any of the candidates.  As an additional service to our members and the community we have provided links to election pages of the various local governments in our region in case you are seeking additional information.  As always, the Kelowna Chamber encourages you to become informed about those seeking your vote and then take part in the election process by casting your ballot on October 15th or in any of the advance polls. 

October 4 2022 - Kelowna: An All Candidates Mayoral Forum takes place Tuesday 4 October at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, where the community can hear from the candidates to help voters with informed decisions on voting day.

The event is moderated by Chris Walker of CBC Daybreak South.

Learn more and register for the forum at: https://secure.kelownachamber.org/events/Speaker-Series-AllCandidates-Mayoral-Forum-5226/details

Questions may be submitted ahead of time at slido.com with the participant code #2902183.

 

Candidates Information

City of Kelowna | City of West Kelowna | District of Lake Country |

City of Kelowna

Mayor Candidates

Basran, Colin

Dyas, Tom

Habib, David

Smedley, Glendon Charles

Socrates, Silverado

Councillor Candidates

Ames, Susan

Becenko, Chris

Bocskei, Christopher

Brar, Amarit

Cannan, Ron

Collecutt, Sacheen

Dahms, Greg

DeHart, Maxine

Dhial, Indy

Fiddler, Darrin

Given, Gail

Grewal, Bal

Hodge, Charlie

Joseph, Daniel

Kay, James

Kyle, Davis

Lalli, Amarjit Singh

Lovegrove, Gord

Macauley, Tom

McMurray, Elaine

Norman, D. Ben

Rogers, Brian

Sawatzky, Zach

Schlosser, Dan

Shepard, Anthony

Singh, Mohini

Stack, Luke

Truch, Peter

Webber, Rick

Wentworth, Noel

Williams, Chris

Wooldridge, Loyal

City of West Kelowna

Mayor Candidates

Kwaczynski, Andrew

Milson, Gord

Councillor Candidates

Bastiaanssen , Anthony

Da Silva, Tasha

Dawn, Sylvia

Ensign, Rusty

Friesen, Jason

Groat, Tom

Johnston, Stephen

Martin, John S

Millsap, Garrett

Millsap, Garrett

Naaykens, Jasmine Jane

Winsby, Bryden

Zanon, Carol

de Jong, Rick

District of Lake Country

Mayor Candidates

Ireland, Blair

Councillor Candidates

Brett, Tricia

Hastings, Riley

Irvine, Heather

Kozub, Jerremy

Lewis, Michael

McKenzie, Todd

Patel, Bib

Reed, Cara

Scarrow, Bill

City of Kelowna

Mayor Candidates

Colin Basran

Biography

Born and raised in Kelowna, my roots in our community run several generations deep. In my past life I was a reporter and a real estate agent. Seeing so many of my friends leave Kelowna in search of opportunity, I decided to try to make a difference by successfully seeking public office and becoming your City Councillor in 2011. I was subsequently elected Mayor in 2014 and am currently seeking re-election for a third term.

Over my time on City Council, Kelowna grew tremendously and prospered as a community. We are rated as one of the best cities in the country with low unemployment and a resilient economy. It's no wonder we now attract people here and as a result are the fastest growing city according to the last Census. A number of my friends returned to Kelowna and are now raising their families here.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

I feel that we are moving in the right direction with the transportation options available to our residents. Yes, traffic can be bad at times. Unfortunately this comes with a territory of being the fastest growing city. We keep advocating to the province for more transit routes and expanded capacity of our Hwy 97 and the Bridge (which are under Provincial jurisdiction). Residents of the Upper Mission will welcome the opening of the South Perimeter Road while the North End Connector is the next big investment in road infrastructure.

We are aggressively continuing to expand our network of active transportation corridors that allow residents to leave their car parked and use one of the alternative transportation options. I can appreciate that for many leaving their car behind isn't really an option for multitude of reasons. But they should still be supportive of our efforts in pushing for alternative transportation because when someone else chooses to bike or take a bus, it takes their car off the road, reducing congestion.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Kelowna is the fastest growing city in Canada. We welcomed approximately 40,000 new residents over the last 10 years and another 45,000 people are expected to move to Kelowna by 2040. All these folks need a place to live, work, shop, and play. While the pace of real estate development is considered too fast by some residents, the reality is that we are not growing fast enough to accommodate everyone. This contributes to the shortage of housing options and results in high costs. Therefore I don't think we have the luxury of choosing between building new homes and better-utilizing existing ones; we need to do both. We need to keep building new housing within our target boundaries (as laid out by the OCP 2040), we need to densify our town centres (Downtown, Pandosy Village, Capri Landmark, Rutland and Midtown), and we need to be creative with how we adapt existing housing stock (like allowing carriage homes and suites). I'm a big proponent of mixed use developments that combine residential, office, and retail space together.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

When it comes to long term planning and decisions about the direction for our City, there are plenty of opportunities for the residents to get involved and voice their opinion. The first example that comes to mind is Imagine Kelowna, an 18-month long conversation with the community about our future. The result was a distilled community’s vision, principles and goals for Kelowna so we can thrive in the face of unprecedented growth and change. Naturally, planning exercises that look a decade or two ahead do not happen very often, but when they do I strongly encourage everyone to have their say.

As we work towards the long-term vision, various proposals and issues show up in front of City Council for consideration and debate. Appearing at the Council meeting and making a presentation, or sending in your thoughts ahead of time, is the formal way that residents can get involved in the decision-making process.

Finally you can reach out to your Mayor, Council, and City Staff directly by phone or email or social media channels.

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Tom Dyas

Biography

Tom Dyas is a successful entrepreneur, devoted father and active volunteer in Kelowna.

Tom founded TD Benefits and has operated it right here in Kelowna since 2001. He has also previously served with the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce for over ten years, including two terms as President.

Tom has been actively involved in our community for years through Kelowna Minor Hockey, including as Chair of Kelowna's successful 2020 Memorial Cup bid, and on important community committees, like the Airport Advisory Committee, the Child Advocacy Centre Board, the City of Kelowna's Journey Home Task Force, and the new course development committee at Okanagan College.

Tom knows what it's like to make payroll, stretch a dollar and consider all other options before taking on new debt or new spending.

Tom will use his decades of experience as a small business owner, volunteer and father to take action and address Kelowna's growing crime, safety, affordability, and traffic issues.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Far too many residents are getting stuck in traffic every single day. What used to be our summer traffic jams has turned into year-round headaches for residents, visitors and businesses.

In order to get Kelowna moving again, we need to make strategic decisions to build long-ago promised road expansions and enhancements, while improving and making public transit more accessible, comfortable and desirable, and providing safe storage for bicycles.

People want to and will continue driving cars, and we must plan for it - that doesn't mean we can't build enhancements for all road users - but it does mean we have to improve and build our key road networks.

Given the lack of follow-through on major rod projects, it appears the City's strategy to get people out of cars is to make as inconvenient as possible to drive. As Kelowna's next Mayor I won't favour any mode of transit. You should be able to move around Kelowna in the way you want, whether that driving a car, riding your bicycle or taking the bus.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

As a small business owner myself, and former President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, I know how difficult it has become to attract employees with Kelowna's increasing cost of housing challenges. If we can't hire workers, we can't be successful.

 

The continued proliferation of high-rise towers throughout the downtown core has not brought with it the promised affordable units - rather we now have million dollar condos. While increased density downtown is good for businesses, we need a better balance than what we're getting right now.

We need to promote gentle density within neighbourhoods, by encouraging townhomes, secondary suites, carriage homes and RU7 lots. This will provide more options for people to call home, that are less attractive for investors to turn into AirBnBs, all while better following our Official Community Plan.

We know there's a shortage of industrial space and homes, but it's all about balance. For too long the balanced and thoughtful approach to development, which our residents support, has been ignored.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I've spoken to thousands of people over the last several months, and over the last four years who feel consistently that their voices aren't being heard. It's not just that they disagree with decisions being made, but it's that those at the top refuse to take meetings with them or respond to their concerns.

I know I don't know everything, and that's why I enjoy consultations and meeting people to hear their ideas and concerns. It makes me a better person, and will make me a better Mayor.

I support the creation of an Advisory Committee for major projects and amendments to the Official Community Plan (OCP). Having too many Advisory Committees and those with broad scopes, serve to delay major projects costing everyone more money. However, I believe in major projects or those that require major amendments to the OCP need to have more community input.

This committee made up of advocates, businesses, builders, and other would make a report and recommendation to Council, much like staff currently do, but would provide another opinion.

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David Habib

Biography

David Habib is a father, a coach for youth, and a successful businessman. If there is one thing to say about David, it is that he loves his city. Having come to Kelowna in 1979, he believes Kelowna is one of the greatest cities in the world, but the problems currently faced will continue to grow unless the people employ strong leadership.

David has a legacy of providing innovative solutions and putting the work in to get results. He has competed and won nationally and internationally in the sport of boxing. That same mindset of putting in the required work to get the desired results is what he will bring to move this city forward.

He believes strong collaboration with federal and provincial partners can effectively create more resources to tackle the pressing issues.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

We must address transportation with an eye on the future. Our city is only going to grow, and the current infrastructure will not support that. Advocacy for Uber or other ride share companies should be happening immediately. Investigating technology to see how imminent disruptive technology is to being a reality (Self driving cars). I also think we need to analyze where HOV lanes should be and place them accordingly. I have looked at studies for light rail and I am still not convinced that it would be too cost prohibitive, with the other innovations mentioned previously.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

What many residents may or may not know is that building out costs money. Many new developments don’t pay for themselves with the additional tax base. So, it only makes sense to have current infrastructure utilized to derive the most benefit. Infill is the best way forward, from a political standpoint and from a monetary standpoint.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Decisions should never be made in a bubble. Your views should reflect the views of the people who elected you. However, I do not believe in creating sub-committees, as they were not elected – you were. So as such, you have to make hard decisions that some of the population will have a hard time with. Studies and research are welcome based on the complexity of any issue and how widespread its impact will be. But I will not waste taxpayer dollars to have a committee tell me what I should do on any given decision.

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Glendon Charles Smedley

Biography

Since being the first candidate to pick up the nomination papers on the morning of July 22, 2022, making that winning decision to myself was the first and the most important to become a Kelowna Mayor.

The people of Kelowna have the right to speak freely about the issues of concern.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms expresses this very well.

October 15, 2022

Vote

Glendon Charles Smedley

for Kelowna Mayor

GlendonCharlesSmedleyformayor@gmail.com  

Phone: 236-795-5428

 

Have lived in the Okanagan Valley since 1974, Vancouver since 1983 and in Kelowna since 1995. I have worked as a tradesman for over 18 years. 10 years of that working at the oil sands in Northern Alberta.

 

Educated in several areas:

* Mechanical Engineering Technologist

* Operations Management Technologist

* Computer Software Engineering Tech.

* Journeyman Carpenter

Red seal Certified

* Journeyman Scaffolder

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Transportation has not kept up to the building infrastructure. I mentioned about Transportation in 2014, nothing has been done since about it. A perfect example is the bottleneck coming into Kelowna off of the bridge. There is a third lane just waiting all this time to be opened up to remove the bottle neck and see how the traffic patterns behave from that.

Do we need to introduce another transportation system into what we already have.

Personal Rapid Transit = ( P.R.T. )

(Google search: skytran video )

Transports 3000 people/hour

The one and two person occupants with no large load to carry would benefit from this helping solve our traffic congestion?

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Involve the public with what the city needs:

Maybe, more washroom facilities, shower facilities and gathering areas in different parts of the city rather than the sidewalk on some random street. Fully Equipped kitchen facility to prepare meals for people who are finding inflation a struggle and making it too expensive to eat. Working with the food bank, farms and churches.

Instead of forcing people to comply, try empathy and understanding, build hope, dignity and respect. To make a safe place for the community to build unity, trust by getting to know each other. A community that works together can weather the storms and be stronger.

Kelowna Springs golf club is an interesting location for a working farm.

In the past when I worked with a team we built a 2000 man camp in less than 9 months with a full operational kitchen for all occupants, showed me how fast an organized build can be.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Have community events to gather people to discuss the issues, for example. Help to make all people welcome in there own community. Each person has something they can contribute for a positive end goal to achieve. This includes building upon a plan that works for all citizens of Kelowna.

We can Start with a venue at Metro Church, I know a great cook there named Ron.

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Silverado Socrates

Biography

Born in Cold Lake to an armed forces parents, I moved around Canada for my first 13 years of life, between Alberta and Summerside, Prince Edward Island. I had goals of having a horse and going to the Olympics. Kelowna was my first stable environment, spending my high school years at Mount Boucherie. We moved to Kelowna with 4 horses and we started a hobby trail riding business within 2 years. I went to University of Victoria on a combination of academic and athletic scholarships, turning down a few offers to American and Canadian Universities. Had about 4 Canadian gold medal titles in the 3 years there, with one that is still a national record. UVic years were interesting but there seemed to be a choice of run or ride. Goals of helping others see their potential became Mandy and Me Trailriding. Circumstances changed and the bigger goal of helping people help themselves to fun, fitness, and self fulfilment, using horses, music and storytelling is now the goal with Fort Socs Trading.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

I am lucky in that I live where biking/ bus options are easily combined. I like that e-bikes and scooters are becoming accessible and that drivers seem to be learning to be more conscious of them. I have heard rumors of converting the buses to electric and a route through to the university via Hollywood North but would like to see more public input into this and potentially promotion of a light transit, above ground, system instead. I think we could be promoting more carsharing options.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

I believe we could be repurposing/ better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts. I have heard and seen evidence of many empty buildings. I once paid to be a sponsor of a Ted talks film Cradle to cradle design by Architect William McDonough. It is amazing how efficient buildings can be made, but I ended up focusing my introduction on the need to learn to get along. It seems more apparent than ever on how this needs to be a reality in a society where one person might have millions of dollars and a few homes which remain empty most of the time. Furthermore, it seems more than ever that families of various socio-economic states seldom eat at home or together.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I think it is important to meet people in their work or home states. Seems the people with the time and money to meet politicians are the ones that politicians listen to. Having some satellite office spaces in various areas of the community, where council members could meet at, at different times, could be a start towards this. I have wondered about setting up some areas where a soapbox idea could be promoted, and people encouraged to share their ideas. Not everyone will want or be able to go to toastmasters, but I think there could be efforts made to sincerely help people present their thoughts more effectively.

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Councillor Candidates

Susan Ames

Biography

Susan Ames, Ph.D., MSc., BSc. has over 30 years experience as an environmental consultant, recently in the mining industry. Her PhD focused on climate change, She has written and reviewed technical reports and impact assessments.

Susan has been the President of the Kelowna South Central Association of Neighborhoods (KSAN) since 2020 and in that capacity has reviewed city zoning, the 2040 Official Community Plan, numerous projects in Kelowna, and has presented at public hearings.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

The transportation options are very limited in Kelowna. We need are more buses. Buses need to run frequently so it doesn’t take half a day to get somewhere. Instead of having the very large buses that are often travelling almost empty and burning fossil fuels without being utilized fully, we need smaller buses on “quieter” routes. Eventually, the buses should be changed to electric buses to reduce fossil fuel emissions. If the buses run frequently, we will get people out of their cars and this will reduce emissions and the number of vehicles on the road and therefore, congestion. As well, it reduces the wear and tear on people’s private vehicles which is more sustainable. It will increase affordability as people won’t have big vehicle gas bills and big car insurance bills.

We could also use more roundabouts at strategic locations to increase traffic flow. Later perhaps we can have street cars on street level rails imbedded into the road as they have in Seattle. They don’t interfere with local traffic.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

It is more important to repurpose and better utilize our existing homes and storefronts than build new homes and commercial spaces. The older and existing storefronts provide character to the downtown, etc., and are small enough to allow for small businesses which provide unique and boutique shops and restaurants. This is great for the small business community, the residents, and the tourists. New commercial spaces are usually large, concrete and glass, and expensive and so the local business are driven out with the high rents and the physical space has a more “sterile” feel. It is better to repurpose and better utilize our existing homes. The original character and workmanship provide richness to the city and the feel of the city. People are very creative in making the interior and exteriors of houses work for them and this material is all in place already. This is considered embodied energy, roofs, stairs, joists, foundations, windows, etc. The key is in demolishing our buildings and homes we are adding greatly to the waste stream unnecessarily.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I would start the public consultation earlier in the process before all the expensive design work is done by the developer. The process could be that the developer meets with the neighbourhood association and neighbours first. If the neighbourhood does not support it, the staff would not take it to council. I would make sure project notices go to the whole neighbourhood (not just the immediate neighbors) and to the neighbourhood property owners (rather than the non-owner inhabitants). As well, I would have the public able to have input at first reading as this is where council sends a project to public hearing. I would allow the public to ask questions at the public hearing and at 3rd readings (the design on the form and function - what it is going to look like). I would reinstate the citizens patrol for safety and committees such as the Heritage Advisory Committee that reviewed projects in the Heritage Conservation Areas. The staff now are making decisions and the community has no input in their community.

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Chris Becenko

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Christopher Bocskei

Biography

I moved to Kelowna from Hamilton Ontario when I was just 16 and graduated from K.L.O. High School in 1987. I worked a number of different jobs to put myself through high school, and I had a number of business ventures. Today, I'm a husband and father of 3 boys, 2 dogs and a small business owner. I'm passionate about our green spaces, sports, gardening and hiking but I'm also a community member who has been very active since I was a Scout Leader at Raymer Elementary in 1992.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

I like the idea of a variety of transportation options that reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. and it's encouraging that cycling has become mainstream. However our transportation options are only so good as our ability to deliver them. Our transit system is not sustainable or reliable, which is essential to anyone who may rely on the system to get to work or pick up their child from daycare before closing time.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Neither. Our Police and Fire Department are vastly understaffed. The city of Kelowna has 183 Officers. The city of Calgary has 180 officers...per 100,000. There are 143,000 residents in Kelowna. Our fire department is also understaffed, presently we have 23 on staff at any time during the day. It requires 46 personnel to manage a high rise fire, if nothing else is happening. If community safety is not a priority it'll only get worse.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I think the best thing we can do is to keep the door open for discussions, including face to face meetings with the residents most impacted by the decision.

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Amarit Brar

Biography

Born in Prince Rupert BC, and raised in the Okanagan. She is a proud second-generation Canadian.

As the daughter of immigrants, Amarit struggled to fit in while attending elementary and secondary school in Rutland. This only empowered her and sparked her passion for inclusivity for all - regardless of who they are and where they came from. Amarit has held both provincial and national leadership roles for a major political party's women's & youth commission. She continues to serve as a mentor in the political sphere to rising women and to young people who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Amarit believes in the power of youth. She aspires to be a positive role model. She encourages youth in Kelowna and across Canada to take on leadership roles and to give back to their communities.

Amarit wants to build a stronger Kelowna for everyone. A place where we celebrate each other's unique characteristics and use each other's strengths to create a better community, for all.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Improvement on transportation and traffic is required. This issue must be tackled on many fronts simultaneously. Residents need to want to bike and walk, rather than drive everywhere. To want to bike and walk, they need to feel safe. Thus, we must implement the Community Safety Plan quickly. We must continue to expand separated pedestrian and bike paths, so residents are not in jeopardy from cars. We must work towards ensuring that public transportation is accessible for low income families, as well as the general public. We need to work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on improving traffic flow, through solutions such as different light timings on highways 97 and 33. We need to work with the province on feasibility studies for light rapid transit (West Kelowna to UBCO and the airport) versus a second bridge crossing. Whether either is implemented, it is important to start engagement now, as projects this large take many many years from initial analysis to reality.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

The lack of affordable housing is an issue for everyone; current residents, people who want to move here, and businesses who cannot hire or retain staff. This is not an ‘either’ ‘or’ question. We need to better utilize our existing homes and storefronts. We should re-purpose underused buildings into affordable homes for low-income and middle class families. We can immediately turn the existing storefronts into temporary modular houses. We must access all provincial and federal funds and programs to help accomplish this.

I believe that the provisions of the OCP must be followed (not routinely ignored), unless a developer falls within specific exceptions. Those exceptions would be formulated after consultation with all stakeholders. One exception could be to allow an increase in height, above what is set out in the OCP, provided that a specific percentage (say 20 to 25%) of the increased floor space is built as affordable housing.

We need bylaw and OCP changes to accomplish all of the above. I am prepared to work to ensure those changes occur.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

In my opinion, the current system does not give enough time or mechanisms for citizens to bring their concerns to council. There are several things we can do:

1. Have a ward system so that the ward councilor is easily accessible and held accountable for the decisions going on at City Hall. I will push for this change.

2. Have a longer period of time between a development application being set on council’s agenda and the date of its public hearing. This will provide residents time to marshall their evidence and arrange meetings with councilors.

3. Continue processes such as Imagine Kelowna and the neighbourhood liaison committee and neighbourhood engagement process for the North End Plan, when other similar major issues arise;

4. Consider using technology to give residents a method of expressing their views on major issues.

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Ron Cannan

Biography

Experienced, Accessible and Proactive. Ron is the only Council candidate that has experience working municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government. Previously 9 years Kelowna Councillor & about 10 years as MP for Kelowna Lake Country. Worked with the Chamber & other community partners to secure funding for a passport office, UBCO, OC, Innovation Centre, transit, widening Hwy 97, John Hindle Drive and more. With decades of business experience and working as a public servant, Ron is highly sought after by by business & government officials for his expertise on operations and public policy development on the municipal, provincial and federal level. Ron is also an independent broker for Interior Savings Credit Union for their commercial division.

Business graduate from NAIT plus U of T Rotman School of Management Corporate Directors Board Education Program where Ron earned the ICD.D designation. Ron serves on private & publicly traded company Boards as well as enjoys volunteering with various non-profit organizations. Ron and his wife Cindy have 3 daughters, 4 grandchildren and have lived in Kelowna 32+ years.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

As Chamber Committee Chair, we worked with the City on the development of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP). TMP proposes to quadruple cycling trips by 2040 & move more people with biking, walking & transit. As an avid cyclist I agree that cycling is an affordable, healthy & sustainable way to help people get around without a car. Reality is that this is very challenging year round with our weather & topography. A major Okanagan economic driver is development. Ever tried taking a load of lumber from the hardware store on your bike or the bus? City/Chamber partnered on a Commercial Goods Movement Study. Anxious to see the report recommendations. . Currently, Kelowna’s land use decisions have added to the Harvey Ave parking lot by creating sprawl development. West Kelowna & Lake Country residents using Kelowna’s roads/services & not paying taxes. We need a REGIONAL transportation plan that focuses on the Central Okanagan/Valley. Visit my website at roncannan.ca for more transportation ideas such as improving transit and exploring a true rails with trails corridor.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Great question however I believe we need to look at this on a property by property basis. Building new homes and commercial space is a natural for an area like Upper Gordon/Frost Rd. Area residents would welcome a neighbourhood grocery story/commercial services. Help reduce vehicle trips (lower the carbon footprint). Other situations might make good economical sense & also provide environmental savings to repurpose/better existing homes and storefronts. With climate change top of mind, government grants are available to assist with upgrades to help cut back on energy consumption. However, from my MP experience on the finance committee, federal policy actually encourages the demolition of the built environment (heritage or otherwise) through a tax system that incentivizes destruction over reuse. Going green means revising policy – starting with the Income Tax Act and the GST. Only when it has done so can Canada claim to bring sustainability to where we live. Sustainability often comes with the myth that it’s more expensive to go green. Renovating vs demolition also reduces waste dropped into our finite landfill.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

From the 9 years I previously served on City Council and as MP, one of the most important items I have learned is that in order to garner community support for any project, building relationships with the citizens of our community and listening to their concerns and ideas from the outset is paramount. Need to build trust and have integrity. Work with residents associations, Chamber, DKA, URBA, etc. Kelowna citizens must be provided with the necessary information with full transparency in order to make informed decisions. These expectations mean city leaders must be proactive in information dissemination. Use referendums if deemed appropriate. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is ethical. For example, the RFP on 350 Doyle Street. The City terms of reference stated a maximum 13 floors. Council approved a 25 story building. It is a very nice building however how much more could the city possible benefited if all developers knew that they could build a 25 story building? Need to be open and fully transparent or else you lose integrity!

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Sacheen Collecutt

Biography

A trained Mental Health professional advocating for the vulnerable at risk population; mental illness, homelessness and addiction that are intrinsically linked to our soaring crime rates. A Kelowna resident who has been actively involved in a variety of roles with Crossroads, John Howard Society, NOW Canada, Access Resources, OMHSS, and CMHA. I have grown to understand there are far too many cracks within our broken and ineffective system that require our immediate attention and solutions.

We need to look critically at the obstructions that have been placed in the way of making the productive changes required to make our city safe again. Mental Health issues contribute to the escalation in crime, an indication of deeper problems within the community. The symptom that presents as crime will continue to increase. “We can no longer afford to keep turning a blind eye”. We need sustainable programs in mental health and well-ness, are key to restoring our society.

I am confident that actions for change will resonate with the people of Kelowna. “It’s time to heal our community”

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Transportation, for quite some time now, has become a significant issue of congestion. While I do think it is something that needs to be addressed, we know that it's going to be years before the issue can be corrected. I understand the option of a second bridge is something important to local residents, as it didn't resolve much of the issue despite the fact that a new bridge was just put in not long ago. This is a consequence of accelerated growth.

Too much growth too fast hasn't helped, and while growth is important, other issues need to be considered regarding the rate of growth and the ability of the current infrastructure to support it.

When there is too much traffic congestion, emergency vehicles are slowed down, which means the health and well-being of residents is at risk. We need to make sure that safety of residents always comes first as priority to council.

Residents are the ones that keep our city operational, so we need to ensure that our residents are treated optimally.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

I think there is a lot of wasted space already. I look at downtown and all the many empty buildings that could be put to good use even now. If a building or home can be repurposed (considering the cost-benefit analysis of every one of them), then we should strive to maintain and keep what we have. If it makes more sense long term to develop new, then that has to be considered. I do not think it's a one or the other, I think there are many levels of critical thinking that can be involved in this process.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I think residents should have the ability to sign up for receiving updates on council announcements, proposals, meetings so they remain involved with what is happening around the city. While it will not be possible to fix every concern about various issues that come up, it's important that council hear what the people are saying and wanting, and that the residents are heard so council gets a good overall perspective of what it is residents are thinking. Every perspective matters so we can get a holistic view of concerns, ideas and solutions.

A great team always includes the perspective that everyone has something of value to add in a variety of ways, and there's no better way than to have active involvement for others to know about what's going on in their city to get the opportunity to be heard. I also see this as an opportunity for residents to get involved in their community if they want to see certain changes. There are many ways to be proactive in our community.

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Greg Dahms

Biography

Greg Dahms is a full-time Realtor® with Century 21 Assurance Realty, and the previous owner of the Kelowna SPCA Thrift Store, which raised much needed funds for Kelowna’s local SPCA Shelter.

Greg has lived in the Okanagan region for the past 20 years, and lives in Kelowna with his wife, René, his two children and a rescue dog named Bear. I

Election platform:

Create a vibrant, sustainable, and safe city for everyone to enjoy.

Sustainability

Foster small business growth as well as attract new businesses to the region to ensure future job creation and a strong economy.

Ensure our transportation infrastructure keeps up with our growing city as well as supporting public transit and alternative modes of transit.

Affordability

Increase the availability of rental units and affordable housing.

Looking to improve our ageing infrastructure now instead of paying higher costs in the future in order.

Safety

Address the homeless population as well as the impact it is having on our city.

Community

Foster economic growth, protect our environment, and create safe affordable public space.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

I feel that Kelowna is on a growth path that is outpacing our current transportation system and our aging road infrastructure, bottlenecks and unreliable transit system will not be able to keep up with urban sprawl and higher density. If we do not address our road system, transit system as well as our aging infrastructure today, we will have a city choked in gridlock tomorrow as well as an astonishing high cost to repair the issues in the future.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Both are important. We will need to support the building of new homes and commercial space as Kelowna is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, however we need to have sustainable growth regarding new development. We need to focus on where to build and at what density to balance urban sprawl with transportation needs and infrastructure. We also need to think about how high-density development will impact the surrounding areas. An example of this is the development at the previous Hiawatha property on Lakeshore. This high-density development is sure to impact the traffic along Lakeshore and Gordon which already have traffic, noise, and congestion issues. It is also important to look at better ways of using the buildings and commercial space we already have and how best to renovate and repurpose them for our growing city.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

At present residents can be part of the decision-making process by providing comments or concerns by email, written letter, or in person at public council meetings at city hall and also participating in the public hearing electronically. This is great for most development or other city issues, however for major issues we could make it more inclusive and convenient for residents to attend by offering a public hearing at a larger venue to accommodate more residents to ask questions and voice their opinion. This open council meeting could be held over two evenings or even three evenings as a public forum following the same rules and format as a regular public council hearing giving residents more flexibility and opportunity to attend.

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Maxine DeHart

Biography

I have been a Kelowna City Councillor since 2011. I have been a Director on the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Board and a Director on the Central Okanagan Regional District. I have worked at a senior level in Kelowna’s tourism industry for 35 years. I feel I have a very strong knowledge of the issues of our city and its residents. I listen to the public and take the time to understand what their needs are. I make decisions for the city as a whole and always try to be accessible and responsive to taxpayers.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

This beautiful valley is surrounded by mountains and lakes, and we currently have close to 50% of our land mass in the ALR. This makes it very challenging for road access and transportation. I believe in connectivity and that will enhance our road networks, transit, walking and cycling paths. I would, however, like to see the North-End Connector (COMMC, Hwy 33 extension) completed in the next term. This will only be achieved by lobbying other governments for the necessary funding. I also feel that further development of our vibrant downtown and other town centers will certainly reduce traffic as we live, work, and play close to home.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

It is difficult, if not impossible to choose or separate between the above. I think these are equally important, depending on the area of the city, zoning, land mass available and taking into consideration the vast amount of land in the ALR.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

The city has always involved residents in the decision-making process for all major issues, for example, Parkinson Rec Centre. This includes public forums, on-line forums, access to city staff, access to city councillors and the City of Kelowna website. Personally, I listen to the public and take the time to understand what their needs are. I make decisions for the city as a whole and always try to be accessible and responsive to taxpayers.

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Indy Dhial

Biography

I have lived in Kelowna almost my entire life and have seen it grow from a sleepy lake town to a busy city. I have worked in corporate leadership at Shaw Communications leading several teams from small business to installations and sales to now, a small business owner in the childcare sector working to create a strong future for the children in our community. I've been a volunteer community coach for many years whether coaching at my former High School at Rutland Senior or helping a friend's child who didn't have a community coach that season. Today, my wife and I are raising our 2 young children in a society that has more challenges than ever before.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Our transit system is broken to the point that we are facing a strike any day now. In a time when we are looking for green solutions to protect our environment and ways to reduce the bottlenecks on many of our main roads, our municipal transportation system is at a low point. We have seen growth in bike lanes and electric transportation which is a win but we are a city that will see plenty of snow and large temperature drops and this is not a year round solution. We must focus on our transit system ensuring we have a work force that is not being left out in the cold when we need them the most.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

We need a mix of both, new homes and commercial spaces create work for our citizens and growth for our city ensuring we are staying ahead of our city's growth rate. Renovating and repurposing existing locations is just as important as maximizing our existing footprint will help keep infrastructure costs down and modernizing spaces that may otherwise fall to disrepair. There is no one size fits all solution and we need to make sure every project that is brought to council is carefully reviewed and cost, location and the effect on the communities these projects will have are weighed before moving forward.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Although we are voted in by the citizens of our city, we must ensure we are being transparent with the decisions being made. To this effect, we must utilize the tools around us ie. social media, public hearings and meetings, focus groups when available and creating open dialogue around major decisions being made. It is impossible to make everyone happy with our choices but we must make every effort to ensure those we serve have an opportunity to have their voice heard.

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Darrin Fiddler

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Gail Given

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Bal Grewal

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Presently, I feel the transportation options could greatly improve in our city. Mainly, we can have more busses, express buses that go to specific locations, so that all residents can have access. The city should also investigate other options, such as carsharing or a tram system.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

I think it is important to have a combination of both. We need to repurpose / better utilize our existing homes and storefronts. It is also acknowledged there are large lots with small, older homes and vacant commercial properties present throughout the city. Therefore, if we take a two-prong approach, one being repurposing existing infrastructure, that way we can help reduce urban sprawl and limit destruction of our green spaces around the city.

The second prong being the need to build new homes and commercial space for the developing regions of the city. By doing this, there will be local amenities and services that can service those developing regions in the city and in turn this will help reduce unnecessary trips to other parts of town, that would otherwise cause congestion and traffic.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

In order to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues, it is imperative that we create and establish committees that involve not just City staff and councillors but also citizens, technical experts, academics with expertise, community organizations, and business representatives that can provide insight when it comes to the decision-making process.

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Charlie Hodge

Biography

I'm a best selling author, writer, as well as veteran City Councillor and regional district director.

Born in Penticton my family moved to Kelowna when I was seven. A mid-70’s KSS graduate I spent most of the following 30 years as a newspaper editor, reporter, and photographer. I still pen my column HodgePodge weekly, (41 years).

When not writing or working with Council I'm often utilizing my diverse background skills in public relations, music, personal coaching, strategic planning and environmental consulting.

My recently released third book, Lost Souls of Lakewood the History and Mystery of Blaylock’s Mansion is proving very popular. (Available at Mosaic Books)

My hobbies include gardening, fishing, and watching the Maple Leafs break my heart. Teresa and I share our home with five cats.

Political Experience

Charlie has 14 years City Council experience (11 in Kelowna and 3 in Parksville, B.C.).

Also - 13 years as Regional District Director (10 Kelowna 3 on Nanaimo Regional District).

3 years as Southern Interior Local Government Association Director.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Poor planning in the past has caused us a nightmare today. That said the answer is not building a bunch of roads but rather resolving what we have. First we must become far less car dependent and need incentives to resolve that.

As a City we have done tremendous work with bicycle paths however a large majority of our population do not ride bikes. We need to create options and reasons to get people out of their cars. We have far too many single occupant vehicles so carpooling needs to be marketed and somehow rewarded. The HOV lane is in the wrong spot.

Electric vehicles, hybrids and charging stations are imperative.

A major key I believe is to consider free or heavily subsidized bus or transit for all residents., That means major investing in light clean transit or buses of varied size and design. The costs are worth it. Design a jolly trolly system for downtown and perhaps the five hubs.

My vision is a light rapid transit connecting Vernon to Penticton.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

If I had to choose then clearly repurposing and utilizing what we have however I believe the answer is a combination of the two. Both create jobs.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I believe the public elects their council to make most of the key decisions - however sometimes there is a justification for referenda.

I firmly believe that Council has got too far removed from the public in day to day issues during the past 10 years. I would like to see more committees representing groups and organizations back talking to City Council. When I sat on the the Disability and Women's Committee (as a council liaison), I found it educational and inspiring. Those committees along with others should be returned. I also believe Council should have quarterly reports or meetings with other key groups such as Chamber, Tourism, the various neighbourhood associations, and perhaps organizations funded by the city such as the symphony, ballet, URBA,DKA,

Organizations should be able to apply or ask to meet with council on important issues, concerns or asks. Elected officials are supposed to be the eyes and ears and voice of the public. How can we do that properly if we are not listening? More public hearings are needed.

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Daniel Joseph

Biography

You've probably seen me running around serving Blizzards at Dairy Queen over the last ten years! Before that I was in commercial office furniture, where I spent almost a decade in a range of support, marketing, sales and management roles. My career in management and business development presided over $15 million worth of direct-sales, ranging from small-business to government and private enterprise. I've always been entrepreneurial, and apart from owning/operating small businesses, have been involved in creative and social projects for years.

I'm far from the smartest person in the room. Throughout my life I've had to overcome abject poverty and constant discrimination. What truly defines my character aren't my accomplishments, however, it's how I've learned to build respect and trust with the people in my life. In my bid to serve you, I may not be the most qualified candidate, but will work tirelessly to earn your trust and respect.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Our current transit infrastructure has been at capacity for over 10 years. Improved connectivity is necessary, whether it's increasing our bus fleet, routes and frequency; planning to twin the bridge and create an alternative bypass or transit corridor through Kelowna; or re-engineering the intersecting roads along Harvey (hwy 97) to free up congestion in the short-term. The city of Kelowna needs to not only work on improved connectivity, but alternative transit such as the UBCO hydrail project. This is existing, proven technology that could be implemented at relatively low cost in the Okanagan Valley with high ridership attractiveness.

This city council must involve the public, investigate all options, and take action immediately to implement a short-term and long-term strategy addressing the serious infrastructure deficit in our transportation capacity.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Both are equally important. The city of Kelowna does not have a mandate to determine whether developers build new construction or re-purpose existing inventory. Our priority should be smarter zoning. City council should adopt a comprehensive zoning strategy to address a number of issues the city faces in terms of development.

With respect to residential zoning, the city of Kelowna made a well-intentioned decision to increase inventory with rezoning efforts, and broad RU7 zoning was a great economic stimulus! However four-plexes that are effectively 1-2 units of additional housing each, drive up real estate prices and do little to help with the inventory crisis.

The solution requires a much more nuanced approach. Current RU7 zoning should be revisited and RM5/RM6 considered to foster the development of low to mid-rise, 4-6 storey, wood-frame housing complexes. All new developments should take into account liveability such as tree canopy, walkable neighbourhoods and access to alternative transportation.

Commercial and industrial zoning must be modernized to adapt to current trends and standards, such as larger, more effective distribution centres.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

We have the technology to bring residents with us throughout the entire decision-making process at city hall. I fully intend to engage everyday with residents and voters, sharing activities and concerns on every issue put before council. Whether through social media, e-mail, community networking or being an open-door councillor, I will make every effort to inform and engage residents.

I will also endeavour to shy away from blaming city staff on a lack of information. As a city councillor, our duty is to work with all the departments within city hall. It's our responsibility to properly inform ourselves before making decisions. Having worked for multi-billion dollar corporations, I'm fully prepared to proactively engage with all the appropriate departments, staff and department heads, to ensure I am fully informed on every major issue.

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James Kay

Biography

I am a Civil Engineer by training, worked five years at the City of Kelowna (2016-2021), am an entrepreneur, philanthropist, husband and father. I understand growing a business, making payroll, living within our means. I also understand development and home building, which Council spends an inordinate amount of time debating, as well as infrastructure, transportation, and capital planning. I love our great City, know there are some critical decisions upcoming this term, and want to bring the experience, expertise and insight needed to keep us moving in a progressive and fiscally responsible direction.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Kelowna is growing a diverse series of options: significant investment in transit, cycling, and trails. Alternative modes including the bike and scooter rentals. This is encouraging. However, our road network is falling behind. Many Kelowna residents will continue to drive, and we need to invest in order to keep up. Clement/Highway 33 corridor needs to be funded immediately. Frost Connection. Burtch Connection. South Perimeter Road. We cannot ignore roads assuming it will force us all onto a bus. Provide the right options and solutions, and we can add capacity and support our growing community.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Both options add value; however, as the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada, it is important that we are building new homes and commercial space. This comes from our Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw, as well as our Transportation Master Plan, Capital Plan and Development Cost Charge Bylaw. We need to incent growth in key area, support re-investment and repurposing of existing homes and storefronts, but create new options such as attainable rental incentives, DCC reductions, more efficient approvals (Development Review Committee), pre-zoned rural and urban housing options, utilization of City lands including land leases, Building Bylaws supporting cluster home parks. and advocacy for agricultural land development.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

The City needs to be exceptional at public engagement. Starting with our Official Community Plan, this is THE document of the residents. We are seeing amazing support for towers at rezoning as they were evaluated, planned and designated at the OCP. If heights, locations and purposes are set, residents already have control over these major issues. Where we falter is spending three years on a plan, but arbitrarily amending it for various applications. We need to involve residents on the OCP, and the Zoning Bylaw, debate the issues, set policy, then follow the plan. There are remarkably few situations that warrant variances, so get the residents engaged on major policy, and they won't need to be fighting the individual applications.

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Davis Kyle

Biography

Davis Kyle is a financial management professional with PSPC; his career has been centered on responsible spending for taxpayers and entrepreneurs. For everything from highway projects in the Yukon and remediation projects in Victoria, Davis has a track record of ensuring dollars are used prudently. Davis is an independent voice with the plan for making Kelowna more affordable, safe, and livable.

Kelowna has been home since 2003. Davis graduated from KSS, received a Bachelor of Commerce from UVic, and lives in the upper mission.

He attended every Tuesday public hearing since late 2021 and over 15 other meetings including the budget. He volunteers every Saturday for the Central Okanagan Food-Bank, is a Director with the Kelowna-Area-Cycling-Coalition, sings with the Okanagan Festival Singers, and plays soccer at the CNC. In addition, he has been involved with Kelowna Actors' Studio, the Theatre Kelowna Society, the BC Interior Jazz Festival, and more. He's met with current and former councilors to learn about the job, and is ready to hit the ground running.

Contact him @ KyleforKelowna@gmail.com / Kyleforkelowna.com

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

We need a focus on:

- Intersection improvements, turning lanes, curb cuts shifted to side-streets, roundabouts, and other "Strongtowns" measures to improve the speed, safety, and efficiency of inter-neighborhood arterial roads.

- Traffic calming in residential neighborhoods for safe & quiet streets

- Localizing transit operations so that Kelowna can invest in Bus-Rapid-Transit measures to improve the speed, reliability, and frequency of our system.

- "Park-and-Ride" free bus service during events like Canada Day to fix parking shortages, along with a bike valet for secure storage.

- Increasing parking allocated to carshare programs & handicap stalls.

- Completing quick-build protected multimodal infrastructure on arterial roads by 2026

- Tripling the amount of sidewalks added per year, particularly to connect neighborhoods to schools

Mixed-Use zoning and complete communities are critical for reducing traffic. We need to focus on stopping suburban sprawl & building family-oriented "missing middle" housing to prevent continuous suburban traffic growth. This allows our half-billion-dollar infrastructure deficit to be fixed over time. I also support transit-oriented development and zoning plans for future LRT corridors.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Kelowna has a .6% rental vacancy rate, an extreme shortage of industrial land, and a competitive market for commercial space. A housing crisis is caused by supply and demand. Businesses are losing workers to lower-cost communities. Focusing on modern urban design principles will allow Kelowna to become more affordable while avoiding sprawl, congestion, and a lower quality of life.

Intensification of currently-developed lots is necessary. I support ending exclusionary zoning to allow house-plexes, townhomes and low-rise perimeter-block apartments, the "missing middle" of housing, to meet our needs without sprawl. We must focus on family-sized units. We must focus on increasing private and public greenspace for kids and families. We can cut costs through zoning reform, levelling the playing field on DCCs, and strict permitting service standards. Building more new homes and commercial spaces is necessary to support people, create jobs, and fuel sustainable economic growth.

Kelowna must also change regulations to encourage non-profit development while working with BC Housing to reduce homelessness in our community. We also need to reduce short-term rentals while building hotels.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I support a ward voting system for city council, with a preference for STV wards and a ranked ballot for mayor. Residents deserve accurate, responsive, an engaged representatives who include local communities of interest at the council table. I have experience with this, having submitted redistribution proposals both provincially and federally to ensure Kelowna has a strong voice in Victoria and Ottawa.

I commit to holding public town halls as a city councilor to maintain a connection with engaged residents.

I support up to four professional advisory committees of credentialed experts: Economic Growth, Housing, Climate, and Transportation.

I support extending the lead time on councilors receiving meeting packages.

I support a greater reliance on statistically significant surveys and professional advisory committees, as opposed to the overreliance on public hearings, as a way for residents to have meaningful feedback. Having been to every public hearing since November, It is clear that public feedback at hearings under the current system is both ineffective and inefficient for the purposes of consultation; we need to design a better system.

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Amarjit Singh Lalli

Biography

My name is Amarjit Singh Lalli and I have lived in Kelowna for 47 years. My wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary this year and we have two children. I have a Diploma in Business Administration from Okanagan College and have business interests in fast food, transportation and agriculture. Over the course of my life I have been on multiple boards and hold educational tours for school district 23 students learning about world religions.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Our transit system is underutilized. To correct this I would integrate the transit system and the bikeshare program. Using a App to make existing routes more accessible to those that are not close to a bus stop. We need to create permanent taxi stands in the downtown core to stop the mayhem that occurs on a busy weekend. There is no communication between city hall and the service providers. YLW needs to have a non-stop connection to Europe. We also need a second route on this side of the lake to connect to the cities south of us.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

We need to keep building because we are so short of supply. Businesses will not be able to secure staff for entry level positions because of the affordability crisis. We need to take inventory and purpose build projects to fill the void.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

We need to develop an App that allows instant feed on concerns, suggestions or wants. When projects come to council all the feedback is addressed before a decision is made. I would be in favour of holding town hall meetings.

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Gord Lovegrove

Biography

I’m a long time Kelowna resident and father of four, who has had the privilege to be:

- A founding member of, and Associate Professor in, the UBCO School of Engineering where - I’ve been honored and very proud to have taught many Kelowna sons and daughters since 2005 in planning and design of sustainable communities, housing, transportation, safety, economics, railway, and systems engineering.

- All my details are on my websites, and my Facebook pages:

UBCO (engineering.ok.ubc.ca/about/contact/gordon-lovegrove), and

My campaign website (lovegrovekelowna.ca), with downloadable 14 page platform.

FB: Gord Lovegrove

Twitter: @lovegrovekelowna

-Professional engineer with 40 years of experience across BC cities large and small, urban and rural.

- Since 2020, serve on the Board of the Kelowna Gospel Mission (KGM), who’s mission is to feed and shelter people experiencing homelessness, and, if they so choose, help them on a healing journey back to wholeness.

- 1st-ever Dept Science Advisor to Deputy Ministers for Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada, on climate action, sustainable development, housing, homelessness, transport, rail, and resilience.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Nearly 10,000 residents/businesses since May told me: Kelowna needs more transport options; the Hwy 97 parking lot needs help, quality options to improve its road, transit and cycling networks - a hydrail tram-train!

You endorsed my Okanagan Valley Electric Regional Passenger Rail (OVER PR), which has a BCR of over 5:1 using the Provincial Highways business case template. Under my leadership, we have developed Canada’s 1st hydrail passenger rail vehicle, and are working with Southern Rail of BC to develop BC’s first hydrail freight locomotive. Hydrail relies on hydrogen fuel cells to charge batteries that power electric motors to move the rail vehicle, and eliminates all emissions except for water vapor. Hydrail power trains allow for much lower capex and operating costs of electric rail, and when combined with tram-trains (they have been running in low-density German valleys (Karlruhe model) since the 1980’s), we have the ability to run on any BC highways grade in a very cost effective manner, all at less than half the cost of widening highways. More: lovegrovekelowna.ca.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Why must we force a choice either way? Let the market decide within the City’s approved OCP, TMP, and Growth Boundary. I am running for Council to advocate SMARTer Growth in support of UN SDGs, and as proposals and recommendations come before us, I will judge each on its merits through this framework. These approved plans included extensive public inputs over months of stakeholder consultations, we must respect the process.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Residents are well involved on many issues, but more could help. Given my sustainable development expertise, I advised the Province on its Development Approvals Review Task Force, to expedite housing supply. DART outcomes include improved connections to and information sharing with the public on the status on major developments, regarding how Council makes its decisions on major issues, timely access to information for all.

On major issues, I would push to have the Mayor appoint short-term, rapid-action Council Task Forces. For example, the City could partner with its citizens and businesses on something similar to the Okanagan Partnership Process of 2008, wherein we saw the Okanagan Water Board created. A Council Task Force comprised of Councilors, the Chamber of Commerce, Neighborhood Association Presidents, First Nations, UBCO experts, staff experts, and chaired by the Mayor. A task force on our major issues of transport and climate change is most appropriate, and I have been advising our Provincial and Federal governments on climate action and transportation measures to meet our national Net Zero 2050 targets. More: lovegrovekelowna.ca.

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Tom Macauley

Biography

Born in Saskatchewan and raised in Los Angeles County, Tom’s background and perspective is unique. From a young age Tom has been involved in local politics and activism. He has sought to bring about positive and creative change wherever he is. Since 2010 he has called Kelowna home. He served as President of the Students’ Union at UBCO and has served as a Board Member of the Kelowna Women’s’ Shelter for 2 years.

Tom is married to his beautiful wife Hannah, and they have a 2-year-old son named Jack. For the past several years Tom has worked as a business development manager where he has worked to create new revenue streams for businesses.

How do you feel about transportation options currently in our City?

This is a huge issue. Right now, we don't even have all of our busses on the road because Kelowna Regional Transit has a driver shortage. Drivers are prepared to go on strike and have already started job action. I believe we need a full review of our relationship with First Transit (BC Transit). If they can't provide us with the service that people depend on, then we need to consider other options (Such as a city-owned and operated bus service).

We need to start the advocacy process for large scale projects such as a hybrid rail system and a second crossing over the lake. It is not a question of "if" we need these things, it’s a matter of when. These projects may take years to organize to even appropriate the funding -- so we need to get on the same page and start on the advocacy and planning stages. Major transportation adjustments and infrastructure are needed to not only make life easier, but for the safety and wellbeing of our community.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts? 

Both are majorly important. Most importantly -- we need to ensure that the development process is not creating too much of an additional burden on builders and developers -- especially smaller business contractors. An example of this is temporary housing for seasonal foreign workers on ALR land. When a farmer needs to bring in more workers, they need to build more accommodations for them. If we slow that process down by creating roadblocks and additional costs - we aren't just impacting that particular farmer, it could mean higher price of produce in general. A local farmer told me that he had lost 50 tons of cherries because he simply wasn't able to provide accommodation for more seasonal workers. We need to ensure that the process makes it easier to build in Kelowna, not harder.

We also need to examine open spaces such as parking lots. Costco is a great example of this: when the City of Kelowna approved the new Costco location, there should have been at least a consideration of first-level or underground parking.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

My campaign is about reforming how City Council operates. The biggest issue at City Hall is we have 1 Mayor and 8 part-time Councillors who are responsible for all the solutions for every issue in our city. It's not only illogical, its dangerous the bigger our city gets. We need to establish advisory committees and task forces that include experts, members of the public, and City Councillors. For the same reason why large companies and organizations usually have outside perspectives on their board of directors -- different perspectives are incredibly important for creating reasonable and relevant policy. Read more about my proposed City Council reforms : https://tinyurl.com/4sa75mb3

Beyond the much-needed reforms to City Council, we need to consider making City Council a full-time position. This would make the position more accessible for single parents and family providers who cannot reasonably consider running for council. Right now, you must be independently wealthy and/or retired to consider the job. That represents a very small portion of our community. We need a diversity of voices at the table.

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Elaine McMurray

Biography

City of Kelowna Citizen of the Year 2020

Background

• BORN AND RAISED CALGARY, ALBERTA

• Lived in Thompson, Man; Toronto, Providence, Rhode Island; Fall River, Mass.; Tarija, Bolivia, Kelowna

• Live each day as a challenge, challenges include walking the second half of the traditional Camino in Spain: 322 kms is 2017

Careers:

• chemist, mother, nurse, social worker, nun, advocate,

Current: retired from active employment, volunteer about 40 hours per week

• Society of St. Vincent de Paul, member of multiple committees including Safe, Secure and Affordable Housing for all: a Human Right; Guaranteed basic Income project, Indigenous Sharing Circle. Developing new housing at Ozanam House, a mens’ recovery program

• Invincible Housing: Special Project fully donor funded to provide rent supplements once per year per family to PREVENT homelessness

• LECoH (Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness) a foundational pillar of the Journey Home Strategy, founding member, secretary, member of multiple sub committees,

• Kelowna Raging Grannies: sing and speak for justice

Passion: to live in a community that values all its members.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

We need to improve public transit, bike and walking options, car share, car pooling, as with limited options to improve roads and without the ability as a city to build another bridge we have to become creative and innovative.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Both need to be considered. The challenge is the long time frame to either build or rebuild. I am suggesting we consider options such as modular buildings, office sharing, densifying current lots such as back lane development,

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

We need to have more opportunities for people to be consulted, using technology can be a great benefit as often between work and home commitments adding time to commute makes it a challenge. And we need to publicize opportunities.

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D. Ben Norman

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Brian Rogers

My name is Brian Rogers and I plan to run in the upcoming Kelowna City Council on October 15/22. I have lived in Kelowna for 50 years and am married with two children. I worked for Western Star Trucks for 25 years, then became a Journeyman Electrician after that company was sold.

I have done all my schooling in Kelowna and worked blue-collar jobs my whole life. 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?
Adequate but could use some improvements.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?
Better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?
To have open forums where residents are not required to have there concerns pre screened.

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Zach Sawatzky

Biography

I have spent my entire career (over 17 years) on the revenue generating side of business, sales and business development. If I didn't generate results, I didn't eat. It taught me the importance of achieving bottom line results. I am 41 years old and my wife and I are a part of the working and middle class here in Kelowna. We moved to beautiful Kelowna some years ago (9 years for my wife and 6 years for myself). We got married downtown Kelowna at the Laurel Packinghouse in 2018 and started our family a few years later with our daughter, Amelie, who is 19 months old. We love riding our ebikes around town as a family and enjoying the beautiful Kelowna views. I am currently a full time stay at home dad while my wife is a real life hero as a registered nurse at Kelowna General Hospital.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

I will be transparent, I do not use public transportation to get around town other than the odd cab ride and biking lanes which both work great for me. It is my understanding that there are different areas of Kelowna that are not as supported by public transportation as they possibly could be. I can understand the very real need to ensure ALL our residents are able to get around our city well enough to be able to make a living and enjoy life so our economy can remain robust. I will be in favour of using whatever resources are available to support public transportation progression. Please let me know directly of any ideas/initiatives you think the city.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

I would imagine building new homes and commercial space is the more important goal. The repurposing/better utilizing is surly of importance and should be included in our efforts to revitalise and bolster Kelowna real estate markets, as whole. Ensuring Kelowna remains an attractive market to invest in and develop in is of the utmost importance for the financial health and longevity of our community. If the city can't provide that type of environment it could mean continued supply strains in regards to affordable housing for our working and middle class.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I can't tell you how important it is for each and every resident of Kelowna to truly CARE about the major issues facing our community today and also our Country. Major global macro and geo political changes are taking place that will forever change the way our world operate. I has and WILL prove challenging at times for communities, including Kelowna. I'm a big advocate that productive collaboration is key to success. In other words, it takes a community! Bottom line growth and change happens at a grassroots level. That means we need involvement from residents and I would love to hear from as many voters as possible with their ideas/initiatives on any issue. We can't read your minds, it is the responsibility of each resident to reach out and ensure they get as involved as they want to be in major decision-making issues. In the end, not everyone can be 100% satisfied with all outcomes but as long as we endeavour to use good reasoning and sense making, amicable resolves are possible.

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Dan Schlosser

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Anthony Shepard

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Mohini Singh

Biography

I immigrated to Canada in 1983 from New Delhi, India with my mother and sister. After working for a few years in retail (Value Village, Surrey) and at the IWA Credit Union (New Westminster), my passion led me to journalism. After finishing the program at BCIT, my journey brought me to Kelowna where I started a fantastic career that spanned over 20 years as a journalist with CHBC Television and CBC Radio.

I was always an avid volunteer in our community. After retiring from journalism in 2009, I continued my volunteer endeavors. I remained highly active and involved with numerous community organizations and our major academic institutions. In November 2011, I was elected as a city councillor becoming the first ever Indo-Canadian woman elected in Kelowna. In all my personal, professional, and volunteer endeavor's, I have worked hard for social justice, community capacity building, and a genuine commitment to improving the quality of life for all citizens in the community. I have spoken at events to build bridges between communities helped organizations that need support.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

With a growing city transportation needs are also increasing. Which is why densification will lead to more better routes for public transit. Urban planning and design is what will improve transit ridership and in turn that will limit the number of cars on the road which will be better for the environment. Currently I believe transportation options like car-share and public transit has come a long way but certainly there is more we can do.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Frankly I believe all of the mentioned issues are important. Building new homes is not the only answer. But carefully building homes with infill possibilities will give people more opportunities to have homes and a place to live. Building homes with commercial opportunities will give people a chance to live, shop and possibly work close by. That also adds to densification, which will help design public transit routes and will reduce the traffic congestion. By repurposing existing homes and store front it could have a positive environmental impact. As the upgrade then improves the heating cooling of the house and other aspects such as it gives the home owner the opportunity build a secondary suite to act as a mortgage helper. It helps both the home owner and the rental market.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I have always been open and inclusive when it comes to reaching out to citizens to contribute their opinions' and feedback for any decision big or small. I have used social media and responded to meeting requests from resident associations or individual residents. Going forward I should make myself available on a monthly basis to meet at a coffee shop to meet people face to face to hear their concerns. As not everyone engages on social media.

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Luke Stack

Biography

For 33 years Luke worked in the non-profit housing sector retiring in 2022. Luke and his wife Anne’s motivation to assist single parents in need of affordable housing was the catalyst for the inception the Society of Hope.

•             Luke was first elected to Kelowna City Council in 2008, re-elected in 2011; re-elected in2014, and re-elected in 2018.

•             He has served as a Hospital Trustee, a Church Elder, and a Commissioner on the City of Kelowna Advisory Planning Commission.

•             Luke has been a Director of the DKA; Kasugai Sister City Association, and Director of the Central Okanagan Regional District.

•             Founding Director of the BC Non-profit Housing Association.

Luke has a strong interest in downtown redevelopment, promoting attainable housing and creating a healthy, safe, inclusive community.

Luke was born in Calgary, Alberta. After Luke completed his BComm degree, he settled, by lifestyle choice, in the Kelowna area. Luke and Anne have three adult children Joel, Laura, and Heather and four very nice grandchildren. Luke took up Pickleball in 2017 has been enjoying this fast-growing sport.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Generally, I think Kelowna's transportation options are good. Council has focused on expanding muti-purpose pathways these last 10 years (including the Rail trail) and greatly improved this network. Roads will continue to be a challenge. More roads induce more traffic demand. It is a viscous circle. Kelowna needs to refocus efforts on effective growth in the inner core of the City and town centers. This will also provide an opportunity to improve transit options and reduce pressure on our environment.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

They are equally important. First, we must make effective use of existing commercial and industrial resources. Many industrial areas are underutilized and need updating and renovating. Secondly, our core neighborhoods are also being redeveloped through new zoning options to increase density and use our limited land resources more effectively. Redevelopment also reduces pressure on civic infrastructure and roads. Less driving means less GHG emissions. Finally, the OCP 2040 provides space for new growth within the Permanent Growth Boundary. This will provide opportunities for people to move to Kelowna to make it their home.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

The City has an effective method for communicating with the public. There is extensive use of on-line communication opportunities regarding rezoning and development permits. Information is readily available and accessible to the public. Policy 367 requires developers to reach out the community early. This provides additional time for community members to provide input to the development process. Finally, there are Public Hearings for those that want to present to City Council. It is my belief that citizens have more public interaction with City Hall than they have ever had.

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Peter Truch

Biography

With 20 years of developing his skills as a professional transportation engineer on projects at a local, national, and international level, Peter has extensive experience in reliable planning, community building, and sustainable engineering that puts people first.

Peter serves as a trusted advisor of many government agencies and businesses. He has been elected to lead an international organization in his profession, worked within government as an employee, and now runs his own consulting practice working with numerous Canadian municipalities, several privately-owned businesses and non-profit entities.

Peter loves learning new languages. He is fluent in English, French, and German, and has begun learning the Syilx language as a way to honour living on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx First Nation.

A proud, single father, Peter finds the motivation to run for City Councillor in his two young boys, working hard to provide them the brightest future he can. A future that stops looking back to the old guard and instead moves forward to a collaborative, people-focused government for Kelowna.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

While developing very slowly, options are sorely lacking in most areas of our city. Universal accessibility is very low.

Unfortunately, approved plans by this Council will take us in the wrong direction - Expensive and ineffective. We will continue to develop tall and sprawl, rather than the in between within context of existing neighbourhoods. The City currently had more than 1/4 billion dollars (which with inflation now is likely more likely 1/3) allotted for construction of new roads that simply lead back to a different point of congestion. We need to wisely address and improve the safety of our existing road network, while greatly expanding options that are not car centric, so that everyone can get around safely, efficiently, and without added delay.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Interesting question, I don’t think this is an either/or answer. I think it’s both.

I believe that most of our efforts should go into better utilisation and retrofits of existing buildings, particularly for residences, with a large caveat.

Tearing down an old, single family home on a large lot, in the right strategic area, and building new where more families can live, and interact in the neighbourhood is better. Furthermore, the City needs to build new, greatly enhancing individual neighbourhoods with commercial uses, services, recreation and cultural opportunities, park space and gathering points, to help reduce travel around the city, and to better support existing residents in our established neighbourhoods.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Engage and support community associations to strengthen public engagement and communication of their constituents within individual areas within our community. Repeat at the Council level for all Kelowna residents.

I support implementing a ward-based system (two councillors per area) to increase direct representation of all parts of the community.

As part of my campaign, win or lose, I have begun organising Resident Action Groups (https://petertruch.ca/resident-action-group/)

This is in direct response to the intentional disengagement of the community when Council eliminated most advisory groups a decade ago.

Finally simple stuff like ensuring that information is presented to Council, objectively, before offering a recommendation. Eliminate the policy that City Council members are prohibited from directly speaking with City staff members (currently all information must be conveyed through one man – the City Manager). Ensure a third reading does not occur on the same night as a public hearing. Provide more time for file reviews by Council and for public engagement and discourse.

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Rick Webber

Biography

I was born in Winnipeg. With my father being a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I lived on various air force bases across Canada as a child. I graduated from high school and began my career in broadcasting in 1976 in Summerside, PEI. After attending the University of PEI, I moved to BC, and continued working in the media. I began attending city council meetings in 1978 as a radio reporter on the coast. After working at radio and tv stations in various BC markets, I moved to Kelowna and joined CHBC/Global Okanagan in 1990. I retired in 2019 after 43 years in the media.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

I feel our transportation options are limited. Bus service is not practical for many residents in various neighborhoods; and for some reason the province has resisted approving Uber in our region. The vast majority of the population rely on their cars. Some improvements have been made for cyclists and pedestrians. But most Kelowna residents will not be riding their bikes to work, to a restaurant, or to a theatre in January. While development continues of a more reliable transit system, I believe it’s time the city spends more of its construction budget on improving major thoroughfares and intersections to help drivers get around.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

This does not seem to me to be an either/or question. A combination of both approaches could be the most effective.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Councillors have a duty to try to determine residents' thoughts on the issues of the day, and the city does have a variety of programs in place to gain public input ahead of major initiatives. However, we have seen some issues in which stakeholders say they have not received adequate notice to respond. It may be time for the city to review its public consultation process.

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Noel Wentworth

Biography

Born and raised in Kelowna, Noel has been a teacher, businesses owner and strong community supporter helping raise over $270,000 to help our community.

Noel also represents Arts and Culture for the Central Okanagan on the COEDC.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Public transit feels lagging behind for a city our size. If more people are encouraged to take the bus, there should be more frequent stops so people can be where they need to be on time.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

We are in a housing crisis and need more new housing. But repurposing homes by adding suites or building homes on unused property space is an excellent option too.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Email or survey would work but nothing beats one on one communication. A community block party would be great way to invite and connect with residents.

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Chris Williams

Biography

Born in Saskatchewan, Chris’ father was member of the RCMP and his mother an educator. Chris is the recipient of the Saskatchewan Junior Citizen of the Year Award (1989) and the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Scholarship (1991). After high school Chris attended the University of Saskatchewan for a brief period before moving to Surrey, British Columbia where he studied criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Chris joined the RCMP in 1995 and and retired in 2019. Over his career acquired subject matter expertise as a police K9 handler and in the areas of first nations policing, drug enforcement, surveillance, covert operations, and prolific offender targeting. Serving Canada at local, provincial, national and international levels for over two decades exposed Chris to working with a variety of stakeholders including police boards, community consultative groups, first nations band, NGO’s, public and private partners and governmental agencies from other nations. Chris has an adult son in university, a step son in grade 6 and is currently engaged to his lovely fiancee, Brandi. He has resided in Kelowna since 2012.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Transportation is key component of a city's' livability. A healthy city must provide access to reliable modes/routes of transportation in order to facilitate work and play. Our transportation corridors need to flow effectively. While the addition of bike and scooters lanes and rentals has helped in certain areas, they are not an option for everyone, everywhere. As density increases so must options for affordable and expedient transportation. Having lived in Glenmore, Kettle Valley, the Upper Mission and Downtown and worked 24 hour shifts, I know the challenges of navigating though the streets of Kelowna at all hours. Practicality and environmental stewardship require leadership to ensure that sustainable and environmentally responsible transit options exist. I have serious concerns with our main corridors where growth has outpaced transportation infrastructure and support. A second bridge is unrealistic in the short term and I support expansions of our current network of roadways, transit routes and pathways to keep up with demand. A Clement/Highway33 extension seems to be one viable option to alleviating some of our current congestion issues.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

It is easy to see why our beautiful city continues to grow and why it is so attractive to live and own here. Despite our growth we continue to experience the shortage and continued loss of affordable single family housing. It isn't getting any easier for the average Joe (or Jane) to be able to afford to live here. We also continue to see commercial property vacancies. I support the examination of current occupancy statistics including the number of occupied/vacant properties, the number of vacation properties/rentals/Airbnb's, and the number of properties owned by non Kelowna residents. The current affordable housing shortage might benefit from both affordable developments and better/repurposed use of existing inventory. Any initiative to increase affordable housing should be supported by city hall through incentives and the removal of bureaucratic red tape from the permitting, renovating and building processes if and when possible. It is important that city hall encourages smart and sustainable growth while protecting affordable housing options so that Kelowna does not become a city of 'haves' and 'have-nots'.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

The opinions of residents must be considered in city decision making for major issues. It should be apparent that over-reliance on Victoria and Ottawa to sole our problems has proven ineffective. We have amazing talent in this valley that includes men and women with the knowledge, skills, abilities and most importantly, the passion to address our local problems with actionable solutions. I am a huge proponent of local community consultation whenever possible to address local problems. I support the formation of committees and/or task forces comprised of relevant stakeholders that would address urgent and emergent community issues. Empowerment of these stakeholder committees to work in partnership with city officials under clear mandates and timelines is key. It is important that the opinions of all stakeholders are heard and considered in final and binding decisions. While partnerships with the province and federal government are important and necessary, we would be well served to take more local ownership of our community's problems as that will yield quicker and more effective solutions and results.

 

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Loyal Wooldridge

Biography

Loyal Wooldridge is a Kelowna City Councillor and Chairperson of the Regional District Central Okanagan that has lived in the Okanagan since 1993. He is grounded in the power of community, giving back and creating equity for underrepresented voices.

Growing up in an RCMP household and working as a small business owner (Loyal founded his first business at 21), has given him a balanced perspective on the difficulties our community faces. In the past 4 years Kelowna has stepped up to address broken support systems that have been neglected for decades. Loyal believes we can achieve fiscal excellence with a social conscience - so everyone can win.

Loyal is engaged in numerous boards this term, giving an up-close experience to important local services.  On the library board, Loyal has been Chair of the Policy Committee working to build Equity Diversity & Inclusion policies and work toward Truth & Reconciliation.

Loyal believes in making informed decisions that considers the community as a whole to ensure no one is left behind. Find out more about Loyal at LoyalKelowna.com

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Transportation networks in Kelowna are strained. People are frustrated and congestion has gotten worse.

Addressing transportation challenges is multi-faceted in approach. That means, multiple actions and improvements are needed as a 'release valve' to the strained road networks.

1. Land use directly impacts transportation. The city is constrained by mountains, the lake and ~50% of the city is within the Agricultural Land Reserve. What's most important is that people can access their daily essential needs within 15 minutes (in terms of walking, cycling, etc.) to reduce the daily reliance on long commute times.

2. Road infrastructure should be optimized where possible, upgraded where essential and key road connections analyzed as 'relief valves' to compounding congestion areas

3. Active transportation corridors should be prioritized in terms of complete community connection.

4. Bus rapid transit routes are essential to encourage mode shift. People are more likely to adopt a new mode if it is reliable, safe and efficient to complete daily tasks. Transit investment requires a higher level of ridership to qualify network expansion to BC Transit.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Simply, both are equally important for different reasons. Adapting to market demands means we have to be diverse and nimble in our approach so, it's not one or the other. As the fastest growing community in Canada both in residential relocation and commercial investment we must grow responsibly through data driven analytics.

1. Existing homes and commercial buildings offer an opportunity to adapt and refurbish quickly. Existing structures can be adapted to be mixed in use converting what was once a sprawling box store, into say small boutiques with residential rental or workforce housing on top.

2. New inventory is always needed. Kelowna is in a housing crisis and building all housing, smartly, is a good thing. This means all inventory from purpose built rental, missing middle, subsidized housing for the working poor to single unit houses. Industrial is also a key investment with the relocation of many businesses from the lower mainland where land values are even higher than the Okanagan. Industrial will play a key role in the evolution of YLW International Airport.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Personally, I have remained connected to community throughout my time on Council. The informal meetings, phone calls and e-mails glean a view of community seen outside of Council Chambers. That said, developments are becoming more complex, the climate emergency is real and we need to evolve the degree of dialogue with community members.

I believe one of the key directions is early considerations of large scale decisions prior to a Public Hearing and decision. This way, the public and Council can have a dialogue to make projects even better.

This is important because the city is growing rapidly and every delay to applications incurs higher costs ultimately passed on to the consumer. We can't afford to delay essential housing investments especially those that comply with OCP and zoning bylaws.

In addition, specific time based 'Community Task Force' models could be introduced and tasked with larger, broad approach issues that are emerging in the community. I passionately believe this is essential for a Climate Change Task Force to identify key actions to tackle this crucial priority.

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City of West Kelowna

Mayor Candidates

Andrew Kwaczynski

Biography

Born in 1949 and educated at College/University in Poland. Emigrate to Canada in 1985. Attending Kwantlen College in Vancouver. Work in the

Real Estate business, For many years, had owned a construction company. Then later carriers switch to finance and insurance. Owned and worked as an investment broker.

Married for 50 years ( this year is the anniversary). and have two children.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

West Kelowna has a very big transportation problem, but the two biggest points of traffic congestions are: the bridge and areas around centre of West Kelowna close to Safe On Foods and bus terminal. There, the main highway is splitting in two ways (like a fork) making an island in the middle. That island is a useless space. With no human traffic the very few businesses can barely survive. That whole are is in argent need of redevelop.

And of course the bridge. In may view the main problem with the bridge is too many traffic lights on Kelowna side. In a distance of a few hundred meter there are 3 traffic lights which costing the all trouble and delays. Some of the traffic lights has to be remove and that will help tremendously to move traffic faster.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Both things are very imported and tightly connected. You can't separate them for doing only one of it. West Kelowna needs many more new home, but better utilizing existing homes could very much help especially when that could save some money. We need new comers to West Kelowna and without new and available homes it will be very hard to convince people to live in West Kelowna.

But we're also need a business which a vital part of any community and important tax revenue for the city. So we are have to help business to stay at West Kelowna and help them in any possible way.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I'll adopt a Swiss system of referendums. In Switzerland importer decision is voted by the public in form of a referendum. By doing so the public has very important and decisive voting power over local councils or other forms of government. This is the best example of a working democracy. We're should learn from the best.

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Gord Milson

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Councillor Candidates

Anthony Bastiaanssen

Biography

Anthony grew up in Kelowna in the late 1970's and early 1980's. After spending 9 years living in Winnipeg where he met his wife Debbie, they moved back to BC, spending a year in the Lower Mainland before moving back to the Okanagan.

Anthony's father emigrated from the Netherlands in the late 1950's. Starting out working on a farm in Manitoba, he soon moved West to work and start a family. Anthony's mother was born in Willowbunch, a small Métis community in Southern Saskatchewan. His parents met in Calgary where they started their family before deciding to move to the Okanagan to raise their kids around 1970.

For the past 25 years Anthony and his family have called West Kelowna home. Living, working, and raising 3 kids here has made him appreciate the value of community. Choosing to run for City Council is a surprise to no one that knows Anthony. Anthony passionately believes in the importance of contributing time and effort to people and organizations that work to make the world a better place.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

The recent addition of ride sharing has helped move us into the 21st century. We need to support more viable options for everyone to help improve traffic movement throughout the city and across the bridge. Transit options should be regularly reviewed to make sure they are meeting the needs of the community. Long term planning should include all options including investigating the viability of a light rail system.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Repurposing should always be encouraged as an option for development. First and foremost we need to support the development of enough homes and commercial space to support the needs of the growth of the City.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I believe the City does a good job of soliciting input from the citizens on most important issues. From Community Visioning surveys to public hearings on major issues/developments, citizens are actively encouraged to provide input on issues that affect our City.

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Tasha Da Silva

Biography

The City of West Kelowna is a wonderfully diverse community, and I believe that equal representation on City Council is of utmost importance. I have connected with many residents of our community and believe that my leadership qualities, vision and business acumen bring a unique perspective to the table. I am a strong advocate of collaborating with our business community to create new opportunities for growth. I believe that every West Kelowna resident should have access to affordable and attainable housing. I will be an advocate with all levels of government to ensure that all our residents feel safe and have confidence in our public safety initiatives. I believe that we have an obligation to protect and preserve our natural resources, while always pursuing balance when assessing the residential and commercial needs of a growing community; including clean water and climate action plans. I will work hard to achieve smart growth and environmental sustainability, pursuing balance for our current and future residents.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

A second bridge crossing is years away. In the interim, West Kelowna council should focus on initiatives which reduce the need for residents to cross the Bennett bridge. We can address known areas of congestion by building interchanges at both the Boucherie-Horizon and Westlake-Hudson intersections and continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to address the Westbank couplet. Additional focus should be on connecting neighbourhood centres with reliable transit, bike routes and ride share options.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

West Kelowna requires a diverse supply of housing which enables households to better determine the type of housing they want and can afford. If we concentrate on multi mixed use developments within the two identified Urban Centres (Westbank & Boucherie), and infill of the five established smaller neighbourhood centres (Goats Peak, Gellatly, SmithCreek/Shannon Lake, Rose Valley, Lakeview Heights) including secondary suites, carriage homes and small commercial villages offering services and amenities, we can then put focused attention on connecting these communities with multiple transit options.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

West Kelowna is at the precipice of change, with the important task of laying the groundwork for both current, and future residents of our community. Current council has been working diligently towards completing the Official Community Plan, which is a reflection of our residents vision for the city’s future. There is much work to be done; in order to support our residents in their endeavours, make sure they have affordable and attainable housing, create and maintain community spaces for future generations and revitalise our plan for economic growth.

I believe that it is imperative to make sure that the right people have a seat at the table in the next term, in order to continue that momentum, solidify the plan for our future and see these initiatives through.

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Sylvia Dawn

Biography

My husband and I have lived in Glenrosa for 24 years.

I am retired from Quails Gate Estate Winery. Unlike most candidates I am able to devote more time to the position of councilor, if I am chosen to do so.

The issues I am most concerned with include our current hydro situation, plus the lack of affordable housing and senior care facilities.

There are many other concerns of course, but these 3 issues deserve due diligence.

Thank you in advance if you should decide to vote for me.

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Rusty Ensign

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Jason Friesen

Biography

I am both humbled and very appreciative of the opportunity that I was given to serve our community as a City Councillor these past 4 years.

The ability to use my experience in accounting, construction, business development, business consulting and strategic planning for the betterment of our great community is both exciting and rewarding.

Having a family that is growing and hoping that they can create successful futures within our community is so very important to me. On a grander scale, this is important to many within our community and critical to the growth and success of West Kelowna. My goal is to ensure that we are strategic and passionate in our planning to ensure that we can provide a community where everyone can thrive.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Transportation options within our city do need to be improved. We are currently in a tough scenario where people will not look to public transit as current service levels and a service that does not reach deep enough into our neighbourhoods make it inconvenient and unreliable. We are now faced with a chicken and egg scenario where we cannot increase service levels as it will cost the taxpayer much more, but, we will also not get the needed ridership and fare revenue if we don't provide a consistent, convenient and reliable service that will make it a more desirable form of transportation. We also need to increase the active transportation network that will make it easier and safer to commute throughout the city.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

West Kelowna really needs to focus on providing a greater variety of housing types: below market and market pricing for both purchase and rental as well as a larger variety of rental options that will accommodate growing and larger families. With a vision to revitalize the downtown core and town centre, new mixed used developments with increased density will be critical in providing more housing and employment opportunities within proximity of goods and services.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

We have been very intentional and successful in both asking for and receiving public input in much of our planning over the last 4 years. The community input was critical in developing and creating a Vision for the City. Similarly, we have engaged the public in the subsequent planning and development of our new Official Community Plan and Master Transportation Plans. We have also asked the residents for their input on certain infrastructure projects such as the renovation and return to of the Mount Boucherie Community Centre from a City Hall facility back to a dedicated community centre.

This communication and involvement of our residents will continue to be imperative as we finalize these plans as well as future ones.

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Tom Groat

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Stephen Johnston

Biography

Growing up in West Kelowna, Stephen has always had an active interest in community. As a child he attended Rose Valley Elementary and graduated from Mount Boucherie Secondary. He’s married to his best friend and high school sweetheart Leah, and they have two amazing children who are now both attending the high school where they first met.

Stephen is currently serving West Kelowna as a Councillor as well as working alongside Mayor Milsom as a Director at the Regional District of the Central Okanagan. Stephen understands the value of hard work both inside and outside of an office. As a Journeyman Carpenter, he holds experience as an Owner/Operator and Project Manager, and has worked with Kelowna Ready Mix for the past six years managing residential sales and service.

When not working or spending time with the family, Stephen enjoys playing baseball in the Kelowna Mens Baseball League, mountain biking (hats off to the WK Trail Crew!), playing drums, camping, watching tiny house shows, designing house plans, and taking in all the incredible nature around us.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

West Kelowna is a very young City, that inherited a lot of rural infrastructure when we incorporated. That said, we've also made considerable progress over the past 15 years. Moving forward, we must continue to lobby the province for intersection improvements on HWY 97 to ensure that we can move throughout our community as effectively as possible. While interchanges at Boucherie and Westlake Road were previously proposed by the Province, the projects were unfortunately never started. It’s essential that we appeal to the Province to bring these major improvements back to West Kelowna. Locally we continue to invest in roads that more safely and efficiently connect our neighbourhoods, which allows our residents to travel more efficiently once they exit the HWY. We also need to focus on creating neighbourhood centres, like Lakeview Village in Lakeview Heights, to bring shops and services closer to our residents. As for Transit need to figure out how to improve service, timing and access, so that our ridership can grow. If it's not efficient people won't use it.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Both. We are in short supply of new commercial space and need to begin building a diversity of housing types that appeal to a wide variety of budgets. By revitalizing our downtown and expanding our commercial opportunities we can also begin to diversify our tax base which currently sits at over 86% in the residential class. There is a significant need for supportive, low-income, and seniors housing, as well as, market and non-market rentals. As a council we can improve density and up-zone parcels in key areas like Westbank Centre, to give developers & investors the template to meet the demand for affordable housing. We can require mixed-use developments in our town centre, which provide opportunities to live, work, and play in proximity. In our existing and older neighbourhoods we should look for opportunities to explore sensitive infill development, or create a zone for small lots to target the entry-level single family market. We need to get creative to find solutions for attainability, and affordability in our city.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I believe public input is the most important part of local government. Major issues always need public engagement, consultation, and then public hearings to ensure the communities voice is heard. Im an active member of my community and try to be present wherever, and whenever I can. I want residents to get to know me and feel like they can approach me at local events, the Farmers Market, a baseball tournament, or even a Warriors game. Many people are concerned that the Provincial Bill 26, which does away with many public hearings, is going to push residents out of the picture. I can assure you that I'm committed to hearing from our residents regardless and requiring public notification despite what Bill 26 says. Always happy to have residents reach out; you can reach me during the campaign at sjwestk@gmail.com

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John S Martin

Biography

Born in Prince George, I always knew I'd return to Beautiful British Columbia. I have a Bachelor of Administration degree with a major in Management and Accounting. I spent 31 years and retired as Captain with the Toronto Fire Service and have been dedicated to public service and safety. I have a keen interest and desire to know what's happening in and about the city and ever since living in West Kelowna, I have attended almost every city council meeting. I have lead my community in FireSmart initiatives and obtained FireSmart status in 2021. I have also pioneered a Fire Warden System in Casa Loma to alert our neighborhood immediately of any emergency situation so that residents are kept safe and informed of the situation. With my background and experience, I believe I have a lot to offer and give as a councilor for West Kelowna. I am an active individual who enjoys cycling, skiing, snowshoeing and kayaking with my wife and our dog, Kudo.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

What we are doing now isn't working well. The city has to provide other more attractive, convenient and effective options. While canvassing the various neighborhoods of West Kelowna, many of the residents I have talked to state the same thing. Bus schedules and pick up locations are not convenient.

Traveling by bicycle or e-bike has not only safety concerns, with the lack of bike lanes, but security concerns for bikes, even when left outside and locked properly. People would use an efficient transportation alternative and make use of e-bikes, especially with all the buzz and concern about traffic congestion, carbon imprint and emissions. We can learn from other city models that have been successful with transportation systems and begin to apply these ideas to reduce traffic congestion, carbon imprint and emissions. Reducing these concerns is a step towards a resolution.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

A good balance of residential upgrades with suites and carriage homes and smaller higher density home construction will give our youth and young families a starting point towards obtaining ownership of a single-family home.

Some of our commercial space and buildings are in a state of deterioration but are positioned in prime locations. Renovating and sprucing up the area and commercial spaces with new, updated looks, effective space usage, and energy efficient systems would attract more business and provide cost savings in the long run.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

It is city council's job to involve residents in the decision-making process. The implementation of Bill 26 by the province is another element hindering that involvement. Public notification, public letters and public hearings allow the public to have input and voice their thoughts for decisions made by council. Who better to ask than the residents affected by a decision being made. Members of council do not know in depth all the neighborhoods and areas of the city- from daily commuting to faulty street lighting to potholes!- Decisions made must reflect concern and affect for the present and future of citizens living in the area.

Community Associations and organizations provide a vital resource to information about the community. There are also untapped professionals scattered within each community who can be consulted and the information then used to make better decisions. Council members are just like you and me, limited in our knowledge and capabilities. "We're in this together!"

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Garrett Millsap

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Garrett Millsap

Biography

I have seen many changes since being born at Kelowna General Hospital in 1984 and graduating from UBC Okanagan in 2008 with a business degree majoring in marketing and communications. I have worked for Fortune 500 companies and started multiple successful entrepreneurial endeavors including most recently my eat local food initiative Rad Relish Co.

In addition to raising a young family I am also actively involved with the Kelowna Métis association where I have been on the Board of Directors since 2017. I am a very determined, thoughtful and energetic individual who will bring organizational skills and a common sense approach to West Kelowna city council.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Transportation in our city is lacking, our infrastructure has not kept up to the pace of our population growth. This has been the case for many years now and is nothing new. I would like to see lights removed on the Kelowna side of the bridge as it is not needed with the now closure of Bernard Avenue in the summer months. I would also like to see West Kelowna engage heavily with the province so our residents could see overpasses at Boucherie, Hudson and Westlake Roads. This would provide safer access to all of the amenities in our city without residents having to use Hwy 97. We also need to see BC transit improve their service as currently it takes 45 minutes to take a bus from West Kelowna to Queensway Bus Loop. Other outside the box initiatives that need to be looked at are E-Bike Park and Ride and rapid transit, but this may take years to complete.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Both! We need more homes so people can have a place to affordably live. We also need more commercial space in West Kelowna to broaden our tax base. With more commercial spaces comes more jobs for our residents and with more jobs in West Kelowna we become less dependent on driving across the bridge twice a day.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I plan to involve residents in West Kelowna by using a commonsense approach. This means creating task forces of community members to bring best in class ideas to council and the city so we can help develop plans to make our city better. I have spoken with lots of residents over the months and we need to utilize all of the expertise we have in our city. Our taxpayers are truly our best asset. I will allow the voices that matter the most (our residents) to shape the way we deal with our most complex issues.

- Public Safety

- Affordability

- Clean Drinking Water

- Roads & Infrastructure

- Sustainable Development

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Jasmine Jane Naaykens

Biography

I have been a resident of West Kelowna my entire life. I have a degree in Human Service Work and I spent my career supporting Individuals with DiversAbilities. I learned how to get involved in my community and advocate for the people who need to be heard. I am a family woman with strong values in building relationships with the residents in West Kelowna. My husband and I now run a small business together. My interest in running for city council comes from my desire to represent a diverse demographic.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

I feel that our city lacks future infrastructure planning for the expected growth of our city regarding transit. Although the city continues to work on bus routes, traffic planning, road improvements & bike lanes, there seems to be a short fall of planning for a larger population or diverse methods i.e., urban rail transit, highway traffic reduction or bypass methods.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

To accomplish either of these items properly we need to do so at the same time. We cannot build new homes and commercial spaces that we require without repurposing land, infrastructure, and currently available spaces. If we build our urban sprawl out, we end up with the same outdated infrastructure leading to those places, lets grow with purpose not solve problems as an afterthought.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Connecting with the public is one of my main platform goals. I am choosing to run my campaign specifically online to identify that our community has the ability to achieve year-round communication, collect information, form opinions and return transparent information, without the need to attend a specific meeting.

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Bryden Winsby

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Carol Zanon

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Rick de Jong

(Information not provided by candidate)

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District of Lake Country

Mayor Candidates

Blair Ireland

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Councillor Candidates

Tricia Brett

Biography

Tricia Brett holds a Master’s Degree in Earth & Environmental Science, and has over 17 years of experience working in local and provincial governments. Tricia has successfully taken on the challenge of protecting community drinking water and agriculture water supplies for years in her work with local water utilities. Tricia has been actively involved with the District of Lake Country as a volunteer on the  Water Services Advisory Committee for 8 years and on the much-needed needed Liquid Waste Management Plan consultation. Ms. Brett has also served on the Okanagan Basin Board Water Stewardship Council, the Okanagan BC Institute of Agrologists, and the Okanagan College Water Engineering Technology Advisory Committee.

 

Ms. Brett wishes to bring all of this experience to Lake Country Council, “I believe a councillor should be accountable to their voters and also work together with fellow Council members to achieve measurable success. We are rapidly growing and I want to make sure all residents are heard at council.”

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Transportation options within Lake Country are not acceptable. Young people are actively moving away from transit as a result of unreliable service and this was before the recent strikes. More transit within areas of Okanagan Centre specifically would help with many of the parking issues and help with the aging population reach grocery stores and services. Without transit our roads are seeing clear impacts and traffic is only increasing and is unsustainable.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Building in the core downtown area in critical. The original vision of entry level businesses and accommodation above would fulfill the need of the community. It would also create a town center feel. This would use existing infrastructure and improve the livability of the community. Sustainability is defined by environment, social, and the economy. Focus on main street development is important.

 

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Through use of all types of media and avenues available (social media, print, radio ads, and mailouts), town halls within key wards and centres. Open houses for the development community to hear their concerns. Surveys for community members with incentives for supplying answers. Lake Country's community engagement is critical to learning and defining how we are going to grow as a community.

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Riley Hastings

Biography

I have been a resident of Lake Country for 13 years. I currently reside in the Okanagan Centre area with my partner, step-daughter and dog. I like to spend my free time camping, fishing in our beautiful lakes and enjoying the trails in and around our community.

I am originally from Squamish, BC and I was born into the construction industry. I am currently the owner/operator of a local excavation company. I bring with me 16 years of leadership in the industry and over the years I have thrived in problem solving. I have overseen many projects from start to finish including road construction, planning and maintenance. I have also built two of my own homes within our community.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Our transportation options are not up to date with the growth we are seeing in Lake Country. People who don't have access to public transit are not able to safely walk or bike to where they have to go due to lake of proper sidewalks and bike lanes. the current state of our roads even puts motorists at risk. I am going to focus in on reducing traffic congestion, widening narrow unsafe roads, and upgrading current deteriorating roads.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

All of the above are important for our community. Currently we are seeing a very low vacancy rate for housing and because of this we are seeing higher priced rent and purchases.

Commercial space is critical for local jobs and funds for infrastructure upgrades.

We need to promote local business and reach out to other business that we do not have in Lake Country to fill the empty store fronts. We need to work with the business and help them succeed.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I believe the tax payers of our community should always be able to have a voice and be heard when it comes to municipal decision-making. We should be able to see a clear picture of what our hard earned funds are being spent on. I have a few software programs up my sleeve that I would love to roll out for our community to see where our money is being spent and also be able to vote on what it is being spent on.

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Heather Irvine

Heather Irvine

Biography

I come from a hard working ranch/ farm where most deals were done on a handshake - where honesty and loyalty is the forefront of everyday living. It’s these same qualities that I continue to live by. I currently spend about 20 hours or 35 miles a week picking litter in Lake Country, giving back to our beautiful community. This has also given me the opportunity to meet so many community members and I consistently hear that many residents are very unhappy with the current council. Infrastructure seems to be #1 concern- definitely not keeping up with our growing population, lack of sidewalks where kids walking on busy streets , competing with semis just to get to school, builders and home Reno’s take way too long because they can’t get permits in a timely matter. Don’t forget our shameful lack of appropriate garbage/ recycle receptacles with debris ending up in our waterways.

Change is what we need. New faces with new ideas that will LEAD Lake Country into a promising future- future for our kids.

 

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

We need appropriate roadways today, not in a promise that tomorrow there will be better roads.

When we have improved roadways, and an increased population; that would be an opportune time to revisit Lake Country’s transportation needs.

 

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

In Lake Country, we definitely require new industrial and commercial builds in our immediate future. Moving forward efficiently, council must make the permit approval process streamlined instead of the current impossible wait. It shouldn’t be unrealistic, unreasonable and exorbitant to do business in Lake Country.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

Council needs to have a bigger profile on social media, invite residents to not only attend regular council meetings but also council needs to host live in chamber council meetings. More time should be allotted for phone- in queries as well. Also print media should also be used for those residents that don’t use social media.

Open forums are also a great idea for major issues, including having a ballot box where residents can express their opinions, anonymously.

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Jerremy Kozub

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Michael Lewis

Biography

Michael Lewis grew up in Lake Country in the 80s and 90s. After University, he lived in several towns and cities across Canada. After the birth of their son in 2014, Michael and his wife decided to return to the Okanagan to put down roots and raise their family in Lake Country. For the past five years, Michael has been working in land development and housing projects in Lake Country and has witnessed first-hand why Lake Country has such a bad reputation in the business community and particularly the housing industry. As Lake Country finds itself in a housing crisis of lack of supply and skyrocketing prices, he believes that we need new, energized people on council who are prepared to make bold systematic changes to address the problems, old and new, facing our community.

How do you feel about the transportation options currently in our City?

Lake Country is a relatively small population spread over a large area. We are also a bedroom community to Kelowna and Vernon. This means we naturally rely heavily on personal vehicles to get around. Would I like better bus service to my house? Of course! Do I realistically think it is financially feasible? No, not yet. The only way I see this changing is through higher density development in existing neighbourhoods. For public transit to work, you need a critical mass of people using it. That means well designed compact neighbourhoods.

What’s more important for our City right now: Building new homes and commercial space or repurposing/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

I think they are both equally important for different reasons. We currently have a housing shortage and lack of diverse housing options. This typically means higher prices where younger people or families have a harder time getting in to the housing market. Fewer families means lower enrolment in our schools and ultimately losing the teachers we worked so hard to get (which is happening, by the way). It also means shortage of labor for retail and restaurant jobs, which we are seeing across the board through reduced hours of operations at many of our local businesses. We need more housing options and we needed them yesterday.

As for better utilizing existing homes, I don't know that we can address housing needs in this way but there is an environmental impact to older, less efficient homes. We can look at the various incentives other regions have used to get older homes up to today's efficiency standards. There is a lot of work being done on that front and a lot we can learn.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process for major issues?

I think it is clear that we have a communication gap between council, staff, and the community. The District has implemented some positive steps in recent years like the "Let's Talk" web platform and more Facebook and email information sharing. I think we can do more and push for more community involvement. I have personally reached out to council members and District staff on issues that I was concerned with, with mixed results. I think the public should be armed with the facts. Put it all out there in terms of costs, budgets, and options. We have to remember we are all in this together. A council is just there to represent their constituents.

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Todd McKenzie

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Bib Patel

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Cara Reed

(Information not provided by candidate)

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Bill Scarrow

(Information not provided by candidate)

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