Kelowna candidate quiz: Let folks vote on the $160M Parkinson’s rebuild plan? | information
As part of our civic election coverage, The Daily Courier sent this questionnaire to all candidates for Kelowna city council. We stipulated a 60-word maximum to each question. Their responses, selected in random order, will continue up until Oct. 14
In your view, what’s the best decision and the worst decision made during the past four years by this council?
Gail Given: Best decision is the endorsement of the 2040 Official Community Plan and Transportation Master Plan, which were developed in tandem ensuring the interdependence of land use, transportation, environment, the economy, and equity are all taken into consideration as we grow into the future. I remain saddened that council missed an opportunity to secure 290 acres of parkland in the McKinley area.
For those currently on council: Which particular skill sets and areas of expertise would you like to see among council newcomers?
Given: A future councilor will benefit from the ability to be a critical thinker, pragmatic, thorough and well prepared. It is important to be open to receive new information as you make your decisions. The ability to read and digest large volumes of information will help any new member of council to adapt quickly.
At the municipal level, without political parties, it can be hard for voters to know something of a candidate’s overall political leanings and philosophy. Which federal and political parties do you support? If you won’t answer this question, why not?
Given: The reason I choose to participate in municipal government is the absence of political parties. I am able to vote independently, free from the constraints of party platforms. I am not currently supporting any federal or provincial party though I have in the past leaned on the conservative side. I tend to be fiscally centre-right and socially centre-left.
Seven of every 10 trips made by residents of Lake Country and West Kelowna are to Kelowna, where they put demands on municipal infrastructure, such as roads and parks, without paying any taxes for such services.
Far fewer Kelowna residents regularly drive to Lake Country or West Kelowna. Do you think the City of Kelowna should explore the idea of expanding its boundaries to take in Lake Country and West Kelowna, or attempt to get some tax revenue from residents of those communities?
Given: No, this is not feasible. Our Regional Transportation Master Plan will guide how regional routes are managed and implemented. Expanding boundaries is not supportable, affordable, or desirable.
What specifically do you think the City of Kelowna should do to try reduce the crime rate, the highest in Canada?
Given: Implementation of the Community Safety Plan is critical. Also required is persistent lobbying in the following areas: response of the provincial and federal governments to prolific offenders, additional advocacy for mental health and addictions services, advocacy for complex care facilities, and additional RCMP resources to reduce extreme case loads. Long-range there is a need to advocate for a mental health option on the 911 emergency system.
to incumbents; None of you advocated publicly for a referendum to be held in conjunction with this election on the city’s plan to borrow an estimated $160 million for a proposed rebuilding of the Parkinson rec centre. Why not?
Given: The Local Government Act recognizes the Alternate Approval process as a legitimate means of voters assent to borrowing. It ensures that costly referendums do not have to be run each time a municipality is considering a large capital project. We have strong fiscal policies that guide the city’s debt load, allowing us to balance service delivery with financial prudence.
Do you think the City of Kelowna should attempt to take over the independent water systems that serve Rutland and Glenmore, as it did with the Southeast Kelowna system, with a view to providing the same quality water throughout the city?
Given: No, this is not a priority. However, I do believe that we need to work together on interconnections and redundancy to ensure a resilient and reliable water network for all providers and Kelowna citizens.
What do you think was the pandemic’s greatest impact on Kelowna and how might the city have lessened it?
Given: Aside from the devastating impact on our tourism industry, the pandemic contributed to driving housing prices even higher as much of the workforce learned they can work remotely from anywhere. Many people chose the lifestyle of our beautiful area, increasing demand beyond available supply. We need to continue to approve housing supply to meet demand.
Should the city revisit its rule against most homeowners being able to rent out basement suites and carriage homes through online platforms like Airbnb?
Given: No. Short-term rentals continue to take inventory out of our very tight supply of long-term rentals. With such an extreme shortage of housing, long-term rentals must remain our priority. I regularly hear from people who are forced to move out of a 10-month rental, leaving them with nowhere to live during the summer.
What’s your best 60-word pitch for why voters should elect you to Kelowna city council?
Given: As an experienced councillor, I have demonstrated that I am thorough, consistent, and prepared in representing Kelowna citizens. Honesty and integrity are foundational and my decisions always consider the best interests of the community as a whole. As a lifelong learner who is both pragmatic and clear-minded, it is my hope that my common-sense approach has earned our citizens’ support.
Ever seen a ghost?
Given: While I have never seen a ghost, I did feel the presence of my late husband shortly after his passing.