I have personally been an elected official over the past eight years, and in that time we have created smart growth through densification in the downtown core and East Hill areas of Vernon, as well as approving the recent 10 story building along Alexis Park Drive. We have recently lowered, yes lowered our DDC costs, unheard of in our province. When we sat as Mayor, it was that Council that approved a Climate Action Plan, which we have been working on for the past 6 years.
Every aspect of the plan is urgent and important. The world continues to experience extreme weather events and we all need to aggressively proceed with action.
With the recent floods and fires, we need to work with our Regional partners in preparation for these events, it is important to have great communication with all communities in the North Okanagan.
We need to create homes with solar power and buildings with net zero impact. I recently purchased a Hybrid and find myself driving less. rebates for home builders who build energy efficient homes is what the Provincial Gov't needs to look at.
The priority here for me is simply, we need all communities to participate, not just Vernon...Did you know Coldstream fails to recognize this strategy?
Well I was Mayor, with the help of the Federal Gov't, Vernon and OK Indian Band developed a relationship of meeting every few months, the program was CEDI, Community Economic Development Initiative, and now we meet once a month with OPK Indian Band, and I am the sole Vernon elected official still on this panel. We have collaborated on many projects over the past 5 years.
Vernon just recently held their first Pride Parade, you can have all the policies in place, but, there will always be individuals that stand against those that they do not like. Strength is not by policy, but by Indvidual's from different cultures and groups that stand together amidst the angry few who create these attacks.
We are growing art, the Cultural Center will bring together the Art and Museum groups and create a unique experience for all.
We need a Public Art Policy so we can avoid situations as the Katie Green Mask fiasco.
I have supported many Arts events over my time in Vernon, attending many events and supporting the fund raising efforts, from Mid Summer of the Eve, to Catanei House.
Many businesses need to look at themselves, what works and what does not. Over the past several months we have had many businesses open in Vernon, does this mean we are doing something right, or is the market big enough that people realize they will make money. Development continues to be off the charts, 2022 will be another record year for permit dollars, i think the City of Vernon is doing a great job at this time.
Labour shortages are different for every business, all depends on the skill required for that particular business. I personally opened two new businesses in Vernon this year and have 40 employees, no issue with retention yet.
The City can support through Council direction as the province highly regulates some businesses that are involved in the above products. The City has no control of regulating Agriculture processing, this is done through the Province.
Everyone always says why doesn't the City do more to help Businesses? The City collects taxes for infrastructure, parks, fire, police, water, garbage, excetra, the businesses need tp have solid business plans before they proceed into operations so they will survive, not rely on The City to make sure they do. We can allow projects to proceed in high traffic locations which may help businesses to be seen, but in terms of any monetary help, that is up to the businesses.
There are many non profit social groups in our community that can help. The Sicail Planning Council meets monthly with over 20 groups to discuss what they do for the less fortunate. The City pays the director, and this model was picked up by other communities in the Okanagan.
Our role should be kept to a minimum, we can provide access to land for BC Housing to build homes or clinics, but, again, we do not collect taxes from our residents for social services. It is not fair or right for the city to spend money for what the Federal and Provincial Gov'ts collect taxes for.
We continue to evolve here, over the past 8 years we have ,any programs that work with Indvidual's with diverse needs. we have increased our recreation immensely, A New Athletics Park, A Rail Trail, A Polson Greenway, a new Hockey Rink, a new Cultural Center, and hopefully a new Active Living Center.