Dawn Tucker




Question 1When development is guided by an Official Community Plan that features smart growth principles, it results in lower taxes for residents, less gridlock, cleaner air and lower GHG emissions, more green space, more housing options and preserved farmlands. Following smart growth principles results in new, high-density housing being built in the downtown and specified neighbourhood cores, enabling more sustainable and cost-effective transportation options. How will you advocate for smart growth principles in the upcoming OCP planning process?
Dawn Tucker
  • Why are we approving townhomes and apartment buildings in areas where there is no nearby public transit stop, or approving new development in old neighbourhoods that impact existing roads without making available sewer to those existing homes or requiring the developer to improve old roads? Development cost charges (DCCs) ought to have been increased and not decreased, especially in the outlying areas where drainage, water, sewer, etc. are much more costly. I will advocate for smart growth, as I always have. I would also prefer to see development that pays for itself, instead of our City subsidizing development.

Question 2 - Vernon has created an ambitious new Climate Action Plan addressing both the reduction of GHG emissions and preparing the community for climate impacts, but unless Council backs it up with immediate, effective action, the goals of the plan won't be achieved. If elected, what aspects of this plan do you feel are most important and urgent, and how can you help to ensure that they are implemented as soon as possible?
  • Our ambitious new Climate Action Plan requires implementation throughout all City processes, including development approvals. Our City is already in the process of hiring a Climate Action Coordinator, and we have started implementing flood construction standards for new development and changing our bylaws and policies to require a Flood Hazard Development Permit. More work continues to strengthen our City’s flood resilience. 

  • Beyond flooding, we need to also focus on water, and specifically, on potential opportunities to improve the use of our recycled water, and the treatment of wastewater and stormwater. Stormwater is currently the number one factor impacting our lake water quality. City genetic testing shows septic pollution in every ditch in Okanagan Landing, confirming the need to connect sewer to these older neighbourhoods. Providing information to residents about these existing and on-going environmental impacts will make it easier to get the necessary buy-in. Our recycled water costs our City millions to produce each year and is sold to hilltop resorts at a rate that does not reflect the actual cost to produce this high quality water. This water could be used to irrigate food crops if only our Province would allow it, although we already import produce and wines made with recycled water from places such as California. I intend to lobby the Province to change these regulations so that high-volume users such as Frind Winery and other agricultural producers can use our high quality recycled water on grapes and other food crops.  This will save our community millions of dollars and eliminates the need to build a costly new pump-station on Okanagan Lake to serve irrigation demand.

Question 3 - What do you believe are the main risks to Vernon - its citizens, its infrastructure, its economy - from climate change impacts? What specific actions do you think the municipality should take to adapt to these risks and build a resilient community?
  • Increasing our resilience to flooding was identified as a top priority for our City and this work is already underway. Impacts to air quality can be also quite dramatic as we have witnessed with fires these past few years, and this is an area where there remains much work to be done as we share our air-shed with many other jurisdictions, and we are often affected by smoke that originates from outside our region or city. Without an Air Quality initiative at the regional district level here in the North Okanagan, it is much more difficult for us to work together on a valley-wide Air Quality coalition with the other regional districts (RDCO, RDOS) with whom we share this valley.  So I would like to see this gap addressed at the City and regional level. For water, we must continue to work together with our valley neighbours as part of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, and with the RDNO on the safe provision of water via Greater Vernon Water.  

  • Heat resilience is another concern for which the City has done some planning, and perhaps more could be done to strengthen requirements for new development, requiring air conditioning to keep temperatures lower but also, air purifiers to remove smoke and other particles?  

  • Planting trees also helps improve the air and reduce heat islands. I look forward to hearing from the development community about building innovations that help lower emissions while addressing the expected impacts from climate change such as hotter days, stronger winds, torrential rains, intenser storms, etc.  

  • Stormwater management is also becoming increasingly important, and there may be opportunities to generate electricity from stormwater running through pipes that could be used to power a treatment facility to remove contaminants prior to allowing the stormwater to enter the lake.

Question 4 - The largest proportion of Okanagan municipal greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation (in particular, driving fossil-fuel powered vehicles), and the 2nd largest proportion comes from buildings. What do you see as the most effective ways of reducing the emissions in these two sectors?
  • For me personally, reducing the number of trips is still the most effective way to reduce my GHG emissions from transportation, and walk whenever I can. I also do my best to shop locally whenever possible and I limit my online shopping - it turns out, not surprisingly, that transportation due to online shopping deliveries is now a massive contributor to GHG emissions and we need to find better ways to deliver those goods without using so much gas. Electric transport is already here and hopefully will soon start making a difference. 

  • We have limited opportunities to improve the efficiency of existing buildings, but new buildings are already required to adhere to stricter standards.  We can encourage folks to invest in their older homes - Vernon is already participating in a pilot project to help folks finance improvements such as solar or geothermal.

  • Priority making communities walkable, bikeable and accessible year-round, and fully implementing the BC step code.



Question 1 - The RDNO has recently developed a North Okanagan Regional Housing Strategy. Which actions of this strategy would you prioritise, and how would you implement them?
  • When the Vernon Morning Star recently described me as “a community-conscious citizen who isn’t afraid to challenge local politicians or question policies”, they were not wrong!

  • I will encourage our neighbouring jurisdictions to step up and support the City of Vernon in leading the charge to make available more housing in the North Okanagan.  To find more land for affordable housing projects, I will demand an inventory of all City-owned lands, and I will also request that we update the inventory of properties owned by not-for-profit, service clubs, faith groups and government agencies (i.e. all other municipalities, RDNO, Provincial, Federal) in the North Okanagan as it was last conducted in 2011.

Question 2 - Across Canada, First Nations and municipalities are strengthening their regions by collaborating on service agreements, land use planning and economic development. What efforts have you made in the past, and what efforts will you make to build powerful new relationships based on mutual respect, understanding and a common vision for mutual prosperity with the Okanagan Indian Band?
  • Firstly, I would like to respectfully acknowledge that I live, work and play in the traditional territory of the Syilx people of the Okanagan Nation. Secondly, I will continue to build and maintain meaningful relationships with my Okanagan Indian Band friends, and I will look forward to building powerful new relationships based on mutual respect, understanding and a common vision for mutual prosperity with the OKIB in my role as City Councillor

Question 3 - In August of 2020 Council unanimously passed the following motion: “THAT the City of Vernon, including Council and Administration, firmly rejects racist acts of all types, and supports each individual who chooses to make Vernon home, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, creed or socioeconomic condition." The motion did not indicate what this support might look like, especially for minority groups. How would you rectify this? Specifically, would you follow the lead of other communities in the Okanagan and vote to adopt the anti racism policy already drafted by City lawyers? More broadly what types of programs, initiatives, and actions would you endorse or be a part of to ensure that Vernon is a welcoming place for all “regardless of race, gender, sexuality, creed or socioeconomic condition”?
  • This policy was not drafted by City lawyers, however a law firm made available a template to all B.C. municipalities, free of charge. I would strongly encourage the City to customize this template for our City’s use and adopt the Anti-Racism Policy as soon as possible. 

  • It is part of my nature to ensure that Vernon is welcoming place for all “regardless of race, gender, sexuality, creed or socioeconomic condition”. Most recently, I was part of the organizing committee for Vernon’s first Pride Week and I was honoured to be selected by my peers as the Grand Marshall for Vernon’s first Pride March in recognition of my longstanding work as an advocate in our community. 

  • I’m an educator so every day I am involved in our community and sharing information with others. I moderate a local Facebook forum that is the “go to” for keeping more than 20,000 Vernon and area residents informed. I started a local political discussion group that today counts more than 1,700 members. I’m also a co-admin for other groups such as Vernon Area Fire/Flood Watch, Vintage Vernon, and Mutrie Dog Park.

  • As a communicator, I will encourage the City to spend more time communicating with residents - perhaps this would require developing standards. The current communications manual does not include any standards for resident communications. Generally, I would like to see the City spend more time meaningfully responding to residents’ inquiries and concerns, and at the very least, acknowledging when residents send messages to the City via phone or email. Our City’s social media presence could be enhanced, and as my timely and relevant posts on our 20,000+ member-strong Community Forum shows, I am already well-positioned to assist the City with resident communications.



Question 1 - What opportunities do you believe the municipality has to grow our art, culture and heritage sector?
  • Similar to sports and recreation tourism, art, culture and heritage increasingly draw more folks to our area - while we already have much to celebrate with locals, we also have a lot to show visitors from out of town. The new Greater Vernon Cultural Centre will be the focal point for bringing us all together inside a building with amazing programming, installations, exhibits, performances and more.  But I would also love to see tie-ins with outdoor recreational amenities such as the Okanagan Rail Trail - if we are now the Trails Capital of BC, we can look forward to more visitors yet, and most of those visitors will also be keen on arts, culture and heritage. So I foresee many opportunities here, especially in working with our OKIB neighbours and the many talented indigenous artists and storytellers who make their home here. I would also like to find a solution that allows the Museum’s archives to exist in the same location as the Museum.

Question 2 - What do you think of the 2016 Greater Vernon Cultural Plan? What aspects would you prioritise and how would you implement them?
  • One of the challenges with this plan is the apparent lack of meaningful engagement with our local indigenous communities.  Perhaps 6 years ago this was not as obviously considered, but that sure seems vital, especially now!  In the Executive Summary, one of the goals stated is to “Increase communication and collaboration with Okanagan First Nations”.  I would argue that without communication and collaboration with Okanagan First Nations, we don’t actually have much of a Cultural Plan. Vernon also needs a public arts policy to go with this plan.

  • Another big-ticket item in terms of dollars is the on-going maintenance and/or potential replacement of our existing cultural/recreational facilities. According to the plan, most of these facilities are aging and require significant and regular maintenance.  How is and will all this be paid for? We worked together with our sub-regional neighbours (Coldstream and Electoral Area B&C) to build the Multiplex and the Performing Arts Centre and the extension for KalTire Place, and soon we will build the Greater Vernon Cultural Centre together. Presumably we are all on the hook for maintenance and repairs of these facilities as they age? With only Vernonites now facing a referendum on the long-term borrowing of $121 million for the Active Living Centre, some folks are starting to question our City’s tax burden. Is Greater Vernon a partnership? I will seek clarity for the taxpayers of Vernon about the exact nature of Vernon’s share. Some folks are also wondering why recreation planning isn’t considered part of our  “arts”, “cultural”, or “parks” planning, as all are vital to our quality of life. We need an integrated plan.

Question 3 - How do you personally engage with arts, culture and heritage in Greater Vernon?
  • As someone with an education and history degree, I absolutely love delving into local history or meeting with folks who know more than I do, about any topics, to challenge myself every day to learn more. I love supporting local arts, culture and heritage - I am a big fan of Local Losers, FurHouse, Gallery Vertigo, the Museum, and many more. I purchase local art and I engage with folks of all walks of life and backgrounds every day via social media and in-person.



Question 1 - Please provide examples of the ways you would support business retention and expansion in the City of Vernon.
  • I will encourage the City to make more efforts communicating our amazing lifestyle to future business owners, and as Councillor, I will continue to promote our City of Vernon as a wonderful place to work, live and play. I will encourage folks to shop local for goods and services, so that more folks stay employed and can continue living in this beautiful town while reducing our impacts on the environment. I will advocate for investing in our parks, in recreation, affordability and accessibility.

Question 2 - Over 40% of businesses in every sector are experiencing labour shortages. How should the City support businesses in meeting their workforce needs?
  • Ensuring our City is a wonderful, welcoming, tolerant and inclusive place to work, live and play will help attract more talented folks here, and encourage talented folks to stay here. Supporting our local educational providers is key to allowing folks to not only work in Vernon but also grow in Vernon.

Question 3How should the City support emerging and growing information technology, and manufacturing sectors including agriculture products processing?
  • Our City does not have many large farms within city boundaries so I am not sure how much agricultural products processing assistance may be required, but I do know that the City is restricted by the Local Government Act from directly providing assistance to business. Information technology is not something our City develops, but we certainly benefit from investments in local infrastructure that have been made by providers such as Telus, and I hope that means our City continues to upgrade as required. Conducting meetings virtually can continue to save our environment and tax dollars.

Question 4 - How should the City assist businesses in the medium term (3-5 years) to become more resilient?
  • Our City works together with businesses via associations such as the Downtown Vernon Association, and we must continue to consult with these groups and work to ensure our City bylaws and policies enhance business resiliency as much as legally possible.



Question 1 -What would you do to protect the health of members of our community who have been made vulnerable to the effects of climate change?
  • Our City recently invested in an alert system that I hope will be able to better communicate with residents during any emergency. Making folks aware of climate risks through regular City communications is key, as is offering resources, links and information on the City website.

  • Our City must work closely with Interior Health to ensure we are doing what we can to protect the health of community members who have been made vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as by providing municipal cooling stations and cooling centres during extreme heat events. 

Question 2 - What do you believe is the municipality's role in enabling and assisting ministries and non-profits as they address mental and physical health treatment issues and access, in populations affected by houselessness and the toxic drug supply? How might the municipality address the stigma that prevents people facing these challenges from seeking health services?
  • Our City must realize that THEM is US, and WE are THEM. We must treat each other as we would like to be treated ourselves.

  • This is a complex problem with no easy solutions that requires society to set aside stigma and prejudice. I will continue to promote love and acceptance.

    Question 3 - How will you ensure that our Parks & Recreation facilities and programs meet the diverse needs of our population?
    • Recreation is a massive draw in Vernon, so important to so many people in our community and also of course for tourism. Not planning for regional recreation facilities has not served us well. Some groups that were promised facilities 15 years ago are still waiting today.  Only now are we asking Vernon residents to vote on long-term borrowing for a new recreation facility that should have been built a decade ago. Programs are oversubscribed and filled up within minutes. 

    • Our City ’s parks and recreation should not be divorced from each other. I would also suggest, that parks and recreation are intertwined with our culture.  I suggest rethinking our plans and ultimately deciding whether Greater Vernon is indeed, one social and one economic unit.  If so, it’s time to start acting like it!