Smart growth policies make sense from an economic and municipal growth point of view. However, they may not make sense from a lifestyle point of view. Folks often point out to me that they don’t move to Vernon from Vancouver or Calgary so they can live in a place like Vancouver or Calgary. They move here for our wide-open spaces, lakes, forests, and quite often views, and those are attributes not often found in a downtown apartment. We face a challenge luring people into an urban microcosm, not only because of the challenges above, but because of the associated challenges of a lack of big-city services like timely mass transportation, jobs, and entertainment.
How they are actioned determines my level of support. Environmental concerns don’t operate in a vacuum; they are mitigated and influenced by other factors, and in turn impact other realities.
Flooding and fire. Flooding is already being addressed by floodplain mapping with Lidar, and the results included in building plans.
Fire mitigation is being addressed through UBCM resolutions called for preventative forest mitigation (like preventative burning) I brought in 2019 and was passed by the collective of BC municipal politicians. We have been (and continue to) advocate to the province for this kind of mitigation.
Through technological evolution and not through coercive measures like taxation.
Affordable housing (defined by BC Housing as subsidized and supportive housing) is important, but actually helps only a small fraction of the qualifying population, while attainable housing helps many more. The plain fact is that we lack housing across the entire socio-economic spectrum, and BC Housing cannot even begin to fill this need without ruinous taxation and cut backs in other areas.
The real answer to the problem of housing MUST be dealt with by the private sector. That means no cost to the municipality, no cost to the taxpayers of BC, and no cost to the residents of Vernon. The major obstacle standing in the way of progress in home building is the permitting process at the municipal level. If elected mayor, I will make this a priority.
As City liaison to O’Keefe Ranch, we have sought and achieved a much closer relationship with OKIB. In fact, the Ranch hosted an exhibition of residential schools, and currently has an OKIB Band member seated as my counterpart on the board. I have and will continue to advocate for closer ties with the band, and will continue to advocate for bridge-building measures like Indigenous public art.
I made that motion, and of course it was passed unanimously. I will not advocate for an anti-racism policy as I think it is divisive, unnecessary, and counter-productive. I won’t reiterate my reasons in long detail, but here are some facts:
1 Any such policy would affect ONLY City of Vernon staff
2 When I asked administration, I was told that there had been no incidents of racist behaviour amongst staff.
3 When I asked administration what would happen if such an event took place, I was told it would fall under the Bullying policy and be dealt with in that manner.
Given that an anti-racism policy would be a solution that already exists to a problem that hasn’t happened, I believe the only outcome to such a policy would be a slap in the face to staff, by suggesting that they need coercion to not hate each other on the basis of race. I believe it needlessly highlights and exacerbates yet another division within our society, and does so for no good reason.
The Cultural Centre is certainly one, and if elected, I intend to work toward the immediate creation of a policy to govern public art, like murals.
(Answer was left blank)
One of the first things I will do is initiate a public art working group to develop a policy to govern public art. Public art should include significant public support, and the policy must, in my view, include public consultation.
If elected mayor, I intend to advocate for an “open for business” marketing plan across BC and western Canada (and further if advised convincingly of its value). That plan will be backed up by numerous measures, including but not limited to:
1 Building permit streamlining.
2 Property tax relaxation for choice businesses like high tech and suitable industrials;
3 Creation of industrial land base;
4 Adoption of suitable sports, recreation, and cultural amenities;
5 Regional discussions through the RDNO and GVAC over land use; and
6 Advocating to senior government for pro-market policies
The municipal government has limited jurisdiction over workforce related issues, but housing is certainly one such issue. I will continue to work toward streamlining building permits for both affordable and attainable housing, continue marketing Vernon as a more affordable and homier alternative to bigger cities like Kelowna, formulate enticements to family doctors, and continue working with police and Bylaw to reduce crime and enhance our reputation as a safe place to live.
Creating more industrial land, enhancing regional transportation, and adopting new technologies. I want to see Vernon break out of its wait-and-see stance and start leading the pack of BC municipalities.
Mostly by leaving then alone. Entrepreneurs are risk takers and go-getters. However, when permissions are required, I believe the role of Council should be to issue them, as long as the impacts are positive overall.
This question is too vague to answer.
The municipality is much closer to the issues than the provincial government, so I would suggest that the role of the City is to
Help the ministries understand what the problems are, and suggest holistic rather than hyper-focussed solutions.
Polson Park requires revitalization, and that will be one of my priorities. Parks should not only be clean and usable in all seasons, but should contain amenities to attract families and children. Outdoor skating, spray parks, ponds were applicable, and adequate policing to maintain the atmosphere.