Dear Kristal – thanks for the questions – my answers here.

Hi Kristal. Thank you for the questions. Can I just say, that, for me, the best thing about elections is elector engagement which you have shown by posting these questions on all candidates facebook pages and profiles.

Greatest accomplishment:
Striking two task forces with council support.
The Cultural Master Plan Taskforce to carefully and thoughtfully review our capacity, our needs and our ability as a community to ensure and secure a sustainable arts and culture sector including securing funding for provincially supported Business for the Arts.
The Housing Taskforce to convene, inform and engage all sectors related to housing including builders, bankers, social and economic development partners and the very positive response to this initiative from the province and specifically BC Housing.

Hardest decision:

The Mino’s property purchase. This was a significant values clash between heritage preservation and long term planning. I knew from the get go that the way forward was to allow the community a voice. So I convinced council and staff to host an open house of the property to make sure that all those who had an interest in the decision had an opportunity to engage in the debate. And while I know my vote disappointed many, I understood that my role was to focus on the long term benefit for the community to expand our recreation campus. When the new facility is built, I will advocate to have its heritage reflected in the design. Compromise is difficult but important.

Making the Mayor’s office stronger:

It’s important for me that you know that the Mayor is one of 7 votes. It’s called the weak mayor system. I have great respect for all our Mayors who have led our community through difficult times and the community has been wise in its selection over the years. What I didn’t know until I was elected was the importance of our relationship with the provincial and federal government. We have good relationships but as a growing city, we need to flex some more muscle. So it’s time to play hard ball and demand our fair share. I guess, I’ll turn the question back to you. Who has the best experience in getting the deals done? Because the province wants to know that too.
Receiving input and any need for changes:
From the beginning of this journey for me, I have welcomed feedback and done my best to be responsive. Some elected officials complain from time to time about being stopped at the grocery store about one issue or another. I welcome it. It’s an honour. And it’s my job. So make no apologies. That’s what we are here to do. So e-mail me at lwallacerichmond@salmonarm.ca or call me at 250 833 5554 and ask those who have. I always answer. 
Mediating conflict including social media and at council:
Conflict is good. It moves us forward. There is positive conflict and negative conflict. I am fascinated and inspired by good conflict. So often we are faced with situations that seem dire and detrimental. I always focus on cause, effect and long term outcome. And I’ll divulge that in my early days as a councillor I would tremble when an entire neighbourhood would show up to oppose a coach house or legal suite. Because, as an elected official I know that if they don’t get the answer they want, none of them would ever vote for me again. So I changed my tune. What if I make decisions based on the fact that I might never be re-elected again. It cleared my conscious. And I can honestly say, I have never voted feeling compromised. And i’m so grateful I learned that lesson early.

 

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