Chamber of Commerce Q&A

Questions Yes or No – All Candidates

Do you support the procurement of funding for the Ross Street Underpass?
Yes. It’s been decades in the planning and it represents our best chance to secure an unfettered, safe and much needed access to and from a vital part of our community. I have spoken to paramedics, cyclists, moms with strollers, seniors in walking distance of the downtown. It’s key to building an inclusive and active living link. It will improve our downtown. Our job as Council is to increase access. Transport Canada’s job is to limit the danger of level crossings. Either way, we pay. Let’s do this and move on to other projects. 

Cultural Planning, at its base level, is a process for identifying and leveraging a community’s cultural resources and integrating those resources across all facets of local planning and decision making. Do you support the creation and implementation of a Cultural Master Plan for Salmon Arm?

Yes. I chaired the task force and the volunteers members were thoughtful and decisive in their expertise and informed view that unless and until we address our capacity as a city to sustain our arts and culture sector, we cannot make an informed decision on what happens next. Council is in support and the plan will move forward. I am proud of my opportunity to have facilitated that process.

Do you support the development of a Performing Arts Centre?

Yes, with a caveat. Without presuming the outcome of the Cultural Master Plan, I will say that I will only support this if it’s been identified as a clear and sustainable need based on the cultural master plan.  There is no question that we want one. The real question is can we afford one and what, as a community, are we prepared to invest to get one and sustain one. The Cultural Master Plan will help us assess this so we can make an objective decision.

As we witness throughout our province, natural and man-made disasters can be devastating, in particular to smaller communities and cities. We could experience forest fires, large scale flooding, water contamination (due to rail or transport spillage), landslides, etc. Do you support the creation of a Salmon Arm emergency preparedness and disaster recovery program?

Yup, already in place. This is mandated to regional districts and the City of Salmon Arm supports it through annual funding. Thanks to our amazing team of staff and volunteers who administer it.

Questions    

What are your 2 primary goals during your 4 year term? How will you achieve this?

One big thing and one small thing.

Big thing – Build affordable housing units with the support of BC Housing.

Small thing – Solar lights at the skate park to make sure that our youth who use it, typically are on the fringe, know that we support their athleticism, their dedication to their sport and their respect for their community and sacred gathering space. I am thankful for all those who made that skatepark happen. And while we often dismiss the skater culture, we do so at our peril. Those kids are individualist who deserve to know that we respect and appreciate their potential. Ironically, this might be more difficult to achieve that the big thing.

What do you see as the greatest economic challenges facing Salmon Arm? How will you address them?

Housing, housing, housing. It’s the whole spectrum we need to look at and I am confident that without providing the aspirational option of home ownership, we will not see our potential realized. As co-chair of the Housing Taskforce, I am so proud of the work of our volunteer members who have stepped up and committed to finding a Salmon Arm solution while advocating for our fair share of provincial resources. I was inspired and grateful for the response of the province when we met with them at UBCM and told them of our approach. Their response, which motivates me to keep working, is that they were clear that without us, they can’t move forward. Politics is about finding the right pillars of power to move issues forward. We’ve found that. And we need to keep moving, sooner, rather than later.

What specific measures will you take to help local business thrive?

Part of this is recognition. I want you to know that I have lived in four provinces and seven cities. I am, if nothing else, extremely curious. I am, at my core, an explorer. I moved here for love but I stayed here because I realized that there are things that happen here that simply couldn’t happen anywhere else and I wanted to be a part of that.

We have a mature and successful tech cluster in Salmon Arm in constant search of talent. How do we get talent? Is it just about a paycheque? No. It’s about a lifestyle, it’s about inclusion. It’s about belonging. It’s about added value.

We have seen significant growth in the last 18 months. We need to recognize this. And continue to work towards recognizing our responsibilities to our newcomers that they see what we see. And we will meet and exceed their expectations of us just as you recognized my expectations of you.

I will say this, my colleagues envy my spot in life. While I might not have the income they have, I have a lifestyle to which they aspire. All in all, good trade off.  I will never go back to Vancouver. And my Vancouver friends would do anything to be here. Enough said.

If elected, what transportation issues will be your priority?

30,000 foot view. We focus on symptoms and not causes. I’m not sure why we do that. We need a rigourous and measurable active transportation plan. As long as we focus on the car, we forget the power of common and active transportation. And prior to any criticism, can I ask you, have you ever taken the bus? It’s cheaper. It’s faster and it’s better. I have.

How will you move forward to increase housing density and affordable housing stock?

Simply put, not a single R8 (coach house, rental suite in a home) has been rejected in the last four years. This council understands that we do not have a space problem (we are second only to Vancouver in land mass), we have a use of space problem. As for multi family, I am personally grateful to our developers who have stepped up and capitalized a four fold increase in multi-family developments in the last year. It needs to be said, that without the commitment of developers to increase density, the situation will not change. They are stepping up and I am proud to live in a community where private interests know that there is a higher purpose. Thank you.

What measures will you take to preserve heritage in our city – the buildings, historical sites and stories to pass down to the next generation(s)?

We have several city committees. The only committee to have its own strategic plan and budget is our Heritage Commission. They have expert power. Our Council respects that. And we let them take the lead. I am the Chair of that Commission and I can honestly tell you that not a meeting goes by that they do not amaze with with their passion and commitment to the cause. We are in good hands. And I am humbled by their service.

In your opinion, what is the greatest strength of Salmon Arm? How do you plan to put this strength to use as the City develops its growth plans?

We are BC’s most liveable city, in my view. I am grateful for the work of the Community branding team. Research, facts and a way forward. Small city, yes! Big ideas, you bet. Game on!

What will you do to support labour attraction and retention in Salmon Arm?

See above. A made in Salmon Arm solution.

What is your vision and overall plan for the Industrial Park? What will you do to achieve that vision?

So this has been on my mind. I think we like to make assumptions about what businesses need. And that isn’t the right approach. I do believe that perfection is the enemy or progress. And I have spent time, as a business owner, speaking to these owners. I caution you. They work hard and should not be the subject of speculation. Trust me, if they want something, we hear about it and we respond.

What plans do you have to combat the growing homeless population in Salmon Arm?

Housing. When first elected, I asked to be chair of the Social Impact Advisory Committee (trust me, not the easiest job) and learned about the root cause of what people see and experience. We face some serious housing insecurity issues. But, while I don’t have the answer, nobody does, btw, I do know this. Our social impact advisory committee members are subject experts and are totally invested in the solutions we seek so I’ll use this forum to say that if you are of the point of view that blame is the game, know that a rejection of their efforts is disrespectful and totally pointless. They are our heroes. And they need our support. I have their back.

What is your plan to deal with the increase in street solicitation (panhandling) that is taking place within the downtown and outer areas?

Housing. And, a demand (not a request) of the province for a community outreach worker.

What is your plan to deal with increased usage, and dwindling supply, of parking in the downtown core and waterfront?

Symptom, not cause. I believe in a people focussed community, not a car focussed community. End of.

 

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