Steeves: Environment not part of debate

The environment didn’t make it very high on anyone’s list of election topics this time around.

The environment didn’t make it very high on anyone’s list of election topics this time around, so if you’re as concerned as me, you’ll have to dig deep before you head to the ballot box tomorrow.

While I hate to advise you to search for negatives instead of positives, you may find you have to weed out some of those 40 councillor candidates in Kelowna and 13 in West Kelowna, based on what they’re saying that you don’t like and that doesn’t sound like it would be good for the environment, instead of the other way around.

That said, Kelowna’s controversial mayoralty contest seems pretty cut and dried to me, and I imagine it does to you as well. So, on to the councillor competitors.

Naturally, it’s much easier to make a decision on the incumbents because they have a track record of both actions and oratory over the past few years which has most likely drawn us to them or made us want to slap them.

I’m pretty happy with more than half the existing councillors on both councils, so it’s only a matter of replacing a few old bums in those cushioned council seats with some bright new faces.

Trouble is, many of them are untried and new, so we have to form our opinions based on how they showed up (or not) at all-candidates’ forums, or responded to questions posed in the paper, on radio or on websites.

The upside is that almost all the candidates have websites. The downside is that many of them are a collection of motherhood platitudes that are meaningless when applied to a specific issue or situation.

Leadership? Hello? Teamwork? Goes without saying!

Reduce unnecessary spending? Hello? Who decides what’s unnecessary?

Encourage economic development? Of course, but consider the times we’re in!

More and better jobs? Of course. Who is against that?

So, read through the websites, ask the candidates questions and look for specifics:

• like a commitment to protect the waterfront from commercial development and preserve any remaining natural waterfront areas in their natural form;

• a commitment to maintain and expand parkland because it’s something we’ll never have a chance to regain once it’s gone, and it can forever pick us out from the crowd as a community that’s desirable to live and do business in;

• like a determination to protect the quality of our water by taking innovative steps to treat runoff and deal with contaminants;

• like thinking outside the box to conserve water by re-conditioning developers, landscapers and residents to move away from water-hungry landscapes in this dry climate;

• like an interest in ensuring new developments are of a high quality we will be proud of in the future, and that adopt innovative methods of leaving a smaller environmental footprint, so that there will be a future.

Admittedly, it’s going to be a tough job to vote this year, with many new names on the ballot, but what these elected politicians make decisions on every day they’re in office, are the things that most affect our daily lives.

It’s important that at least some of the voices elected to sit around that table say what you’d like to say or you won’t be represented.

You have to vote to hear your views being expressed when decisions are made.



Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.