Graeme James. —Image: Capital News file

Former Kelowna city councillor looking to make a return

Graeme James says he was prompted to run because of concerns with downtown

Former Kelowna city councillor Graeme James says he is seeking a return to council because he is concerned about the state of the city’s downtown.

And he’s not happy about how the current council has dealt with the issue.

“It’s a big problem and we have to get a handle on this,” said James, who sat on council for one term from 2008 to 2011 and filed nomination papers last week to run again in the upcoming civic election. He ran unsucessfully in 2011 and 2014.

Accusing the current council of being too soft on drug users and vagrants downtown, James said the city and the RCMP need to “take a tough stance on them,” including banning shopping carts downtown and making it illegal to lay on the street.

The city has attempted to do both in the past, but stepped back from those attempts after pubic backlashes.

James said he feels the problem downtown has gotten out of hand and needs immediate action.

The city has initiated a five-year strategy to address homelessness called the Journey Home Strategy, but James dismissed that plan, saying it is underfunded and city hall does not have much to show for the $500,000 it has already spent on it.

“There’s a lot more the city can do,” said James.

He is also unhappy with how the Glenmore area—where he lives—has been treated by city hall in recent years, saying it has been “short-changed” when it comes to the attention it deserves.

James said the city has allowed what he described as some “pretty ugly” buildings to be built in the area, the planned Glenmore Recreation Park is long overdue, a new firehall for the area has been put on hold and Valley and Sexsmith Roads need upgrading.

Combine that with property tax increases he feels have been too high during the current council’s term and that’s why he decided to run for council again.

“Tax increases should be two per cent or less,” said James, who took direct aim at current Mayor Colin Basran and his eight councillors accusing them of “not being able to say no” to city staff when recommendations are made.

The city has pointed to the cost of expensive civic projects such as construction of the new police services building on Clement Avenue as reasons for large portions of the annual property tax increase in recent years, increases that have come in at 2.99 per cent this year and 3.84 per cent in 2017.

“Nobody seems to be steering the ship,” he said. “The inmates are running the asylum.”

Candidates planning to file nomination papers for the upcoming civic election have until Friday to do so.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chinese author tackles racism and reconciliation

David Wong says cultural diversity should not be feared

Kelowna kids safety organization needs your help

The Kelowna and District Safety Council is in need of some funds

Okanagan Rail Trail to officially open

Thursday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m., Oyama Boat Launch, Wood Lake; public welcome

VIDEO: Kelowna 10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow marked with Eagle Staff

Okanagan College’s 10th Powwow was honoured with special ceremonies

VIDEO: Kelowna Rockets look to leave Kamloops Blazers in the smoke

The season home opener takes place Friday night

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated

Jury to deliberate in case of Calgary man accused of murdering woman

Curtis Healy could be convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter

House arrest for man who abused disabled B.C. woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

Liberals want to know what Canadians think of legalized weed

The federal government will comb social media for Canadians’ pot-related behaviour

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen boasts of aiding Mueller investigation

Cohen could provide information on whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russians

Landslide forces evacuations of Philippine villages

More than 1,200 people in villages near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities

Students asked about the positive effects of residential schools

Alberta’s education minister apologized after hearing about the online social studies course

Stargazing: A space column about nothing

Ken Tapping — astronomer with the National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory

Most Read