Every week, during the run-up to the Oct. 20 election, the Calendar will ask Lake Country candidates a question about a local issue.
This week’s question is: looking back over the last four years, what do you feel city council should have done, or done differently and what will you do to have the issue addressed if you are elected?
Barry Rhodes – mayoral candidate
The intersection at Highway 97 at Beaver Lake Boad should have been tackled more aggressively. The traffic and growth have increased while Hwy 97 was getting the major upgrades to three lanes. More and more commuters started using Glenmore Road.
More action and less words address the issue and get a commitment from the provincial government.
I would have personally travelled to Victoria and get answers. When a mayor the leader of the community has the support from the majority of the community their voices get heard a lot louder and clear.
When it comes to public safety you need to hit it head on before there is a serious accident. We don’t want to put our community at risk.
James Baker – mayoral candidate
Looking back over the last four years there was a great deal done that was needed in the social, health and recreation area like completing the food bank, getting more doctors and funding for planning a health hub, completing our section of the rail/trail and starting on a new multi-use building which will provide a permanent home for the Boys and Girls Club. The less positive was our lobbying efforts with the transportation ministry to address the congestion at Hwy 97 and Glenmore Road. We will have to be more effective in this coming term to have the issue addressed soonest.
Jeanette Lambert – Carr’s Landing councillor candidate
Communication is vitally important. The District has extremely qualified, competent staff who make factual presentations to council so we can make intelligent decisions. During the public meetings we may have to breakdown some of those facts or give more background information so people understand the issues. Staff has done an excellent job with the District’s website and other social media, ensuring that constituents are well informed.
Timeliness is another issue. After being provided with clear, concise steps we should be able to reach conclusions quickly so we can move on to other issues. We may think our processes are easy to follow but if we are receiving complaints about them we need to re-exam the steps. We do not want to create frustration which may drive people away.
A few issues stand out in my mind. A variance on the Rogers Road project took so long that people forgot that a public hearing had been held a year prior and we were only currently addressing the variances. The second issue was Habitat for Humanity. How did we get so far in planning this project without realizing that one of the variances was going to be an issue for the local residents?
Lastly, council has to realize that their decisions are not always going to be popular with special interest groups. As long as those decisions are based on facts, fulfil the community’s needs and benefit the whole community, they should be able to live with that criticism.
Penny Gambell – Councillor at large candidate
The one thing I think council should have done differently is the process for the proposed sale of beachfront public property, specifically Gable Beach. I think such proposals need to be considered after public discussions including but not limited to Open Houses and meetings.
Although this may take additional time and resources, it is vital that constituents understand proposals that could forever alter parkland or other public assets. When there is significant public support for disposing of or acquiring public assets, council can confidently make positive decisions on behalf of the community. While legal and land decisions must be made “in camera”, out of the public eye and in confidence according to the Community Charter, the general discussion of possible options for the use of public assets in different parts of the community should be part of our culture. I think we also need to do annual public surveys to gauge satisfaction within our community, and to give opportunity for general feedback.
This council has redone the District website, had extensive consultation on our Official Community Plan and had a number of public engagements on the Parks Master Plan. These two plans need more feedback as they are both in a draft stage now, so people will have the opportunity to assess these this fall.
Todd McKenzie – Oyama councillor candidate
If I had been there for the last four years (I’ve only been councillor for a year and a half) my focus would have been on wildfire mitigation for our community a little sooner. I wouldn’t say we could have prevented the fire in Okanagan Centre, but if it does happen, we could have minimized the damage. There’s also a zoning gap in our community for the amount of houses you can put in an area. I would have liked to find a zoning that’s a little more appropriate to balance development with those who move to the community who enjoy the rural lifestyle.
Justin Neufeld – Oyama councillor candidate
Looking back over the past four years and listening to voters while campaigning in Lake Country, I have heard over and over again that the constituent’s concerns were completely ignored. Many people in Oyama have voiced to me their frustration in that the past council did not hear or allow them to speak on issues which affected them greatly. That’s why I decided to run for ward councillor in Oyama. I want to be the councillor that actually cares for once about the constituents. Issues with unprecedented increases in water prices, dilapidating road conditions, and unchecked increases in taxes and utilities are just some of the problems I have with the way the Oyama ward, among other ridings, have been completely ignored and taken advantage of.
If I am elected I want to carry their voice into city hall and ensure their concerns are heard and considered. I will be a steady and reliable pressure against perpetual increases in taxation and utility costs and believe that constituents are approaching a breaking point.