1) Spending at city hall has been made an issue in this election campaign. Why do you think the city is or is not spending taxpayers’ dollars efficiently?
Every decision this council has made was sensitive to the impact it would have on the budge. City hall and all civic operations must to be run as efficiently as possible. When compared to the 17 largest municipalities in BC, Kelowna has the 4th lowest property taxes. As our community grows, the demand for better services and amenities will increase and so will our need to find new, innovative methods to increase our tax revenue. In the next 4 years, I want to continue our responsible, mindful and transparent investment strategy while continuing to explore new innovative sources of income.
2) What do you think is the single most important social issue facing the city and how would you address it as mayor?
The well being of our community is one large priority. In that sense, we are making strides in bridging our social gaps but I believe more is yet to be accomplished. I am proud to say that I was closely involved in the approval of Karis Support Society’s project. A brand new facility to help women in transition. Another vital approval was given to the Society of Hope and their “Pleasantvale” project – consisting of 70 low income families & seniors homes. Projects of this nature are a component of my vision for a connected community.
3) The recent Conference Board of Canada grade report for Kelowna had the city receiving a low or failing grade on many issues. Do you feel this report was an accurate reflection of our city? Why or why not?
It would be naive to think we are a city without economic challenges. Blaming games lead nowhere, so instead lets focus on what was done in the last 3 years to begin addressing some of the failing grades.
Tech industry opportunities with the new Innovation Centre.
UBCO name as one of the best schools in Canada.
New trades building at the OK College.
Added 22 new RCMP officers – crime rates are falling (by 13%).
These initiatives are the byproduct of a decisive leadership that wants to see these trends reversed. Thus we must ensure continuity in the upcoming elections.
4) Define what you think the role of the mayor is in providing direction for city council and as the public representative for our city?
Mayors inspire action. They set guidelines and objectives to make their vision a reality. There is no shortage of ideas at city hall. We have very bright and experienced individuals on staff who are looking for an opportunity to make a difference in our community. As elected leaders I believe its our duty to recognize those talents and foster an environment where they can be expressed. I want to carry on the proven principles of a decisive, connected leadership. One that recognizes the importance of a connected community – socially, economically and politically – all working together as a team.
5) What personal characteristics do you think make you qualified to be mayor?
The key characteristic I would bring to the position of Mayor would be the ability to make timely, informed decisions. Indecisiveness breeds fear which can ultimately diminish the image of our city as one that is open for business. The fear of making mistakes can cripple promising opportunities which could help positively impact the future of our community. I believe in a decisive leadership, with a consistent vision and guidelines around our common objectives. My family has been here for over a century. This community is a part of my DNA so I know whom my decisions will impact.