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?
The state of Kelowna’s current finances is strong. I will support the provincial Government Auditor and their findings to ensure that Kelowna maintains their excellent financial rating and keep spending within the budget. The City of Kelowna just recently ratified the CUPE contract with an unprecedented five year contract for 8.5%. This is in line with the annual cost of living. A recent city survey showed that over 90% of the citizens of Kelowna feel that they receive good value for their tax dollars.
2) What do you think is the single most important social issue facing the city and how do you think city council should address it?
Building Kelowna’s Economy by attracting more businesses to locate in Kelowna, further developing Kelowna’s Downtown and regional Town Centres, and growing our Tourism Sector starting with a new Tourism Kelowna Visitor’s Centre. Only through better jobs and a larger, more diversified, long term tax base, can we improve the other aspects of our community such as affordable housing, making Kelowna safer, and providing a healthy, active, accessible city.
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?
This was not an accurate reflection of our city. Some of the flaws are: The report gauges the appeal of 50 Canadian cities at attracting new residents. By its measure, Kelowna ranked 30th out of 50. In this case, the authors use some specific criteria to arrive at their conclusions and rankings. Kelowna’s ranking suffers from outdated crime statistics and includes at least one serious oversight. While it says universities and educational opportunities are important to attract new residents to a city, this repot and its 2010 version fail to acknowledge the existence of UBCO. Also the Island Coastal Economic Trust, which was a report released the same week suggests a more accurate picture of the most desirable places to live are the communities that attract the most new residents compared to the number of residents who move away. Kelowna ranks third out of 147 Canadian communities as a place more people move to than move away from. Despite the findings of the Conference Board Report, an older population, low fertility rates and a couple of recent post-recession years when net in-migration to Kelowna was negligible. Kelowna is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. Kelowna now has 15,000 students and staff fin post-secondary education. We have quickly become a small college town with UBCO and OK College having $2 billion economic impact on the valley. The graduates coming out of those campuses will go a long way to address our needs to attract skilled and creative new workers.
4) What in your background will allow you to deal with conflict within our community on issues that come before city council?
My long time management skills; excellent knowledge of the city and its citizens; experience dealing with large groups; board experience on many types of different boards over the years; governance knowledge; media experience.
5) What personal characteristics do you think make you qualified to be a city councillor?
Knowledge of the issues; knowledge of the Kelowna area and its residents; listening skills the past three years; taking the time to understand what our residents want by doing my homework.