Providing a, “veteran voice during discussions with neighbouring municipalities and other levels of government,” and, “restoring council’s role as leaders in the decision making at City Hall,” have motivated former Kelowna councillor Charlie Hodge to enter the local municipal race.
“The next few years will see a needed increase in vital discussions with municipalities such as West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland, Westbank First Nations… not to mention dealings with the Provincial and Federal governments. I have lots of inter-governmental experience on various levels, and enjoy it,” Hodges said.
Hodge spent three years on Kelowna city council from 2008-11 and two-and-half years as drector with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan. In addition, Hodge served on Parksville city council from 1997 to 2000 as well as the Regional District of Nanaimo.
“Council needs to assume more leadership in making their decisions, and also in the actual decision making process. Council is supposed to set the basic course and destination in which they want Kelowna to head – and senior staff is supposed to then advise the best and smartest routes to do so. That is not currently happening,” Hodge said.
“I do not believe council is running the ship and have not for a long while,” Hodge says, using the recent charette and outcomes at Cedar Park as an example.
He believes his past council and regional district insight, willingness to ask tough questions, and ability to ‘cut to the quick’ on issues will assist the next council.
“Kelowna faces huge decisions in the near future including the redesign of City Park, the Capri expansion, Central Green development, land-use and transit plans, projects in Rutland, and other issues. It is important that council truly listens to the public’s thoughts and concerns and then direct staff to build projects accordingly.”
Aside from intergovernmental relations and stronger leadership from council, Hodge says properly maintaining key public services and amenities, continually improving transit, increasing public dialogue prior to major projects, and working closely with the five water purveyors within the city to assure ongoing clean, safe water are other major issues in his platform.
Hodge stated Sharon Shepherd’s announcement Thursday that she will seek the mayor’s chair also helped him decide to seek re-election.
“I admit her decision impacted mine. I think she was a great Mayor when I served with her and would welcome that chance again,” Hodge said. “Another reason I waited on my decision was that I am committed to finishing a book by the January so my time to actively campaign is restricted. However, I have decided to do my best and wait for the voters to decide.”
Hodge is a best-selling author, award winning writer. He spent more than 25 years as a fulltime newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, and strategic planning. He writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for many years in the Capital News.
Hodge and his wife Teresa live in the downtown-Kiwanis Tower area.