Given seeks second term on Kelowna city council

City of Kelowna: Given, Gail-councillor candidate says taxpayers getting fair value for city spending.

  • Fri Oct 31st, 2014 12:00pm
  • News

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?

Finances are well managed.  The Citizens survey indicates the majority of our citizens believe they receive fair value for their tax dollars.   We have beautiful parks, effective police and fire services, constantly improving transit and road network, incredible ever increasing walking paths, award winning landfill, dependable safe water, great recreation facilities and park programming, highly skilled planning and development services staff, awesome festivals, best in class public engagement process, responsive service request system, vibrant growing airport, award winning finance department and visionary leadership team all for the fourth lowest tax rate for communities over 75,000.

 

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?

Mental health and substance abuse issues are foundational to so many of our social challenges, particularly homelessness.  City Council needs to lobby IHA and provincial ministry of health for increasing support in this area.  We can also partner with other agencies in the creation of safe and affordable supportive housing (BC Housing, non-profits, etc) as this is fundamental to recovery.

 

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 does not.  City Magnets III Report is based on the premise that cities failing to attract new people will struggle to stay prosperous and vibrant.  So far, attracting new people has not been a problem for Kelowna.  After a thorough read of the report, some of the measurement criteria assure us lower grades as we are very small by comparison.  Plus much of the data is from 2011, dated for sure.  It is worth noting on the Education ranking, Kelowna is not even identified as having a university, nor would our significant growth in Health care be recognized.

 

4) What in your background will allow you to deal with conflict within our community on issues that come before city council?

Serving a term as City Councillor, Vice Chair of the Regional District and past School Trustee has provided me with the necessary skill.  In addition, 25 years in Retail Store Management prepared me well for this challenge.  When dealing with tough subjects I tend peel back the layers of emotion and focus on the facts.  It really provides clarity to the decision making process.

 

5) What personal characteristics do you think make you qualified to be a city councillor?

I like to be thorough in my reading and research and pay close attention to detail.   I always search out source documents for my facts rather than relying on an interpretation of the document.  I enjoy perpetual learning and fact based decision making.  I believe it is council’s responsibility to establish a clear Strategic plan for the corporation and then and empower the talented staff to deliver results. Through aligning our decisions to this plan and remaining consistent we create confidence in our investors and citizens.