James running on TaxpayerFirst candidate slate

City of Kelowna: James, Graeme-councillor candidate wants to cut what he calls wasteful spending at City Hall.

  • Oct. 30, 2014 10:00 a.m.

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?

During my 3 years on City council I was intimately involved with the City’s budget and development so I know that moneys can be spent more efficiently than has been done in the last 3 years. Witness the $2.2 million on the landfill administration building, an $800,000 public bathroom, a projected $20 million for a parkade for the new IH building, and a $46 million RCMP building. I raised questions when the landfill building was first brought to Council, questioning unnecessary expenses and there are many questions that still need to be asked regarding the above and other future expenditures.

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?

Affordable housing is the most important social issue facing Kelowna. People should not have to pay more than 30% of their gross income on housing. The City can provide land for social housing and other levels of government must help fund affordable housing projects. It takes diligence and hard work to access and involve all levels of government in the affordable housing issue and, as during my previous 3 years on Council, I will continue to support the creation of affordable housing units.

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?

Yes and no. The crime rate here is actually falling so depicting Kelowna as a crime ridden, unsafe city is unfair. We have a world-class education institution here in UBCO, and the Okanagan College business faculty wins awards across the country against much larger universities and colleges so a D grade in this area is completely off the mark. We deserve more than a C in health care with the Cancer Centre and the new Heart and Surgical Centre set to open in 2015. However, we deserve the failing grade in our lack of full time, higher paying employment opportunities.

 

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

During my 3 years on City council I dealt with a great deal of conflict during public hearings and in my communication with individuals on contentious issues. I have extensive conflict resolution education from the Justice Institute of BC and have broad experience in project management which includes conflict resolution at many levels.

 

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

I communicate well with people

I am committed to obtaining all facts prior to making well informed decisions

I set the bar high and believe fundamental change is possible

I am willing to speak up and make tough decisions

I willingly and clearly see all sides of an issue

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