Noel Wentworth – Council candidate
Right now, we are in a housing crisis. We need more homes and rentals for everyone, so more development of existing property through densification (building up) and intensification (building onto or redeveloping existing properties) will be necessary if we want to make the vision of Kelowna more walkable while holding off urban sprawl. Attention to infrastructure plans with more parking and addressing traffic solutions would also be a priority while keeping in mind our environmental impact.
Crime and safety are huge problems right now. We need more help from RCMP on a provincial level with support from a Police And Crisis Team (PACT) nurse and Interior Health resources to help with mental health emergencies. As I understand it, it was announced that there is a large plan in place to crack down on prolific offenders across the province. I look forward to seeing the results from their efforts.
Homelessness and providing affordable housing has been on my mind a lot. Although still in its early stage, the Journey Home project is very interesting to me. Having a complex care facility will help as well to get people off the street, counselling and services for homeless residents to get employment and contribute to our city.
Affordable housing is a bit tricky. The costs associated with building right now are the highest I’ve seen ($400+/ sq ft). Building material costs have skyrocketed and I can see now it’s not just because of city development cost charges that is helping to pay for a lot of the infrastructure in our community that is contributing to housing prices.
One solution would be to encourage more private investment groups like the YeYe Housing society in Kelowna. They have a very interesting plan for affordable housing where the goal is for a potential homeowner to own 75 per cent of their home. When the owner sells, they would receive 75 per cent of the sale, the society would retain 25 per cent. This type of private innovation in the affordable housing sector is something we need to applaud and encourage.
My favourite Okanagan celebrity is probably Jillian Harris. My wife watches late-night home improvement shows and I’m impressed with her work and her company vision.
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