Black Press Media is reaching out to all candidates running for Kelowna council in the 2022 municipal election, asking for their response to three specific issues about the community, as well as a fun question. Responses will be published in the order they are received.
Susan Ames - Council candidate
If elected, how do you think council should manage growth and development in Kelowna?
Growth should be kept within the city boundaries as urban sprawl (infrastructure) is very expensive and we need to preserve our farmland and parkland for the future. We also need to preserve our commercial and industrial land, or we will end up forcing those uses onto our green space. We have vacant land and inefficient/underutilized land in the city that can be used for residential and industrial uses.
In 2021, Kelowna had the second highest property rate crime in the country, what should city council do to help address street and property crime in the city?
We should have “beat cops” who have a regular beat, and this will discourage street and property crime. Officers would work individually and build up a relationship with people in the community/businesses in their beat. They keep their eyes on the street with the help of the community and the “criminals” know they are there. The officers are trained to handle themselves and backup would only be a block or two away. It may be costly to have “beat cops” but in the long run, there would be less street and property crime and what goes with it, such as the expensive court system and trauma to the victims. As well, Kelowna is the only major community in the Central Okanagan without a citizens’ patrol. These are a “second set of eyes”, and the citizen patrol can alert the RCMP if they see something of concern. We used to have a citizens’ patrol in Kelowna, and we need to bring this back. Other simple options, such as strategic lighting can deter crime.
In your view, what is council’s responsibility in assisting those experiencing homelessness, and providing affordable housing for Kelowna residents?
Council has a big responsibility as it is the current council’s zoning policies and allowing of variances for big projects that attract developers who are building high-end, unaffordable condos. We need a policy, for example, that requires 30 per cent of the new buildings to be affordable. We also need the missing middle (e.g., five storeys) using lower-cost wood construction and interior finishings. The city could donate suitable vacant city land that can be used for properly housing the homeless at “reasonable” rents to give them back their dignity and a clean, safe place to live.
Who is your favourite Okanagan celebrity and why?
Rosemary Thomson for what she does to promote music in Kelowna!