Ophus says economic development a top priority for West Kelowna

District of West Kelowna: Ophus, Duane-councillor candidate voices need for significant investments in Okanagan Lake waterfront.

  • Oct. 30, 2014 9:00 a.m.

1) What do you feel is the most significant issues facing West Kelowna and how would you suggest it be resolved?

The primary ongoing issue is providing needed services and infrastructure improvements within available financial resources. We have a carefully structured ten year plan and it is essential that decisions are made that carefully consider the long term impact on our ability to pay, while at the same time minimizing the tax and fee impacts on our residents and businesses. I will continue to pay close attention to our financial plan while at the same time working to improve the tax base through attraction of new investment to our community.

2) What personal characteristics or background do you possess that make you an ideal candidate for council?

I worked in financial services for many years and for the last 19 plus years my spouse and I have operated a business in West Kelowna. I have been a Councillor for seven years, a Regional District Director for six years and six years on the Okanagan Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Board, the last three as Chairperson.

I have applied my business experience, financial management and other skills to all these endeavors over the years. For example, I am proud to say that, due to the efforts of staff and Board leadership, we have not increased taxes for the Sterile Insect Release Program for over five years, through intensive efforts to find more efficient ways to operate within available funds.

3) What is your vision for any future development of West Kelowna’s waterfront along Okanagan Lake?

Significant investments have been made in the last few years to our waterfront along Gellatly Bay and in Pritchard Park for example. A number of private developments have also occurred and we need to continue to promote these opportunities, to enhance our tax base and provide more public amenities. For example, there are a several other properties along the waterfront that are ripe for re-development over the next few years and I will work to put in place a regime that will secure these investments for West Kelowna while at the same time maximizing the use, pleasure and enjoyment of the waterfront for all citizens and visitors.

4) What can the District of West Kelowna do to attract more business investment to the community?

Economic development has been, and will remain, a top priority of West Kelowna and we have seen the return of substantial investment over the last few years, for example the new Heritage Seniors Housing project, the Boucherie Beach Resort and many others. I have taken a leadership role in facilitating high quality new development and will continue to do so. It is very important that we make sure our costs are in-line while at the same time ensuring that no undue burden is placed on existing residents, striking this balance appropriately can be a challenge.

5) Why do you agree or disagree that a second bridge crossing of Okanagan Lake is important to the future of West Kelowna?

A second bridge crossing, although likely a very long-term project, is very important to West Kelowna as traffic flows through our community on existing roads continue to increase. Our interest will be in making sure the new crossing and the associated new highways are aligned for the maximum benefit of West Kelowna. For example, this alignment could possibly connect with a future crossing of Powers Creek in upper Glenrosa so that we can achieve a long-standing goal of increasing community safety as more people move to West Kelowna.

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