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Peachland council candidates give their thoughts at community forum

More than 350 people turned out to hear the views of 10 of the 12 candidates
Peachland residents had the opportunity to hear the views of council candidates on various topics at a community forum Oct. 3 (Photo/Capital News)

Those running for Peachland council did their best to convince residents to vote for them at an all-candidates forum on Oct. 3.

More than 350 people turned out to hear the views of 10 of the 12 candidates. Terry Condon and Moira Goodman were unable to attend due to previous commitments. A major topic of concern for many residents was future development and maximum building heights along Beach Avenue.

Nick Walsh said he wants to hear from the people.

“I don’t want to go to council to presume to make decisions for you,” he said.

Alena Glasman drew applause from the crowd when she said the issue was a hard ‘no’ for her.

“We don’t need that,” she said. “We need to take our efforts and we need to put it into the entire district.”

Another issue for Peachland residents is whether candidates supported four-laning Highway 97 through the community or going with a bypass.

Keith Thom favoured the bypass option and said council should plan like their First Nations neighbours do.

“First Nations make all their decisions based on how they will affect the seventh generation,” he said. “You and I may not drive on that bypass, but it doesn’t preclude us from the making the decision now.”

Randey Brophy said Peachland will likely have to work with the two cities to the east regarding traffic issues along Highway 97.

“I think the bypass will be initiated by what Kelowna and West Kelowna decide in terms of where their new bridge is going to be.”

Candidates also tackled a question on sidewalks for several areas in the district.

David Collins pointed out the community has wanted them for years.

“It should have been happening decades ago,” he said.”A few ways to get there include making a plan and having a reserve fund.”

Mike Kent said sidewalks are ‘astoundingly expensive to build.’

“We need to be strategic on how we target grant money, and when a developer comes along…we piggyback on that development to ensure we can expand on our sidewalks.”

There were many seniors in the crowd, and one of the questions asked was what the candidates might do to help seniors stay in the community as they age.

Kevin Bennett said as the downtown is redeveloped, Peachland should be able to attract more resources and medical professionals.

“We need space for the Wellness Centre, and social programs,” he said. “Hopefully all of that will come with development, that’s really all we can do.”

Rick Ingram said the community needs to look at what can be done with assisted living and long-term care.

“It’s unfortunate that right now Peachlanders have to move to West Kelowna or elsewhere when they reach that stage of life.”

Tourism also came up. Specifically, what did candidates think about generating income from visitors to pay for repair and maintenance of Peachland’s public spaces.

“We do need to charge something on the beach,” said Rainer Udala. “I know people come to Peachland because they want to come here, they will pay for services.”

Pam Cunningham said she disagreed with charging users fees.

“I think what we need is more things for people to come to,” she said. “We need more events…but the wear and tear on our town is not just from tourists, it’s from people who live here as well.”

Advance voting for municipal elections opens Oct. 4 with general voting day Oct. 15.

READ MORE: Peachland mayoral candidates square off in all candidates forum

READ MORE: Okanagan adjustments proposed for B.C. electoral ridings


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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