1) What do you feel is the most significant issue facing West Kelowna and how would you suggest it be resolved?
No single issue stands out. Council has established strategic objectives that have remained fairly consistent during the past few years. There are tough decisions to make before those objectives are met. We have outgrown our ‘temporary’ municipal hall; a design and location have been chosen, but the electorate must determine if the project is to proceed. I believe this should be done by referendum, not the alternate approval process. Another project I hope will gain traction is an artificial turf field. Last year I facilitated establishment of a committee of sports groups which has prepared a proposal that will be fine-tuned by municipal staff and be considered during council’s 2015 review of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
2) What personal characteristics or background do you possess that make you an ideal candidate for council?
I have served on council for two terms. Prior to that I was an alternate director for the former Electoral Area H (Westbank) on the Regional District of Central Okanagan board and a member of the Westside Advisory Planning Committee for the RDCO. I am also a former president of the Glenrosa Residents’ Association and chaired the Westbank Incorporation Study Committee from 1988-93. This experience has gained me a fundamental understanding of how local government works, as has my 40-year career in the news media.
3) What is your vision for any future development of West Kelowna’s waterfront along Okanagan Lake?
The municipality’s waterfront ‘inventory’ is quite limited and used heavily by both residents and visitors. Unless we expand that inventory, tourism potential will continue to be constrained, insofar as public facilities are concerned. We have no public moorage. Public parking for boat trailers is woefully inadequate. Tremendous improvements have been made to Gellatly Bay, including the CNR Wharf and adjacent road, but most major projects in future will likely be left with the private sector, unless local taxpayers indicate a strong appetite for spending public funds to acquire and redevelop more waterfront. My sense right now is that this would be a hard sell.
4) What can the District of West Kelowna do to attract more business investment to the community?
This is a challenge for many communities, but we have taken numerous steps, including preparation of an Economic Development Plan and establishment of a business development office. We have met with various sectors to seek their views and suggestions. We have reduced the red tape faced by developers. We have made major improvements to Brown Road and started the process of building a city hall/civic centre to help make Westbank Centre a vibrant place to live and work. There is more, but suffice it to say I believe we should continue the process established, monitor its progress and focus on attracting breadwinner jobs, not just the low-wage variety so prevalent today.
5) Why do you agree or disagree that a second bridge crossing of Okanagan Lake is important to the future of West Kelowna?
A major highway bisecting our community is problematic, both aesthetically and from the standpoint of orderly growth. I have always advocated a bypass as being the most logical long-term solution to what inevitably will be intolerable traffic congestion all along the present route of Highway 97 through West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation. Such a bypass, perhaps extending on the west side of Okanagan Lake all the way north to Vernon could, and probably should, be incorporated into the plans for a second crossing at Kelowna.