Read Positions From the winning Candidates
On November 1, 2014 we had asked each candidate for Mayor and Council to respond to a series of questions regarding local issues. Those questions are posted below.
The responses received from those winnning candidates who answered are below. Interested parties can contact those who did not respond directly by clicking on
the appropriate name:
To download the questions in PDF format please click here
Received from Doug Findlater, Mayor, on November 10, 2014.
1) Do you think economic development in downtown Westbank is important and why?
Westbank Centre is the most significant and long time business district in West Kelowna, although there are important business centers in the Boucherie and Stevens Road areas, and other smaller neighbourhood areas as well. Westbank Centre is also home to most of the important government and private services in our community that provide an opportunity for cooperation and synergy to create a real civic centre as the project moves ahead. The site currently under consideration by Council is within walking distance of the Offices of MLA/Premier Christy Clark, MP Dan Albas, Interior Health Authority Services, other Provincial Government Offices, Okanagan Regional Library Westbank Branch, RCMP Detachment, Greater Westside Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce), Westbank Museum, Boys and Girls Club, Johnson-Bentley Aquatic Centre, Storefront School and private health services such as the radiology lab, blood lab, and medical and dental services. which have located in the downtown. Two new significant residential developments are located on Brown Road, right next door - the Heritage and the Gateway. More are in the exploration stages.
Municipalities often purposely locate publicly invested facilities in downtown business districts to maximize economic impact. Just next door, Kelowna located Prospera Place, Rotary Centre of the Arts and the new IHA buildings downtown in order to put people downtown to positively impact their business area. At one time Kelowna considered locating Prospera Place near the airport but realized it would have little economic spinoff benefit there.
Westbank Centre is downtown West Kelowna! Remember no matter where one lives in West Kelowna (from Glenrosa to Casa Loma) , we have ONE TAX BASE that supports our local government services. Westbank Centre is a commercial centre that is ready for redevelopment. We need a stimulus by having people live, work and recreate there.
2) Do you feel Westbank's history and heritage forms the fabric of our community and deserves to be protected, preserved and promoted?
Yes. The District should continue to support the museum in its work. In time the museum will deepen its capacity to interpret our history. I support the development of the Farmer's Market as an asset to the richness of our community's agricultural heritage and economy. Note also the District was keen to provide heritage protection for the historic Goldie House on Elliot Road. I would like to see more of these designations where appropriate and if the District is made aware of them, or if they have been identified in the heritage inventory conducted by the District a few years ago.
3) If your answer to question number 2 is no, please state your opinion.
4) If your answer to question number 2 is yes, would you support promoting our historic town of Westbank within the D.W.K. if you are elected to council?
The history is not much in evidence as such like it is in Nelson and Revelstoke. I do think more could be done to promote the National Historic Site Okanagan Fur Brigade monument. I had a role in the latest replaquing of it. For many years it was the ONLY National Historic Site monument between Rossland and Kamloops in the Interior, although when I worked in the Heritage field we worked concertedly to develop more in the Okanagan. (Note we also tried to have the Gellatly Nut Farm recognized as a NHS). I expect the District will embark on developing a brand in the next few years and there will be an opportunity to look at this question in detail.
5) The proposed new civic centre is planned to be built in downtown Westbank in the next few years. Will you promote the new facility as being located in Westbank?
I already do, and recognized Westbank Centre as the major business area in West Kelowna. The two names can work together with some good will.
6) If your answer to question #5 was no, please explain your view.
7) Westbank First Nation lands (I.R.#9 and I.R.#10) are within boundaries of the D.W.K. Do you feel that the D.W.K. has a fair, good, or poor relationship with W.F.N.? Please explain your viewpoint?
West Kelowna has a good day to day operational relationship with WFN which is a self-governing neighbouring jurisdiction not within DWK boundaries. There is cooperation on Sewer, Fire Department, Transit, Tourism Communities in Bloom to name some areas. WFN recently supported the Crown Land Grant for the Bartley Road property to West Kelowna. Chief Louie and I meet regularly and as needed and our personal relationship good. I have met with WFN leadership and prospective private investors to show my and DWK's support for their initiatives.
That being said, our relationship was set back over the issue of the Provincial Government proposal to transfer jurisdiction over parts of our Rose Valley drinking water reservoir which supplies some 13,000 people with daily water, and transfer portions of Rose Valley Regional Park. It was difficult but necessary to point out the problems with this provincial proposal. I believe it is time to put that behind us, and I regard WFN's support for the Crown Land transfer of Bartley properties as a good opportunity to do so.
8) If in your opinion, the D.W.K. has a poor or fair relationship with W.F.N., how can it be improved?
After the election I will meet with Chief Louie to discuss what is going well, what we need to work on, and arrange a council to council meeting to further explore opportunities to cooperate and improve the relationship. We have also been invited to participate in the provincially sponsored Reconciliation Process in the new year.
9) One idea to help improve relations between D.W.K. and W.F.N. would be to promote the town of Westbank in the D.W.K. and all the businesses, big box stores, banks, etc. on I.R.#9, together. Do you think that would help improve business exposure and foster goodwill between D.W.K. and W.F.N.? Why or why not?
This is a good idea. Key players are District of West Kelowna Business Development Office, WFN Economic Development Commission and Greater Westside Board of Trade.
10) In your opinion, has the current D.W.K. council been fiscally responsible with spending our tax dollars? If your answer is no, please state facts that support your argument.
Yes. DWK has accomplished a lot, particularly much needed infrastructure upgrades in a short seven year with modest tax increases and balanced budget.
11) List up to three important issues that the current D.W.K. council has not addressed or adequately dealt with.
Communication (aside from always needing additional funding for infrastructure) is a major challenge. Reporting in the two local papers that directly serve the Westside is minimal and has been reduced further recently. We generate news releases that go to all Central Okanagan media including radio, print, TV and online. Quarterly DWK Newsletters are sent to all residents to inform people of what the District is doing. We hold thorough and extensive consultations on all of our major projects. I attend just about everything I am invited to and some I am not invited to and try to spread the word. But is a challenge I appreciate feedback on how communication can be improved.
Westbank Revitalization has not moved ahead as quickly as I had hoped, however by setting the Couplet issue aside until a new opportunity to deal with arises, has allowed DWK to move ahead with other aspects Westbank Revitalization. In the meantime with the new opportunity presented by the Second Crossing/Second Corridor study underway by the Ministry of Transportation, DWK can reintroduce the couplet issue into the discussion as there is an opportunity to reduce or change its negative impact if a bypass is determined as a good option.
Received from Rusty Ensign, council, on November 10, 2014.
(1) It will bring back the heart of the community, create jobs and most importantly expand the commercial tax base
(2) It not only needs to be preserved but enriched. From the fur brigade trail to being founded over 100 years ago and the First nation heritage, the ferries, the bridge, , logging, agriculture, the early irrigation to todays wineries etc. Our own community theatre would help to enhance these things too.
(4) Yes in the central core of Westbank
(6) It has a poor relationship with the WFN. They don't communicate and they need too in order for all of us to succeed. We're all in this together. We need their support for our own crown land, replacing the couplet etc.
(7) The us and them has to be taken out of it and the "We" put in. Starting with joint council meetings. As I know all the chief and councillors on a first name basis I can facilitate healing the relationship.
(8) Both entities are better served joining Tourism Kelowna and marketing the entire region as one with joint marketing dollars. If "We" are both on Tourism Kelowna "we" will have stronger voice particularly in our own joint Westside interests.
(9) Yes and no. The shovel ready sewer upgrades and gellatly bay, annual road maintenance for sure. The Boucherie wine route, Casa Loma ditch, Brown road - No. In particular B train trucks can't use the new Westlake round about and have to take Ross road instead.
(10) Perception of doing business in West Kelowna, City Hall location and expense, relationship with WFN.
Received from Carol Zanon, council, on November 4, 2014:
1. Do you think economic development in downtown Westbank is important and why?
Yes, I do. More specifically, council adopted the Westbank Centre Revitalization Plan (WCRP) three years ago in 2011. This is "a comprehensive action-oriented plan."
2. Do you feel Westbank's history and heritage forms the fabric of our community and deserves to be protected, preserved and promoted? Why or why not?
Council's mission is to "protect, enhance and celebrate our West Kelowna home." Westbank's history and heritage form a unique background for the development of our community. It was and is an agricultural hub, a business centre, and a place where people want to congregate and enjoy the quality of life our community offers.
3. If your answer to question number 2 is yes, would you support promoting our historic town of Westbank within the D.W.K. if you are elected to council?
I do support and have never stopped supporting Westbank within West Kelowna. As Chair of the Okanagan Regional Library, I have supported a continuing presence in the downtown Westbank Library, including an enlargement of the facility completed last year and the recent hiring of a community librarian. We have Westside Daze, Music in the Park, the Global Music Festival and the Farmers Market. All of these celebrations have continued to grow since we incorporated seven years ago and contribute to the vibrancy of the Westbank Centre.
4. The proposed new civic centre is planned to be built in downtown Westbank in the next few years. Will you promote the new facility as being located in Westbank?
Yes. All evidence gathered so far points to the proposed civic centre/city hall as both an important part of our economic development strategy and a welcome city amenity. We currently have several civic facilities that can be used as building blocks for a civic town core (see pages 129,138 of the WKRP).
6. Westbank First Nation (W.F.N.) lands (I.R.#9 and I.R.#10) are within the boundaries of the D.W.K. Do you feel that the D.W.K. has a fair, good, or poor relationship with WFN? Please explain your viewpoint?
We have a good relationship with Westbank First Nation (WFN). It had been disrupted for a time during the controversial land swap. West Kelowna was just given a significant crown grant for a works yard off Bartley Road. This is evidence of good will towards the district from WFN.
7. If in your opinion, the D.W.K. has a poor or fair relationship with W.F.N., how can it be improved?
Not applicable. However, there is always an opportunity to improve. Communication, attention to mutual goals and a degree of patience can work for all of us to make our communities an example of cooperation. Not all are obvious. For example, I have been the Chair of the Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) during the past couple of years,. In that time WFN has become a full participating member in the this large system. About 45,000 people between the top of the Lake and Peachland are in the ORL catchment area. Also, both DWK and WFN participated in the recent Business walks sponsored by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. .
8. One idea to help improve relations between D.W.K. and W.F.N. and foster good will, is to form a partnership to promote the businesses in downtown Westbank with the businesses, big box stores, restaurants, etc. on I.R. #9. Do you think that would help improve business exposure and tourism potential for both Westbank and W.F.N.? Why or why not?
I am not sure of the question. Our energetic Board of Trade does this, and both WFN and DWK businesses participate. Revitalization cannot be achieved by the District of West Kelowna alone. It will need partnerships to grow and flourish. Possible partners are WFN, other public agencies, private land owners, developers, and service clubs amongst others. Also, if the partners are interested, a business improvement area could be formed. However, this idea must come from the businesses themselves. (See page 145 of the WCRP).
9. In your opinion, has the past D.W.K. council been fiscally responsible with spending our tax dollars? Please state facts that support your argument.
Yes. No argument, just facts. For example, the 2013 Annual Report showed that an organizational restructuring of DWK staff will save $395,579 in the new budget cycle by 2015 (page 15).
10. List up to three important issues that the current D.W.K. council, in your opinion, has not addressed or adequately dealt with.
The WCRP has a 25 year vision, and we are only seven years old. There will be many issues. As well, issues will arise during the implementation of the Master Plans such as Parks and Recreation, Agriculture, Waterfront, Transportation to name a few, as they interact with the WCRP.