We need to tip the scales back to balance in Kelowna. We have a new Mayor and council though we do have five incumbents and hopefully they will see the light of how we can have a better city. I hope I can help by offering my ideas to them. These are based on my experience professionally and at the community level.
I have over 30 years experience as an environmental consultant starting in agriculture and more recently in the mining industry designing and costing out mine closure and reclamation plans. My PhD focused on climate change.
I am the President of KSAN so I have been very involved in community issues. As well, I have reviewed the 2040 Official Community Plan, zoning, and technical documents. I have particiapted in various city workshops. My involvement also includes presenting at public hearings and presenting briefs.
I am concerned about:
- Public safety
- Housing affordability
- Planning for climate change
- Protection of the environment
- Reduction in traffic congestion
- Reduction of homelessness!
Some high level ideas include:
Housing Affordability: 30% of new builds as affordable units; city to donate land for low-income housing construction; build wood buildings with affordable interior finishings; review zoning changes that are driving up housing prices.
Preserve Agricultural Land/Green Space: Keep our agricultural land for current and future food production; stop the plan to build a bus barn on farmland – put the bus barn on the old Costco site (has warehouse for interior bus maintenance, good access, large parking bus storage area) or other underutilized industrial land in the city; stop the plan to put a sewage treatment plant on farmland; the City to purchase Kelowna Springs Golf Course for a municipal golf course and to preserve it as green space; save the Okanagan Mission Activity Centre and the surrounding lands as green space for the environmental and people services; preserve our tree canopy; require the setbacks around new builds to ensure green space/tree planting and a place for adults and children to enjoy/use; adopt a tree bylaw; rather than consider new project sites as “bare lot”, assess opportunities to retain existing trees.
Preserve our Industrial Land: Stop the conversion of industrial land to residential; keep our industry and promote more industry to provide more career jobs.
Review the Rapid Development: Stop the height and footprint variances for buildings; follow the 2040 OCP height plans; require environmental, social, infrastructure, and traffic impact assessments.
Traffic Congestion: Increase the frequency of buses and use smaller buses on quieter streets; use more roundabouts to increase traffic flow; eventually convert to electric buses and street rail transportation (similar to street cars)
Crime and Public Safety: Use beat cops (single) (RCMP on foot) with regular routes to build relationships with the public and businesses – this will discourage street and property crime; bring back Citizens’ Patrol; adopt smart principals such as strategic lighting, dealing with graffiti, etc. Promote the purchase of safe affordable drugs to reduce the crime needed for income to purchase high-cost street drugs (this would also allow for people to buy food, have clean clothes and hopefully get back on their feet); provide medical and psychological treatments as required.
Climate Change: Promote the use of solar panels, heat pumps, geothermal energy; maintain tree canopy and plant more trees; ensure all new sidewalks have a conduit below the surface for future wiring for electric car charging stations; ensure charging stations are installed in all new builds; maintain green space around buildings and large community green spaces; increase frequency of bus transportation; eventually convert buses to electric or other alternative energy; consideration in the future, the use of in-street rails for public transportation, similar to a low to the ground street car.
Parkinson Rec Centre: Review Options 2 and 4 of the 2015 Options Analyses – this will save our green space and save in the range of $80,000,000 which can be spent on other projects including community centers in other areas and reduce wasting taxpayers’ dollars.
Transit Contract: Kelowna to take back the management of the transit drivers’ contract which is outsourced to the US and Sweden and keep the money in Kelowna and use it to support the bus drivers.
Homelessness: Provide affordable housing to be in the order of 30% of income; provide low-cost housing – for example, welfare provides $300 per month for housing so rents in that range (this would require city land as market priced land is too costly); shelters would only be used for people who do not quality for welfare due to being newcomers.
Support Small/Local Business: Small businesses provide character to the city, variety, and employment which also attract tourists; provide beat cops for a presence against “snatch and grab”, damage to storefronts, etc.; consideration of redevelopment of premises to avoid driving small businesses out; review winter activities to attract winter tourists to support small businesses.
Public Input/ Public Voice: Revise the public hearing policies, e.g., note the amount of support/opposition at public hearings, keep public records available, allow the council more time to prepare for meetings/public hearings/project decisions; bring back the various volunteer committees such as the Heritage Advisory Committee and other committees such as an architectural committee; increase input from neighbourhood associations; bring in a ward system; limit the number of consecutive terms to three and return to three year terms (was changed to four year terms in 2014)
Please see the links to questionnaires I have completed on various topics. (Questionnaire Responses).
Contact Susan at: email@example.com