James Blake

Meet Penticton candidate James Blake

Meet the candidates running in the upcoming Penticton by-election

As part of our Penticton city by-election coverage, the Penticton Western News asked candidates to submit a bio about themselves, and to provide their answers to questions that are important to the community.

I would like to thank Jake Kimberley for his many years of dedicated service to our community.

His tireless efforts have created a fantastic community for my family to live and grow in.

My family and I moved to Penticton in 2012 to establish the new movie theatre here. I have three children in school, one in kindergarten, another in Grade 6, and one just finishing his first year in college.

We have had many blessings here and been met with countless acts of kindness from so many in the community. I have experienced homelessness myself as a teenager.

With a great amount of work and determination I put myself on my feet.

I worked my way up to operate significant businesses with large diverse staffs and high customer volumes at times in excess of 10,000 customers a day.

I learned the value of working with and unifying a diverse group of people. Penticton has a wide ranging, vibrant diverse population. As city councillor, I will immediately strive to bring together everyone in the city from homeless to rich from young to old, bringing us together and focusing us all for the betterment of the entire community.

Q: How would you address the housing crisis?

A: We are in a unique situation; bordered by mountains and lakes. If we are going to alleviate the housing shortage, options are limited. We must carefully consider targeted zoning of multi-story condominiums. We must also continue to be creative and think outside the box and work towards building things like tiny homes. We must also take strides in reaching out to our neighbors across the channel at the PIB and encourage them to build housing communities that will have more accessibility to lower income people due to the fact the land is leased; not part of the mortgage.

Q: How would you address rising crime rates and social issues impacting Penticton?

A: I have no doubt that the police officers of our city work hard everyday and take pride in what they do to create a safe environment for us all. We must come together to give more support and communication. I believe the council should at every council meeting have our chief of police give an update, then we can all put greater focus on every issue. I would support having officers on foot in the downtown area and a motorcycle officer also.

Q: Do you have a plan to support small business?

A: My family and I live near downtown. I have been heartbroken to see so many unique, creative, imaginative businesses disappear over the years. The parking situation in parts of the city are killing business.

Having paid parking near your business is basically having an additional tax on your business that other business in town do not have pay. If a customer has a choice they will go to the business with the easy alternative of free parking.

I believe we should impose a higher property tax on new property owners; leaving the currant rate on existing properties and eliminate paid parking.

Q: Do you support more low barrier supportive housing for the homeless or what do you think can address the addictions and mental health issues?

A: Though shelters alone are certainly not the ultimate answer, we must get people off the streets. If people remain on the streets they will inevitably, abruptly, find their way into dangerous situations with some of that being crime and drugs. At that point the problems and challenges we face supporting and rehabilitating become infinitely worse, long term, and much more expensive, and must be supported more than ever as we come out of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Ten candidates officially on Penticton byelection ballot

READ MORE: Spring by-election for Penticton after Coun. Jake Kimberley resigns

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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