In his two decades in the community, Jason Cox has consistently and constantly been involved in service to the community as a member of dozens of boards and city committees.
His experience as an elected member of the chamber board has given him the opportunity to advocate for and represent Penticton to many levels of government and valuable relationships around Penticton and the province. His experience with many not-for-profit boards gives him considerable perspective on social issues facing the city and importantly how to contribute to solutions.
Professionally, Cox is a business banker and entrepreneur. Working for years with a local credit union and for two major banks, he has helped many businesses in the community grow and create employment. As a business owner, Cox developed innovative local products that brought national attention to Penticton.
Cox, and his partner Millie, are parents to four wonderful daughters, ranging in age from 21 to 16.
Cox feels he has the experience, education and enthusiasm to step in and be effective on council from day one, in service to the city he loves.
Q: How would you address the housing crisis?
A: The housing crisis is multifaceted. I look at housing as a spectrum from home ownership, to rentals, to supportive housing, to those without a home at all. An answer to the supply and cost is to increase development. The city owns several sites downtown that are currently underutilized and would be great spots for new developments. City council could lead an initiative to offer tax incentives or density bonuses to meet the needs of both the builder and the community.
Q: How would you address rising crime rates and social issues?
A: The social situation is a combination of sometimes overlapping factors of poverty, addictions, mental health and crime.
The concern that I have had in recent years from this and prior councils is that there only seems to be one response and that has been to increase law enforcement.
In truth, we need a variety of tools for each job and I would advocate for increased, on the ground, provincial support for addictions and mental health to free up our bylaw and RCMP to deal with issues of crime rather than issues of poverty.
There should be a community strategy and if elected, I would like to lead an initiative to develop a Made In Penticton Plan.
Q: Do you have a plan to support small business?
As a business banker, this is what I do every day. Working with entrepreneurs to improve and grow their businesses. I believe that the role of local government in job creation is setting a business-friendly environment. This includes keeping the cost of doing business affordable by holding business taxes, utility rates and the mill rate at a level that doesn’t overburden the business owner before they even open their door.
Q: Do you support more low-barrier supportive housing or what do you think can address the addictions and mental health issues?
A: In keeping with my belief that housing is a spectrum, I believe that a housing-first approach is the proven best practice. Getting people off the streets and in from the cold into a shelter is the start. Housing first is not housing only. The province needs to provide street-level support for mental health (through the Health Authority) and addictions. Community agencies like Pathways need to remain in place.
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