I have lived in Penticton 41 years, married for 43 years with two daughters and two grandsons.
I opened Peach City Runners in 1998 and it is now in its 23rd year of operation. I’m a commercial property owner, race director of Ironman Canada, Challenge Penticton, owner of Peach Classic Triathlon, Ultra520K Canada Triathlon and more.
As the social fabric of Penticton is changing dramatically, especially in the last five years, I felt it was time to step up and help to find solutions to the issues of the day.
I am not professing to have the answers so much as I want to be part of the solution and I am willing to put in the time and effort to help guide our community through these times. Many of the issues are not ours alone but rather the city plays a supporting role, and we need to find the consensus that will work. We have a beautiful community that I love and want nothing but the best for it now and in the future. I want to put my years of experience and knowledge as a manager to good use.
Q: How would you address the housing crisis?
A: The housing crisis is a worldwide phenomenon and what we see in Penticton is a trickle-down effect of other social influences beyond our control, however, the city plays an important support role. We need a cooperative approach that includes senior levels of government, developers, not-for-profit organizations, and the city to relook at our Official Community Plan and consider higher densities, waiver of development fees, zoning bylaws and other affordability issues. The plan should identify housing development areas, so Penticton controls its own development.
Q: How would you address rising crime rates and the social issues impacting Penticton?
A: A task force made up of representatives from the homeless population, our newly appointed addictions nurse, by-law, community police officer, a business community representative and city social development specialist need to be established. Collectively they can work toward developing an interactive strategy, so all parties are working together to help resolve the issues that are leading to unwanted behavior. We need to give the homeless population a sense of belonging to the community and a voice to help promote better social behaviors.
Q: Do you have a plan to support small business?
A: I believe that once COVID restrictions are lifted, the recovery will be quicker than people think, given the pent-up demand for products and services and the ingenuity of our business owners. The city can play a role in that process by revisiting the parking regulations to make them fairer for our downtown merchants, continued support through property tax and utility rate subsidies. Make licensing easier for patios and restaurants, ease restrictions to make the downtown more walkable and fun and support for our festivals and events by waiving fees and removing red tape.
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 facing the community?
A: Low barrier housing is just the first step to supporting the homeless population, but housing alone will not solve the issues impacting the community. An increase in the availability of treatment facilities and services is required, the reinstatement of the Pathways funding by Interior Health or directly from the province, along with initiatives that engage the homeless population with the community to create a stronger sense of place and belonging.
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