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Penticton Votes: Meet mayoral candidate Owen Hayward

Candidates asked about views on housing, crime and bike lanes

The following is part of Penticton Western News coverage of the 2022 municipal election.

Mayoral candidates were asked to provide a short bio about themselves, and then respond to three questions concerning key issues for Penticton residents and voters.

The questions were the following:

1. What are your solutions to housing supply and affordability in Penticton?

2. What are tangible things the city can do to improve public safety?

3. Are you satisfied with how the bike lane was implemented and would you support expanding the bike lane network?

Every candidate was given the same limitations in the size of their bio and responses, as well as the timeline in which to provide them. Candidates were allowed to decide how they wished to distribute their words. Here are the answers from mayoral candidate Owen Hayward:

My name is Owen Hayward and I’m running to be the mayor of Penticton.

I’m a married father of three young adults establishing careers in tourism, nursing and trades. I’m a semi-retired curling icemaker.

My wife and I have been homeowners in Penticton for 10 years. I have lived in all western provinces and worked on four continents. We chose Penticton as our eventual retirement home.

I have closely followed local issues for the past 12 years. The residents, families, volunteers, small businesses and workers of Penticton deserve better local governance.

1. Housing.

Let’s modify/tweak the OCP, modify some of the zoning and provide incentives to developers to help increase density and include a percentage of affordable housing. I would also modify our tendering process to give preference to local developers and builders.

2. Public Safety.

Let’s get back to basics — I would hire more firefighters and police so they can properly do their work.

More importantly, I would create a task force with a mandate to create the most efficient, effective and helpful Homeless/Mental Health/Addiction support system ever seen in B.C.

The city should collaborate with, coordinate and augment the existing volunteer and non-profit organizations that are currently doing the heavy lifting. There are too many people in Penticton who desperately need help. It doesn’t matter how we got to this point – we need to deal with what is.

My vision is a city where every citizen knows exactly where to direct those that need help and feels safe enough to do so. As a community, we need to provide food, clothing, shelter and guidance to those in need.

If we address this matter properly, it will take the strain off our police, firefighters and health care system. In the long run, it will save us big money which can be used to provide more public amenities.

3. Bike Lanes.

I believe in bike lanes, electric vehicles and all efforts to lessen our carbon footprint.

However, the way our recent bike lane was implemented and the total cost are/were both unacceptable. It may end up being the most expensive per metre bike lane ever built.

Whatever we do going forward has to be done with better communication, public input, collaboration, compromise and definitely in a more cost-effective manner.

Here are some other things I would do: keep, renovate and beautify Memorial Arena, McLaren Arena, the library, and art gallery. Keep free parking at our beaches. Keep all of our parks and add to them. Amend downtown parking to be by donation. Add a two-sheet ice facility. Add a skate park near Skaha Lake.