Benny Wolfe announced Tuesday morning his intentions to challenge Dan Ashton in the race for mayor of Penticton in this fall’s civic elections.
Wolfe, who received 96 votes in the 2008 mayoral race, said Penticton needs a mayor who knows what is going on in the city all 24 hours of the day and “feels the pulse of the people.”
“I base everything on common sense,” Wolfe said. “I am always walking around Penticton day and night, seeing what is going on and seeing what is happening with businesses, so I feel like I have a good grip on the city.
“I attend a lot of functions. I’m a member of the Seniors Outreach Centre. I know what is going on in the city.”
Wolfe said he will make improving the local economy his most important issue.
“We have been caught in this stalemate for the last three years with businesses shutting down, vacant stores, vacant offices and people being laid off,” he said. “They have to show that Penticton is open for business, because as far as I’m concerned Penticton is not open for business.”
Wolfe said the current council is not doing enough for the economy.
“I would have an economic person out there searching for industry; searching for businesses that want to relocate; giving tax breaks and giving incentives to relocate here,” explained Wolfe, who said he is not familiar with the city’s economic incentive zone program promoted by both city staff and chamber economic development officer David Arsenault.
Wolfe said as mayor he would work to create a medical tourism industry in Penticton.
“Right now there is a shortage of doctors and there are people who do need medical help right away. They have to go to the States or they have to go to private clinics,” said Wolfe. “Maybe a lot of people won’t like it, but we need to establish private clinics here and we need to entice doctors to come here because medical tourism is the up-and-coming industry. Let’s take advantage of it.”
Wolfe said his campaign would also dwell on improving basic services, roads, the RCMP headquarters’ hours of operation, the Penticton Community Centre and its swimming pool and the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
He also said he would like to create free street and city-lot parking throughout the downtown core; freeze property taxes; freeze all wages at the municipality; and bring a homeless shelter for woman to the city.