ELECTION 2014: Candidate Q and A: Keli Westgate in Oyama ward

District of Lake Country: Keli Westgate is running for councillor in the Oyama ward

1. What is the biggest issue facing Lake Country in the next four years.

Waste management, which is also connected to the health and cleanliness of our water. I’d like to explore alternative options for this such as composting toilets where possible, greywater (from sinks and showers) usage, rainwater harvesting and gravity-fed irrigation. Our beautiful, clean lakes are one of the main reasons we all live here, so we must ensure they are not polluted.

2. What is the biggest issue facing your specific ward?

For businesses: The new highway vis-a-vis signage and access, declining traffic affecting sales.

For residents: Safety on Pelmewash Parkway and the new highway and waste management in terms of aging septic systems.

3. How do you think Lake Country should go about attracting business?

First I think we need to define what types of business the people in Lake Country are willing to allow. This relates back to the vision and effort put into the Official Community Plan and the Lake Country Sustainability Plan. Lake Country is not in competition with Vernon or Kelowna, we have a unique opportunity to strategically and intentionally plan to support businesses that are not destructive, polluting, wasteful or unsustainable. With the advent of social media, people have new ways to find opportunities and we have new avenues of welcoming them and sharing our stories.

I invite the residents to share their ideas of what types of businesses they’d like to see here, so we can create a cohesive vision together that we can all enjoy and benefit from.

4. Do you support the restructuring that took place in the last municipal term in Lake Country municipal hall? Why or why not?

I was not around when the restructuring took place, and therefor can’t comment fully. All I will say is that it appears to me there could be a bottleneck in development and requests as they all must go through one person, the Administrator. Also, there seems to be a defecit in the Parks and Rec department which is one thing residents feel is very important. Parks and Recreation should be a dedicated Committee since the population is growing, the job is different than infrastructure and this is an important issue for everyone.

5. Why should voters vote for you over any of the other choices available on the ballot this year?

Living in a town or area for a long time does not automatically make you more qualified for the position.

Having lived in a number of places, small towns as well as cities, I have watched how each deal with their problems. With the issues facing Oyama, I believe a fresh perspective will help. I have up-to-date ideas which are rooted in solutions, I have a background permaculture which offers a constructive way of looking at problems with the benefit of the majority in mind.

I also have experience in communications and multi-media which qualify me to promote this area in the most spectacular way possible.

I have done workshop facilitation and recently emceed an event in Vernon that got residents working together to solve problems and increase that community’s resilience. I hope to do the same in Lake Country