ELECTION 2014: Candidate Q and A: Penny Gambell for councillor at large

District of Lake Country: Penny Gambell running for councillor at large seat on council

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

There are 3 big issues facing Lake Country in the next four years in my opinion. Infrastructure which includes roads, drainage, and active, safe modes of travel are the first issue where there is a huge need for maintenance and upgrading of service. The second issue is economic development with a focus on the completion of the Town Centre/Main Street area and Turtle Crossing.  I believe it is vital that we work hard to diversify our tax base while providing a place where people can work and shop locally. The third issue is the completion of a Parks Master plan with extensive public input through surveys and broad based meetings so we can plan our next 20 years of park development in Lake Country. Grants and government programs require good planning. We need a comprehensive plan that addresses park development in each of the four wards where there are distinct needs.

Several new issues that I will work with the community on are: a replacement site for the Boys and Girls Club, a new Food Bank, safer intersections in Oyama and Glenmore Road, and a new location for a golf course.

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

Lake Country is benefiting from our economic development staff where the restructure of our operations has put a focus. We need to build recognition for the Lake Country brand: Life, the Okanagan Way in order to attract the kind of business that is a good fit in our community. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful area surrounded by lakes, more walking trails, near UBCO and the Kelowna Airport. Growth will come to this community without doubt, but how we manage the growth is the job that Council needs to do well.

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

I strongly support the restructuring that arose from the Business Systems Review that began in 2011. After the severe downturn of 2008, building that was instream continued, but by 2011 it was obvious that the recession was having a major impact on our community. To maintain services, keep taxes affordable, and begin to address the growing gaps in infrastructure such as our roads (200 kilometers in Lake Country), we hired a consultant to examine our operations. There were reductions in staffing in 2012 and again in 2014 as well as some new hires in areas where we saw a need. Also, we reorganized our departments in a more holistic way which we believe will work much more efficiently than it has in the past.  We have already had a number of comments from applicants that the service at City Hall is much improved. I believe we need to closely monitor the changes to ensure that in fact the restructure continues to benefit the citizens of Lake Country.

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

I offer the citizens of Lake Country my time and commitment to the job of Councillor at Large. I have experience from the past nine years on Council and many leadership positions in my past life. I am available to listen to the concerns of my constituents with an open ear. As an independent thinker, I am keen to question and search out answers to help us make the best decisions for the future of Lake Country.