Black Press Media is reaching out to all candidates running for Kelowna council in the 2022 municipal election, asking for their response to three specific issues about the community, as well as a fun question. Responses will be published in the order they are received.
Charlie Hodge - Incumbent councillor
If elected, how do you think council should manage growth and development in Kelowna?
Controlling growth is difficult in a desirable place to live such as Kelowna. Zoning and our OCP are key tools. We need to get a handle on development numbers as I am concerned we are willy-nilly with no inventory on how many micro suites, bachelors suits, rentals …etc. we have now - and what is coming down the pipe. Do we need a moratorium on what is built where?
In 2021, Kelowna had the second highest property rate crime in the country, what should city council do to help address street and property crime in the city?
There are really four issues on our streets. The truly addicted, the mentally ill, the truly homeless, and the criminal element. The city has been effective recently in lobbying for more complex care and housing support for mental health or those with addictions - but we need a lot more. Looking after those with addiction and mental health issues through housing or facilities helps us then delineate who remains on the street as truly homeless. (See next question). Dealing with the criminal element remaining behind, council can lobby the provincial and federal governments to open more courts, hire more judges, and build more facilities for lawbreakers so that criminals are not returned to the streets within a few days. That must end. As time passes, I am open to considering the concept of our own police component. Courts and judges first though.
In your view, what is council’s responsibility in assisting those experiencing homelessness, and providing affordable housing for Kelowna residents?
We have been and will continue to promote infill and diversified housing, rental suites, and carriage houses. With new construction and developer applications, we often require or lobby for a percentage to be rental or lower cost. We can offer incentives. However, we do not control bank rates, mortgages, or people’s decisions on where to move or live.
Who is your favourite Okanagan celebrity and why?
Really? Not sure we have any, lol. However, just for sport, my celebrities are Brad Sieben and Ryan Donn. The two have served our city well and I am sorry to see them leave. Both brought unique skills and knowledge to the table and will be missed. However, choosing family with young children first is the right decision for them. The right thing to do!