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.
Rick Webber - Council Candidate
If elected, how do you think council should manage growth and development in Kelowna?
To meet the city’s rapid growth, Kelowna must continue to bolster the construction of new housing, especially affordable homes and rentals. At the same time, the city must take a closer look at the potential impact of major developments, particularly high-rise condo towers. For instance, how many towers can the downtown support in terms of streets, water, sewer, and other infrastructure?
We need better guidelines regarding the proximity of such towers and their street-level environmental impact. And perhaps most importantly, does the Kelowna Fire Department have the necessary resources to fight a major fire in one of these buildings safely and effectively?
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?
In a recent survey for the city, 25 percent of Kelowna residents reported they have been the victim of crime in the past year. Personally, I have been accosted twice on the streets in the past two years and witnessed a variety of property crimes. We need to do more to maintain public safety and reduce property crimes against residents and businesses. I certainly support council’s goal to hire more RCMP officers. At the same time, the city must continue to work with senior governments to increase sentences for repeat offenders and to provide more effective aid for those with addiction.
In your view, what is councils’ responsibility in assisting those experiencing homelessness, and providing affordable housing for Kelowna residents?
In recent years, the city has done well in providing housing for the homeless. However, our experience now shows demand for such housing will always exceed supply. The current program, its goals, and its funding need to be reviewed. The city must continue to search out partnerships and to cut red tape to provide more affordable housing.
Who is your favourite Okanagan celebrity and why?
Former Global Okanagan weatherman Mike Roberts.