Candidates on affordability

Castanet is giving some insight into what the four candidates for the Kelowna mayor's chair think about several pertinent issues. We posed the same seven questions to each of the candidates, and will publish the answers, one at a time through next Thursday.

The order in which the answers are published will change each day for fairness.

Question #7 Kelowna is one of the most expensive cities in which to live in Canada. The price of a newly built, single-detached home is now more than $1.1 million. How do you propose to make Kelowna more affordable and livable?

Bobby Kennedy - I would first and foremost work on attracting new industry to our region to provide more jobs and better paying jobs. The Cannabis industry is a prime example of an industry that our region already excels at underground and with legalization just around the corner we have a huge opportunity to capitalize on this already proven industry. By lobbying the B.C. government to champion the induction of micro producer licenses we will be able to alleviate the stronghold the black market has on this industry by providing the opportunity for these amazing growers to join the legal white market.

This will immediately bring hundreds of new jobs to our area that directly relate to our middle class and can be applied as great secondary income opportunities for households. I would also introduce a TAX INCENTIVE for any existing or potential new business to our city that hires UBCO and OC students first and foremost. This is a great way to retain and attract business as well as give our recent graduates a stronghold on job placement to be able to create the job security needed when trying to plant long term roots. This type of TAX INCENTIVE could be especially attractive to our ever growing TECH INDUSTRY. 

I also believe that the mindset of bigger is better is coming to an end and would look to new solutions that maximize living units to land ratio such as the highly efficient shipping container community model that is popping up all over the globe. As pointed out before the taco stand downtown in the laneway behind Earls restaurant is a prime example of how this strategy can also be applied to business. This type of development would also help put us on the leading edge of reducing our carbon footprint development wise as well as prove to people that green energy and sustainability is not just a trend but in fact the future of our valley if we are going to do our part to battle climate change.

Bob Schewe - Supply and demand has driven up the cost of housing dramatically in recent years. One of the things that we could look at is the possible unlocking of the inactive agricultural properties scattered about the city. These properties in the ALR are not utilized for any agricultural purpose and could be developed with more affordable modest homes and condos. That of course would have to be in concert with the ALR provincial authority.

Colin Basran - Kelowna is a world-class city, with unbelievable natural beauty and desirable amenities. That’s why more and more people hope to call this place their home. With that in mind, If we don’t build more housing the prices will reach levels much higher than today. We can continue the unaffordable sprawl and destroy our green spaces or we can embrace density instead. The only responsible way to address housing affordability and traffic concerns is to encourage density in our town centres where people can live, work, and play in the same neighbourhood; imagine more areas like the Pandosy Village in the Lower Mission.

That’s why we amended zoning bylaws to remove barriers for builders to diversify housing options. We partnered with BC Housing to bring more than 300 affordable housing rental units to Kelowna and encouraged the development of more than 3,000 rental units by increasing the Rental Housing Grants program. We also completed the Urban Infill Challenge (RU7 Zone) to promote multi-family units in existing neighbourhoods.

Our next step is to fully implement the “Healthy Housing Strategy” which will help improve affordability and availability of housing in our community.

Tom Dyas - Council and city staff embarked upon the visioning exercise, “Vision Kelowna” which was then translated into the Growth Strategies. “Pick your Path” consultation was interactive and positive, save only that it didn’t show citizens what their choices meant to affordability, livability, and housing modes.  This is still an issue.  Single family housing is still the least expensive mode of housing for the citizens of Kelowna, and while we want to be leaders in sustainability, we must balance this against affordability of housing for our city. 

People do not understand that a home in the Upper Mission costs the same as a downtown concrete condo. While a condo may be more sustainable, it is not more livable than living in a single-family home.  We need to make sure that our missing middle has housing. Currently, that isn’t part of our plan and would help with affordability.

The best way to address affordability is to increase supply, decrease bureaucracy, wisely consult with the development and building industry to lower costs, and advocate with all levels of government to decrease the cost of new homes.  Policy right now is working against these aspects of affordability, and we can make housing more affordable while increasing smart sustainability.  

My role as mayor is to facilitate good fact finding and discussion, communicate with all key parties, then collectively decide on the best solutions and lead the drive for action and result. I will lead collaboration, with the focus and determination to achieve the best for the citizens of Kelowna. 

Together, we will do better.

More Kelowna News

Recent Trending



Soft 103.9

Kelowna SPCA Featured Pet

Bonnie Kelowna SPCA >



Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada