I have had the chance to see Kelowna change from the small town it was when we moved here in 1981, to the booming metropolis it is today.
With many great mayors and councils, as well as City of Kelowna staff and other stakeholders, the evolution of our city to its current status has been remarkable and something we are very proud of. We are lucky to call it home.
Having been part of the community by owning my own business for 28 years, and by volunteering, supporting and helping many not-for-profit organizations, it has proven important to be able to support the kind of city council I believe has been needed, and is needed today.
I believe it takes the entire community to make a great community, which is evident by me being honoured in 2009 with the Women of the Year award.
We chose to move to Kelowna from Vancouver 41 years ago because we wanted to be able to give our family the opportunity to be close to the ski hill at Big White and close to Okanagan Lake. We are all glad we did. We wanted to have a safer, small-town experience for our family, and feel we have had—and do have— exactly that experience even with the rapid population growth as many people flock here.
Being a parent of six children, one of whom has special needs, has allowed me to experience the many opportunities and challenges we have here in Kelowna.
My career takes me downtown daily as I walk the alleyways regularly from meeting to meeting. Not only am I not worried about being assaulted by the folks I come across, I regularly have conversations with them and know many by name.
Kelowna, and every other city we have ever travelled to around the world, have safety issues and (residents) voice concern regarding those who are financially compromised. Some (cities) have additional issues and other challenges our city and region do not have.
Working with other levels of government, I feel the steps our city councils of the past took have made a positive difference and need to continue. Will we keep (adding) these types of programs? Absolutely, and likely for a long time as we work with other cities to share programming that works.
We need to help our city council and other levels of government make positive change through a variety of proven support methods.
As with many (residents) who have shared their support for current Mayor Colin Basran, the feeling is we need to support his good work as a proven leader through tough times by voting for him on Oct. 15.
In closing, I thought I would share my husband, former city councillor and area MLA, John Weisbeck’s perspective.
He believes in giving a hand up, not a handout and that is exactly what Basran’s guidance and programming—with the collaboration of the current council—has done and should continue to provide for those who need our help in our community and region.
Alli McNeill, Kelowna