Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to each candidate running for local council in the South Okanagan.
All candidates have been given the same questions, and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is available here and is being updated daily.
Election day is Oct. 15.
Blair Parker: Summerland council candidate
Why would you make an effective municipal councillor?
With more than 20 years in business management I have the prerequisite skills, including being fiscally responsible and accountable. I have knowledge and experience in budgeting, creating and managing programs, human resources, and complex problem solving. I will bring fresh ideas to the table to make Summerland a better place. I am straight forward, direct, and I do not talk in circles.
If we truly want to be inclusive, council needs a diversity of opinions to match the diversity of the opinions of the citizens. We also need to engage with the citizens through committees and consultation to make sure their voices are heard and I’m willing to create and serve on such committees. There are lots of brilliant people in our community but they may not want the limelight of being on council and we need to tap their knowledge and experience to move forward for the common good. After the election I would invite all candidates to serve on these committees as they obviously all have the desire to serve.
In your view, what is the number one issue facing Summerland today, and how would you deal with it, knowing Municipal Hall only has so much power?
In my view roads are undoubtedly one of the post pressing issues which nobody can deny but others may tell you it’s the aquatic centre, or the dog park and that diversity of opinion is great. I’m sure through consultation, negotiation, and compromise we can find solutions that best fit our community.
Yes, the power mayor and council have is limited, but there are bylaws we can draft to help create positive change that will better our community well into the future. councils only employee is the CAO and it is imperative to have someone that works well with council and can convey those wishes through to staff, because after all council is the voice of the people who pay the taxes.
How would you make Summerland more affordable?
A bylaw that would make us more attractive to developers, so they don’t have to chase ever changing goal posts. This would increase inventory which would translate into lower prices so the average family can afford a home without having to worry about being in debt at retirement.
As for lower income housing there was also an idea floated at the all candidates forum by Councillor Patan about 29 square-metre apartments that incur no development fees as per the BC Municipalities Act. Councillor Van Alphen also mentioned the lot by the badminton hall that the city already owns as a potential site. We need to all come together and recognize the good ideas, even when they’re not our own.
What is one example of a time you agreed with Summerland council over the past term, and one where you disagreed?
Water twinning and paving of Garnet Valley Road, everyone deserves clean water.
I completely disagreed with using taxpayer owned land that was suitable and slated for housing as a location for a solar power installation. The solar project would be far greener if placed at the landfill site on capped off cells and could be expanded as future cells are capped off as well. There is virtually no other uses for capped off landfill cells. That may not be as “pretty” but when we need housing and land is finite it sure makes more sense to me. That’s before talking about the value of the land to taxpayers if sold to a developer.
If you had $1 million to spend on anything for Summerland, how would you spend it?
Roads and water lines may not be glamorous projects but when I turn on the tap I expect water and I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment.
Picture Summerland 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?
To thrive we need to attract more citizens through responsible development and more commerce, but nobody wants to drive on roads that are in such poor condition.