Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to city council candidates in both Kelowna and West Kelowna to help voters get to know those putting their names forward. Between the two cities, 45 people are running for city councillor.
All candidates have been given the same questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. Responses will be published daily in the weeks ahead. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is here and is being updated daily.
Election day is Oct. 15.
Kelowna candidate: Sacheen Collecutt
Why would you make an effective city councillor?
My extensive hands on experience in mental health, will help to provide proper guidance and oversight to develop much needed health programs that actually work. That is my commitment to the people of this city. With over 15 years of mental health experience in various capacities, including creating rehabilitation programs. I have seen the gaps within our provincial systems that need to be filled to create success.
In your view, what is the number one issue facing the city today, and how would you deal with it knowing city hall only has so much power?
The escalation of crime is a major issue, yet is only a symptom of the underlying problems our city is experiencing. Crime is a result of societal obstacles that have contributed to poverty, the opioid epidemic, homelessness, and addiction. We need to focus on keeping all our citizens safe, what could be more important?
It could be decades before a second bridge is built across Okanagan Lake. How do you deal with Kelowna's transportation bottleneck in the meantime?
I would work with city planners and engineers to look at all options to increase traffic flow. This upgraded bridge was just replaced around 2008, the need for a new one is a result of accelerated growth which has created new congestion issues. So having another bridge isn't realistic to be done within the next decade or so, we have to look at short term solutions. I believe that there must be options that haven't been looked at yet.
Do you think Kelowna is growing too fast?
Change is important, however we need to take a pause on uncontrolled growth until we can get our policing, hospital and emergency services restored. We need to get our city safe again. Unless these issues are addressed, Kelowna is going to lose its attraction very quickly if the rate of crime, homelessness, and affordable housing aren't made priority.
How would you make Kelowna more affordable?
In the last few years Kelowna developments have most identified with those who can afford the most. I would reach out to developers to provide more inclusive products for those of all income brackets. We need to look at win-win solutions for everyone, and this includes the residents that live year round in Kelowna, as well as the ones who want to be here for other reasons, such as vacationing.
If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?
I would want to get the homeless off the streets by Christmas. We cannot keep neglecting those who are in need and right now, that list is growing exponentially. Housing is a basic human need and if we cannot create a level of basic needs to those who are already struggling, then we have completely failed as a community, a city that claims to put it's citizens first.