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: Charlie Hodge (incumbent)
Why would you make an effective city councillor?
I am an effective councillor.
I believe I represent the average citizen and bring a down-home, common-sense voice of reason to the council table. It is a role I take very seriously. I was born and raised in the Okanagan, grew up in Kelowna, it’s always been home.
I listen to people, hear them out and do my best to put their voice forward. I ask the questions no one else does. My nickname at the council table is ‘lone wolf’ and I wear that one with pride.
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?
There is no ONE issue. However, the multiple issues including community safety and crime stem from growth. Controlling growth is difficult in a desirable place to live such as Kelowna. Zoning, official community plan and lobbying the provincial and federal governments to do what they can are key tools
We need to get a handle on development numbers as I am concerned we are willy-nilly with an inventory on how many micro suites, bachelors suits, rentals, etc. we have now and what is coming down the pipe. Do we need a moratorium of what is built where? The city has been effective recently in lobbying for more complex care and housing support — we need more. We likewise need to open the courts and perhaps build more facilities for lawbreakers so that criminals are not just returned to the streets within a few days. That must end.
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 am not fully convinced a second crossing is needed – or at least where it is planned. We need to reduce car dependency which may mean a huge investment in clean, effective alternate transportation and even perhaps bold moves such as free (or heavily subsidized) transit, starting with seniors or in certain areas. We have done tremendous work with bike routes etcetera however we have many residents who do not or cannot ride bikes and need to be accommodated. I further maintain we need a valley travel plan with light rail (or something akin), and an effective transportation network.
Do you think Kelowna is growing too fast?
How would you make Kelowna more affordable?
Not sure you do. Around the world you have cities that cost more to live and play in. It is part of the reality of why people come here. You pay more to live in paradise. At the same time those who do not charge as much for product or service do well because of it. Tax incentives for construction especially rental housing and diversified housing help.
If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?
Can you make that $5 million because one won’t get you much these days for just one million? Splitting it up amongst organizations with community care or safety I suppose.
On a personal fixation I suppose I would have a demonstration home or office built with full out ‘green’ thinking and materials such as green walls, solar panels, green roofs, healthy amenity spaces, thermodynamics, rainwater retention to inspire and motivate developers, builders, property or business owners to think clean and sustainable when building in Kelowna.