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: Maxine DeHart (incumbent)
Why would you make an effective city councillor?
I have been a Kelowna city councillor since 2011. I have been a director on the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce board and a director on the Central Okanagan Regional District. I have worked at a senior level in Kelowna’s tourism industry for 35 years. I feel I have a very strong knowledge of the issues of our city and its residents. I listen to the public and take the time to understand what their needs are. I make decisions for the city as a whole and always try to be accessible and responsive to taxpayers.
In your view, what is the number one issue facing the city today and how would you deal with it knowing City Hall has only so much power.
Public safety affects how we live, work and play. Improved public safety will attract and retain people, business, and investment in our community. I will continue to lobby governments to change the laws to keep repeat offenders off our streets; work with other governments, communities, and police to make residents safe in their homes and businesses; ensure people of all ages and abilities can enjoy the Okanagan lifestyle safely and affordably.
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.
This beautiful valley is surrounded by mountains and lakes, and we currently have close to 50 per cent of our land mass in the ALR. This makes it very challenging for road access and transportation. I believe in connectivity and that will enhance our road networks, transit, walking and cycling paths. I would, however, like to see the north-end connector completed in the next term. This will only be achieved by lobbying other governments for the necessary funding. I also feel that further development of our vibrant downtown and other town centers will certainly reduce traffic as we live, work, and play close to home.
Do you think Kelowna is growing too fast?
Kelowna is a very attractive place to live. Many people who live in larger urban areas are coming to our city for an enhanced quality of life. Of course, we are having challenges keeping up with our fast-growing population. We now will have to focus on public safety by providing the amenities to keep up with the growth, in the areas of health, housing, parks, recreation, and transit.
How would you make Kelowna more affordable.
The city has little control over the housing market and the demand for housing in this area. We can only provide help to build more diverse types of housing for rental or purchase, including condominiums, townhomes, single-family dwellings, carriage homes and suites. The more housing on the market will allow the market to adjust in the right direction. We also need to constantly be reassessing our permitting and development processes and how they affect the cost of housing.
If you had $1 Million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?
When you consider the high rising costs of construction, repurposing, or transportation; $1 million does not go very far. I would put the money towards our greatest need which is public safety.