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: Ron Cannan
Why would you make an effective city councillor?
Experienced, accessible and proactive. Good listener, entrepreneurial and collegial. Only council candidate that has worked with all levels of government and have excellent contacts across the country. Nine years as Kelowna Councillor plus over nine years as MP for Kelowna-Lake Country. Secured funding for passport office, Innovation Centre and more. I like to help connect people and to get things done (not just do a study or another report). I have the time to commit to the responsibilities and will serve with integrity. Family, friends and community are a priority! A team player, open minded, common sense consensus builder.
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?
Crime capital of Canada, mental health, homelessness and lack of attainable housing opportunities are somewhat interconnected. Housing first for persons with addictions/mental health has proven successful in Finland and other countries. Expand complex care model with wrap around services. Visit my website for more details. Young and old alike are unable to afford the cost of housing. Now, the macro answer to addressing this problem is ‘build more housing’. However, we need to do that in an intelligent and well thought out way. We need to connect neighbourhoods and focus on transit-oriented development to help lower overall housing costs. Provide hope for the hopeless!
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?
Currently, Kelowna’s land use decisions have added to the Harvey Ave parking lot by encouraging sprawl development. West Kelowna and Lake Country residents are using Kelowna’s roads/services and not paying taxes. We need a regional transportation and growth management plan that has “teeth” and accountability measures. Visit my website for more transportation ideas such as improving transit and exploring a true rails with trails corridor. I don’t believe in coercion, only in offering the best possible alternatives. I would rather provide residents excellent alternatives to driving & have them make the choice of not driving themselves. Advocate for Uber!
Do you think Kelowna is growing too fast?
Kelowna is a beautiful City & people want to move here! I want our city to continue to attract families, professionals, entrepreneurs and good hard working people to come live here. However, I do feel as though we could be growing smarter. Our crime rate & homeless is skyrocketing plus housing is unaffordable for many. Unfortunately, as a result of a combination of mismanagement and poor planning, our city is not growing in a smart way and we cannot keep up. We have a serious infrastructure deficit! Our roads, water & sewer systems plus our public transit are lacking and in need of serious updating!
How would you make Kelowna more affordable?
By bringing new ideas & ways we can work with private & non profit organizations like Knights of Columbus and Society of Hope Housing Societies. Construct non-market/market rental, more co-op housing and provide zoning breaks for carriage homes. Improved & affordable transportation choices including reliable and expanded transit. Also, Kelowna residents deserve a local government that operates without waste. Our city bureaucracy has significantly increased over the years, as have our taxes. Suggest a thorough review of city operations to ensure that our city is operating as efficiently as possible. We can’t keep doing the same things & expect different results. That is insanity. Time for change!
If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?
Unfortunately, $1 million doesn’t go as far as it once did. Since Kelowna is the crime capital of Canada I would start by allocating funds towards resources we need to combat crime. Re-open community policing stations ,stronger support for block watches, citizen patrol, RCMP Auxiliary, work closer with the Chamber, DKA, URBA & Residents Associations. Advocate for more crown prosecutors, lobby to change “catch and release” legal system, empower by-law officers (similar to Alberta) to address petty crime & free up police to deal with more serious criminal activity. Less emphasis on parking violations and more emphasis on safety & security of people!