Ouellette takes a run at Shepherd

Sharon Shepherd will face-off against a familiar foe when she seeks a third consecutive term as Kelowna's mayor November 19.

Kim Ouellette has announced she will also run for the city's top political chair for a third time.

As a newcomer, Ouellette garnered just 115 votes in a five-person race for mayor in 2005 before picking up 4,056 votes (24%) in a head-to-head race with Shepherd in 2008.

Ouellette also sought a seat on council during the 2009 by-election, finishing 13th in a 15-person race with just 45 votes.

"I believe it is time for a change," says Ouellette on why she is running.

"I think mayor and council are not doing what I think the people of Kelowna want them to do as far as infrastructure. City spending is not going to the right areas."

Ouellette says the city needs to concentrate on creating infrastructure that is needed now before growth gets out of hand.

As for spending, she says the city needs to cut back.

She says if that means a freeze on wages, including council wages, so be it.

"City Council just went through a discussion that they should get a raise. I don't think that would be fair when the economy hasn't bounced back. I don't think a raise at this point would be a smart idea."

Ouellette believes downtown revitalization and affordable housing are two of the main issues in the November 19 election campaign.

She says higher taxes downtown is a major factor in the number of business closures.

"The economy has not bounced back and for the average earner it's hard," adds Ouellette.

"We need more affordable housing, and without affordable housing there will be no workers. If we want to keep our young people and students graduating from UBC Okanagan in Kelowna to work, have fun, live and raise their families, we have to create a system that works for affordable housing."

As for downtown, Ouellette, a supporter of the failed CD21 Zone, says council needs to restrict development to six storeys between Abbott and Ellis streets with higher density (15 to 20 storeys) set further back..

"We won't lose our city park and we won't lose the beauty of being able to see the lake with all those high rises in front."

Ouellette admits she is not an experienced politician, saying she's just "an average person making an average income."

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