Municipal Elections 2014  

Questioning the candidates #8

In part eight of our 10 part series questioning the 31 candidates running for one of eight councillor positions in Kelowna, Castanet News asked each candidate:

Question #8 - How do you propose to tackle transportation issues including road networks, transit, walking and cycling paths?

--Note: Candidates who do not appear did not send in an answer in time for this feature.

Billie Aaltonen - We need to address issues of density and lifestyle to see how best to approach this. We have a few ideas also that will be announced this week to help with the issues.

Ken Chung - I have a vision for the traffic issues and transit, as for walking and cycling paths they need to continue to grow. 

Cal Condy - Transit should be designed locally...by local transit riders.

Maxine DeHart - I believe in connectivity to enhance our road networks, transit, walking and cycling paths. I also am fully supportive of purchasing the Rails with Trails Corridor from CN Rail running from Kelowna to Vernon. The City of Kelowna and Council was committed to this the past three years, i.e. Rutland Exchange, Mission Exchange (Capital News Centre) and the connection from West Kelowna to Kelowna. Cycle paths have been increased, along with walking and hiking trails with park acquisitions with the Regional District. We must continue to invest and budget for all transportation.

Ryan Donn - The community has resoundly spoken to me throughout the campaign that cycling paths are one of their largest priorities. It came up in every second conversation I have had with the community. The John Hindell drive connection between Glenmore and UBCO and a safe connection between downtown and UBCO for cyclists has also came up time and time again. These projects would be high priorities for me on council although I feel that the John Hindell drive may be solved before we go to the polls. In regards to how I would tackle our issues. Let's start with the truth that at the core of our culture we love our cars. For all the chatter and investment in transit and walkable communities, given the choice, most of us would choose to drive three blocks rather than walk or bike. It's crazy but true. Most candidates, including me, are talking about walkable communities where folks can live, work and play. We already have consensus building with that topic but we have lots of work to do. Cycle routes, car share initiatives, carless incentives will all be part of our initial topics as we converse about this at the council level.

Ken Finney - A long term strategy and foresight are required, along with a consortium of staff involvement to allow us to get to our destination in a safe and efficient manner.

Gail Given - The 20 year capital plan identifies our road priorities and the quarter in which they are planned to be built. This is a transparent document that is available on the City website.  For the walking and cycle paths, a pedestrian and cycle master plan process is just getting under way.  Citizen feedback will be encouraged, particularly in identifying gaps in connectivity.  Gas tax dollars become available annually to address the priorities in this area.  For me the completion of John Hindle Dr. to connect Glenmore to the university is critical to our network, as well, a safe cycle route to UBCO.

Carol Gran - Such an important issue, and an expensive one as well. Automobiles will be the main mode of transportation for some time to come, but bus service is really important for students and seniors. There’s always room for improvement. The input of users is  particularly important. We plan to provide more avenues for public participation, talking directly to Council about their concerns and ideas.

Tracy Gray - With a growing population, transportation will continue to be an issue and as such we need to look at short and long term strategic plans. I served one term on the government appointed Passenger Transportation Board of BC. This is a regulatory board that also is a tribunal and makes decisions that will be in the best interest for an applicant, their community, and the transportation industry in BC. Transportation affects us locally, but it is really a partnership between all three levels of government. As we look to some long term community projects like additional bus exchanges, Rail Trails and a potential second crossing. We need to be having ongoing discussions about growing our accessible options as our overall population ages. Having a wide range of transportation options is important. Densification is one of the best ways to help transportation issues, when people are living, working and playing close together.

Charlie Hodge - I believe the council of 2008-2011 significantly helped with OCP plans and recommendations to improve all of the above and fought hard for such things as the Rails for Trails and the Greenway projects. That must continue. Long term visioning in my mind might also eventually incorporate some form of valley wide light rapid transit. We also need to review road networks that have created bottle necks and delays such as Dixon Avenue and Lakeshore Road.

Beryl Itani - Once again I would work with City staff and council to address this issue. Of course all the while promoting all of these.

Graeme James - Transit and cycling paths will continue to be developed as the population grows and funds become available with an emphasis on key transportation corridors for transit and cycling.

Leslie Kendall - With input from BC Transit, the public, city staff and council members working together answers can be found.

Bobby Kennedy - I propose that this city be interconnected by all of the above. The more options you have the more likely you are to get out of the car and into the bike. Healthy living is hugely popular and I feel that Kelowna could be the benchmark city for all to follow.

Mike McLoughlin - We need a network approach to empowering citizens to get around Kelowna without having to get into cars.

Gwen Miles - The walking and cycling paths are already full steam ahead from the still present council. With plans to continue a path from Gordon to Dilworth, then eventually out to the Airport. I would most definitely work to see that project completed. Our population is currently at 122,000. I am not sure at what population a LRT (light rapid transit) would become feasible at. LRT is expensive, but the rewards are many.

Alan Monk - Kelowna has more cars on the road per capita than any other city in Canada. Our citizens want to change that. Upgrading our transit system is one of the key priorities that I have identified in my platform (See votemonk.com) and I would also support the expansion of our bike paths - and doing so with an incremental approach that keeps within budgetary limits. Kelowna citizens want to do their part to reduce green house gas emissions. Improving our transit system makes our city a better place to live and will make us more attractive to the younger demographic. We want cleaner air, better access to businesses for employees and customers and we want to support students and other groups that rely on this form of transportation. As councillor, I would support the allocation of resources to consult with citizens and then for city employees to continue to bring feasible proposals for review by the public and council.
David Mossman - There needs to be a vision for transit over the next 20 years as you need the infrastructure and planning in place to avoid expensive fixes down the road.

Dale Olson - A big start for the future is acquiring the CN Rail Line. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase it now. This is our future rapid transit thru the valley in the long run. In the short run it will be a fabulous public amenity and tourist attraction--walking, cycling, x-country skiing and more. TaxpayersFirst, my party had come up with a solution to purchase it and upgrade it at no cost to the Citizens of Kelowna.   Creative thinking and creative revenue creation will solve a lot of our problems. 

Brad Sieben - I’m a strong supporter of the densification of the urban centres in Kelowna and making strategic investments in corresponding transportation corridors that allow for connectivity. I believe good planning makes (has made) these factors interrelated and complimentary. Investments in infrastructure like multi-use corridors, rails with trails and bike networks provide people with safe and effective modes for transportation, recreation and social development. Linking these pathways to other public recreation and gathering places such as the H20 Centre, Stuart Park, Beaches, and Parkinson Recreation Centre, etc. should be encouraged. Ensuring the connection of these links to urban town centres allows citizens to live more active lives and rely less on motorized transportation, benefiting both our roadways and our environment. Adequate public transportation to frequently visited locations  (eg. UBC-O, OC, Orchard Park, Capital News Centre/H2O, Downtown) from Kelowna’s identified town centres should serve as the impetus for increased development in these areas.

Mohini Singh - To me it is all about connectivity. I would like to see paths connect wherever possible so we can make it convenient for people to cycle or walk to their destination. Bike paths have to be clearly marked and appropriate signage to inform motorists. That will make it safer for cyclists and motorists alike.  Where ever the OCP encourages and suggests growth, it is important to have a road network in place before development takes place. That way the road layout can be designed taking transit, walking and cycling into consideration before the fact, not after it! Prior planning prevents poor performance!

Derek Somer - Roads and transit should only be used for the transportation of business goods private sector employees. There are no tangible business returns to investments in walking or bicycle paths and business should be exempt from any tax supporting these last two modes of transportation. Residential tax payers will probably not be able to pay the price on their own. This is not my personal view, but am confident the business only slate will prevail.

Luke Stack - Once again – stay the course. The City is doing an effective job in this area. We now have over 19.5 kilometers of off-road bicycle paths. (Houghton Road; Cawston Avenue; Clement; Abbott, Lakeshore etc.) The City has used gas tax money transfers to develop Rails with Trails Phase II in 2014. I want to see the next connection from Dilworth to the Mission Greenway completed during my next term. The City is also planning a bicycle corridor from Okanagan College down Ethel Street to Clement. Finally, Kelowna is adding new off-road bike paths as it rebuilds Lakeshore Road. This will be a very important link in the Mission. I strongly support securing the CN rail corridor for future generations. This provides an opportunity to add a safe, off road bicycle path to UBCO. These are all very important off-road, active transportation links that I have, and will continue to support. 

Laura Thurnheer - Transportation is one of my key areas of focus in my ‘A Balanced Approach’ under the pillar of ‘An Accessible Community’. There are many areas that need to be addressed here including our transit system, the 2nd Crossing of Okanagan Lake, the purchase of the CN Rail line, the maintenance of our roadways, bike and walking trails and the need for a new truck bypass route. I will only touch on a couple of points here for sake of brevity. I strongly believe that a well-functioning transportation system is critical to the quality of life we experience in Kelowna every day and as a result I started a regional Transportation Task Force while I was President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce in 2007. This task force, composed of groups from Penticton to Vernon, is still functioning in various ways today as often transportation needs are best addressed on a regional basis. The City of Kelowna needs to work collaboratively with the province on the planning and development of the 2nd Crossing of Okanagan Lake and we need to continue to make this project a priority. As well, we need to work with other levels of government to purchase the CN Rail line before this opportunity is lost. Whether or not this line is used as a walking/bicycle path as a tremendous tourism opportunity or is preserved for a future light rapid transit line the corridor must be secured and protected now. Our transit system also needs some support as currently students and working citizens are advising me that the current system is unreliable and they cannot get to work, or class, on time. This needs to be addressed first and foremost with the management of the civic run transit system to ensure on-time performance is delivered. Of course, we need more routes and frequency but increased routes need ridership and ridership will not come until the system is reliable and people are confident enough to leave their cars at home.

Sean Upshaw - I think previous councils have done a really good job in this department so far. Where there are inadequacies time will allow for growth to meet those. In the meantime we should celebrate that much has been accomplished. Continued adaptation to efficiency of use, road planning and cycle paths should be front and center. Future arterial roads should be built to a standard where cyclist and pedestrians are safe from traffic such as we see on Cawston Ave. I would seriously like to look at turning the old CN rail corridor into a commuter train stretching from Downtown Kelowna to UBC, YLW, Lake Country, past Kalamalka Lake and on in to Vernon. The vision for this is along the lines of the West Coast Express. It can also be used as a cycling path by modifying it to be dual purposed. I do know there is value in Eco tourism and what a better way to accomplish both by doing this. Oh by the way next time you are stuck in traffic, think of Glendon Smedley. (Mayoralty Candidate)

Dayleen Van Ryswyk - That’s kind of a vague question, and without being specific, I’m not sure how to answer it. Like with everything, I would address one issue at a time and with as much care and consideration as possible.


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