Former Penticton council candidate Isaac Gilbert announces intention to run again in upcoming by-election

Hat in the ring for council

While the by-election to replace retired Penticton city councillor Jake Kimberley is still a few months away, at least one local has already announced his plans to throw his hat in the ring.

Isaac Gilbert, a BC Parks park ranger, ran for council in 2018 but did not manage to snag a spot with his 19.23 per cent of the vote. This time around, he hopes to succeed, planning to file his papers to fill the seat Kimberley left vacant following a stroke this summer as soon as the nomination period begins.

"I think I can make up the votes to get in this time," Gilbert told Castanet Thursday.

The by-election does not yet have a set date, but it is expected sometime in June. Once the date is official, more information about the nomination and campaign periods will be available.

But Gilbert doesn't need paperwork to know for sure he is going to run.

"It just seems like some of the decisions council is making, even within the last couple days, I just want to start seeing things in Penticton become attainable for people," he said, explaining his motivation for the second shot at council.

"Myself, I'm a renter, I was looking at either trying to buy a place this year or find a place to rent and it came to a point that I wasn't even sure where I was going to be living," he said.

"I want people who live here already to feel like they can attain some type of satisfaction and basically happiness in our city, and feel welcome in our city, and that's what we prosper on, to make people happy."

Council's recent decision to deny an extension of the emergency homeless shelter at the old Victory Church this week, potentially putting 40-plus individuals on the streets with nowhere to go, does not sit well with him.

"I understand the reaction by council currently, in wanting to challenge the problem. By all means, I think that the city should be challenging the province on issues when it comes to homelessness," Gilbert said. "

For me, though, the decision of closing down the Victory Church there...you're going to hurt the community more. It just shows they are not showing a sense of humanity on council anymore."

He hopes, if elected, to encourage the City of Penticton to become a living wage employer, explaining that would mean any contractors and subcontractors hired by the city would need to be paid according to the living wage for the region at the time.

He also wants to look at how city land can be used to try and bring in affordable housing, and expand on childcare options currently available, an issue he is familiar with as a current civilian member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.

"One thing that we recommended to council to go ahead with was the childcare in Kiwanis Park, and supporting the city's plan to increase childcare throughout the city, which we desperately need," Gilbert.

Of decisions made by this council during its term to date, Gilbert supports the Lake-to-Lake bike route, but has concerns over others.

"They are very easy going to stuff like the bike lane, or luxury items, they are okay with those, but when it comes to really core issues like homelessness and drug addiction on the streets, and bigger picture issues, they just tend to not support stuff like this. To me, they don't really have a plan of action of how to address it," Gilbert said.

His core issues are the living wage, working with the Okanagan College to try and bolster student enrolment and delving into urban planning to make the city accessible to walk, bike and transit.

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