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Civic Election: Get to know Richard Barkwill, incumbent Summerland councillor

Hear from Richard Barkwill

Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to each candidate running for local council in the South Okanagan.

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 available here and is being updated daily.

Election day is Oct. 15.

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Summerland council candidate (incumbent): Richard Barkwill

Why would you make an effective municipal councillor?

A lot of the work of council requires reading and understanding voluminous reports and asking insightful questions of staff. This is one of my strengths. As a CPA I also have education and experience giving me greater understanding of the financial aspects of council business.

Having grown up in Summerland with seven brothers and sisters and three cousins and lots of aunts and uncles I have a wide network of contacts, friends of friends, relatives of friends, friends of relatives etc., who contact me to discuss Summerland concerns. This gives me a deeper understanding of the community - of how it got to where we are now, and where the community wants to go in the future.

In your view, what is the number one issue facing Summerland today, and how would you deal with it, knowing Municipal Hall only has so much power?

Roads are the number one issue directly under the control of council.

Recent work includes:

  • Kelly Avenue (Brown Street to Wharton Street) – reconstructed in 2019
  • Quinpool Road (Victoria Road to Washington Avenue) – reconstructed in 2020
  • Doherty Avenue (Bathville Road to Prairie Valley Road) and Bathville Road (Princeton/Summerland Road to Doherty Avenue) – reconstructed in 2020
  • Victoria Road North (Turner Street to Jones Flat Road) – repaved in 2020
  • Canyon View (Simpson to Mountain Ave.) – repaved 2022
  • Giants Head Road (Harris to Hillborn) – repaved 2022

The current capital plan for roads includes:

  • South Victoria, Drainage and Sidewalks (Agur to Dunham) 2023 ($847,000)
  • Jubilee Rd. West (Victoria to Rosedale) 2023 ($500,000)
  • Prairie Valley Rd. (Saunders to Morrow) 2024 ($3,150,000)

This illustrates that although it might not seem like it until the particular road you travel gets repaved, Council has been, and is, continuing to address the issue.

Future councils can adjust this plan. Costs and priorities can change. Personally, I feel downtown needs attention and Prairie Valley needs repaving from Cartwright to Doherty while Saunders to Cartwright can wait.

How would you make Summerland more affordable?

If the question is referring to housing affordability, we must remember we are part of the larger world. That being said, in Summerland (as in other locations) increasing density can provide more supply.

Our downtown area can include taller buildings and our new Downtown Redevelopment Pan contemplates that. We can also increase the area of town which has the Residential Single Detached Intensive (RSD1 (i)) zoning. This means smaller lots could be created in a wider area of downtown.

The solar project area, being so close to town, was a prime location for housing development and very valuable to the District.

I support using the rest of the available land in that area for housing. This will also make it cost effective to provide sewer to Deer Ridge and undeveloped land west of Deer Ridge, which is consistent with our goal of developing from the centre outwards, not in a leapfrog fashion.

What is one example of a time you agreed with Summerland council over the past term, and one where you disagreed?

I agreed with council’s unanimous decision denying the variance application to the Oasis lakeshore development for a 32-slip dock adjacent to an existing marina and close to a public swimming area. I had worked hard to bring in proper zoning regulations and local control to Summerland’s foreshore, which gave council the opportunity to discuss and vote on the dock.

I did not agree that the decision on the location of the Solar Project should have been made in a closed meeting. Council agreed, and we had a “do over” on that decision with some additional information provided.

Despite the fact that our CAO said, “If this site was developed for residential and another site was developed for the solar project you would increase the revenue and savings to the District. No councillors changed their vote. After a proper hearing and discussion of the matter I was far more satisfied, although I stick to my voting record and political opinion on how that land should be used per my answer in question three.

If you had $1 million to spend on anything for Summerland, how would you spend it?

Roads.

Picture Summerland 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?

Communities that thrive have good public amenities. Of course, the economy has to support those amenities. A thriving agricultural industry is hugely important for our community, and it supports tourism.

Our retired population employs a lot of people - from lawn care and home care to doctors and nurses, they also shop and eat locally. Communities with a large retired population survive the ups and downs of the economy better, as pension income is very stable.

Our volunteer community such as the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop, Friends of the Gardens, Rotary, Critteraid, Kinsmen, and Sportsmen’s Association are also part of what makes this community thrive. Their activities need to be supported by council.

A thriving community will have an active downtown which will develop as we increase the density downtown per our new downtown plan.

It is people that make a community thrive, but it is the amenities that attract the people. Different amenities attract different demographics, and they are all equally important. The generations are interdependent, and together they make a thriving community.



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