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.
Nick Redding: Summerland council candidate
Why would you make an effective municipal councillor?
I believe I would make an effective municipal councillor because of my open mind and willingness to understand everyone's perspective. I have a critical and analytical way of thinking and base my decisions on common sense and facts.
I am honest, transparent and truly believe in informing the public to get feedback on decisions made regarding our community. A council member needs to make hard decisions but should be based solely on what the community has voiced as their needs. I am a business owner and understand the importance of a budget. Cost vs. return and the difference between wants vs. needs. I don't see being a councillor as a job but as a responsibility.
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?
I feel the number one problem we are facing in Summerland today is our financial position and budgeting. Our spending habits and money management are in disarray. We need to look at where our money is being spent and how we can be more cost efficient with it.
I would work to get the community involved and figure out what is realistically needed to help the people that live here. Work towards a more sustainable living for them. Let's use our beautiful town to generate money and not just depend on tax dollars. We need to conserve budget and save money. There are so many smart, talented, knowledgeable and inspirational people in our town and I believe we need to get them involved to start generating money. Community is more than just a word. There is so much untapped potential in our community and I feel we're getting ahead of ourselves on spending.
How would you make Summerland more affordable?
I would look into developing a program to help and incentivize builders and homeowners to build legal suites and carriage houses. I would also look into tiny homes and trailers living in certain areas in town. To be able to build affordable housing, we need to simplify the process, cut back on all the red tape and the expense to do so. We need a land and asset assessment to know of viable areas to be able to build.
If we work with local builders and homeowners then the money spent on housing will stay in our community. We don't need big money companies coming into town to build housing at an affordable price to start, just to charge more down the road and make a bunch of money. Affordability will come from people who care about their community and aren't here to make a quick buck.
What is one example of a time you agreed with Summerland council over the past term, and one where you disagreed?
I agreed with the council on the idea of a solar project but not a solar field like suggested. I would like to see a solar project to help homeowners put solar panels on their homes. This would help individuals as well as the city. Maintenance costs would be significantly lower and not put on taxpayers backs. The removal and disposal of batteries and panels would also not be a huge expense. It would be a lot more cost efficient and we also would not be using up a profitable piece of property.
If you had $1 million to spend on anything for Summerland, how would you spend it?
If I had a million dollars to spend, I would not spend it. We need to conserve our money and put it in a budget. Just because we have money doesn't mean we need to spend it. I would hear from the people of the community as to where that money would be best allocated and go from there. It seems to me that there is a lot of talk about how we can spend money and I believe we need to look at generating and conserving wealth first and foremost. We can't just rely on taxes and more of them.
Picture Summerland 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?
When I picture Summerland 20 years from now, I see the small town community that people love and want to be a part of. I see the infrastructure and bones of the town being updated and sustained. I see a compassionate, caring community where people want to raise their families. A safe, friendly, neighbourly community that greet each other on the streets and are willing to lend a hand or help each other. A place where you can enjoy the outdoors within 10-15 minutes without the hustle and bustle busy-ness of a big city. I see Summerland thriving on its small town friendly atmosphere and the growing want to be a part of that kind of environment. There are a few things that do indeed need to be addressed in town, but I believe we have a strong foundation, and with the right management and leadership, a promising future.