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.
Adrienne Betts: Summerland council candidate
Why would you make an effective municipal councillor?
Number one: My demonstrated commitment to the vibrant Summerland community with values of honesty, integrity and open communication.
I am a female business owner at the successful, family-operated Granny’s Cafe & Bakery. Through our business I am able to connect in-person with many individuals, youth, seniors and families; as well as the Summerland Chamber of Commerce, Summerland Women in Business, Rotary Club and Giants Head Elementary. Our business participates in community events like the Fall Fair and Sunday Farmers Markets.
I am a mother of two elementary school students and witness many of the challenges that families face and what supports we need for our youth to thrive. With a degree in political science and a project management certificate I bring the research and analytical skills that town councillors must possess. These connections demonstrate a network of collaboration and support, connections that I believe could be great assets on council.
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?
How to best support our citizens while acknowledging budget limitations. From completing the recreation centre project to improving the roads; preparing our community for climate emergencies like wildfires and floods, to a shortage of labour for the many job vacancies. I will bring to the council table a commitment to prioritize and make the best decisions possible based on the facts at hand.
How would you make Summerland more affordable?
I would continue to look at as many options as possible. I believe that continuing the work of advocating to the province for increased financial support for our municipality is incredibly important. Protecting the ALR lands and our agricultural industry is a provincial and national priority but ultimately results in reduced tax income opportunities for our town. Pushing for more supports to both protect our food security and preserve Summerland’s infrastructure would help all citizens of this town with affordability.
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 decision to support the building of a replacement recreation centre for the people of Summerland. There are so many positives here – mental and physical health, a hub for seniors, families and youth; economic benefits for local businesses.
I disagree with the decision to move forward with the Memorial Park redesign. I believe there are other priorities that require our urgent attention – road improvements specifically.
If you had $1 million to spend on anything for Summerland, how would you spend it?
From upgrading our paving and snowplowing fleet, to installing solar panels on all municipal buildings… From a town owned hostel-style housing for our summer labour force, to an endowment to support recreation for low-income individuals and families. $1 million doesn’t go as far as it used to but there are still many opportunities to support local businesses and individuals.
Picture Summerland 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?
Summerland is attracting people who love a life full of beauty - mountains, beaches, the best fruits and veg available, bike paths, unique small businesses, wineries, cideries, a vibrant downtown and more. What attracts people is a complete community – all three levels of schooling, a swimming pool, a library, an outdoor recreation network. It is critical to continue to have services for the people who live in Summerland.
We need to attract working professionals and doctors who see this town as a place to open businesses because they see raising a family, or growing old here. If we continue to service this community, then in 20 years we hopefully have small businesses to visit and a strong farming community supporting our urban core.