Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to each candidate running for a local Regional District seat in the South Okanagan.
All competing candidates have been given the same questions, and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is being updated daily.
Election day is Oct. 15.
Adrienne Fedrigo: Area I - Naramata Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen candidate
Why would you make an effective Area E director?
I am already actively engaged in the community through my participation on the Naramata Parks and Recreation Commission, the Advisory Planning Commission, and the Official Community Plan Advisory Group. I joined these groups because I am passionate about my community and wanted to participate in the decision making process for items that are important.
My children attend Naramata Elementary School, my husband is a member of the Naramata Fire Department, and we own a local gelato business that focuses on local product, distribution, and partnerships. Our family is very involved and connected to Area E, and feel very fortunate to live here.
I have always had a keen interest in society, community, economics, and grant writing, and have obtained higher education specifically in these areas. I have a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies: Community Development & Writing/New Media, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. As well, I have been a public servant for over 20 years and greatly enjoy having conversations with residents. To ensure that I am communicating and understanding what residents want, I have obtained a Certificate in Public Participation to host my own public engagement opportunities within Area E.
My passion, drive, and desire to represent my community at the RDOS board table and provincially were catalysts in my decision to run for director.
In your view, what is the number one issue facing Area E today, and how would you deal with it, knowing the Regional District only has so much power?
There are a few issues, with development being the biggest. There is development taking place in Naramata, and there is proposed development taking place in Penticton. These two developments have been causing great frustration for many residents with little that can currently be done by Area E residents.
Understanding the process and educating residents are our best defence against development within our area. Ensuring we have the right language in our Official Community Plan is important to guide the community and its future. As well as understanding where responsibilities lie, and who is in place to enforce them.
It is important for Area E residents to participate in the public engagement opportunities that the City of Penticton puts out. This information provides Penticton’s council with an understanding of how residents feel and will assist in their decisions. As well, residents have an opportunity to join local non profit groups that have a strong interest in the development, to have their voices heard.
The Regional District board currently has 19 voting members. How do you ensure Area E concerns are addressed when it comes to regional issues?
Public engagement with Area E residents and ensuring they provide feedback through the proper channels (sending an email, filling out the feedback forms that staff have created, etc) will help to advocate for residents' concerns. It is super important for RDOS residents (across the region) to send in their feedback, attend Public Hearings, and make their wishes known.
Everyone on the board wants the same thing: What is best for their area/municipality and what is best for the region. At the board table, I will provide details of residents' feedback to ensure other directors understand how Area E feels about the situation. Directors are provided all the feedback in their agenda packages, and I will use them to highlight concerns that are expressed.
During the discussion period of a motion, I will make sure that I speak up for Area E and will continue as long as necessary.
If you had $1 million to spend on anything for Area E, how would you spend it?
I would host a town hall meeting and connect with the residents to see how they wanted to spend it. It would be a collective decision on how the funding is spent.
Picture Area E 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?
The amazing residents and entrepreneurs that are in the community. They have worked hard throughout history and will continue to be what makes Area E progress into the future. We are incredibly fortunate in our area to have such talented and hard working residents who offer amazing products and services.
We are also incredibly fortunate to have amazing residents with diverse backgrounds, skills, talents, and abilities. Embracing diversity and focusing on community development will ensure we thrive in the future. Community development that starts now. Creating a community plan with a vision that will guide us into the future and true community opportunities to connect with one another. As well as, to feel a part of something that is collectively felt. Knowing your neighbours is a huge item in feeling a part of the community, I want to ensure that aspect of Area E is never lost, nor the pride we feel for living in such an amazing place and the connection we have to one another and the environment.