Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to each candidate running for a local Regional District seat in the South Okanagan.
All 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.
Michael Mazurek: Area H - Rural Princeton Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen candidate
Why would you make an effective Area H - Rural Princeton director?
I have broad experience in many facets of business and government affairs, including business management, civic governance/public works, compliance with government(s) regulations at many levels, finance/budgets, planning/development, operation and maintenance of facilities and equipment of all types, and most other aspects of any enterprise.
My key strengths include excellent interpersonal skills, strong work ethic, management expertise, demonstrated leadership, proven learning ability, commitment to ongoing improvement/ innovation and a solid track record of success.
I believe that all of these qualifications are necessary to be an area director and, in my case, have been demonstrated in my recent past role as a director with the Town of Princeton. In this role I was responsible and accountable for the overall leadership and direction of Town of Princeton's infrastructure and parks including budgets, engineering, planning, asset management, grant applications, accountability for the performance of a challenging public works operation as well as the overall needs of a diverse workplace, and multi-talented workforce.
What is the number one issue facing Area H today, and how would you deal with it, knowing the Regional District only has so much power?
Of late, I have been interacting as much as possible with Area H constituents and have learned that there are many concerns, and many of these diverse concerns are viewed to be number one.
On that note, I have identified one issue that seems to enter most conversations I have had. Most recently, Area H, and the Town of Princeton, have endured and persevered through a significant natural event being the recent flooding of Princeton and some areas of Area H. Therefore, in my view, overall disaster response for fires, floods, or any other untoward natural events stands out as the number one priority.
I think this is a shared responsibility between the Town of Princeton, Area H, and the province being that such recent events impact both the town and Area H, and are included in the responsibilities of provincial ministries.
Being that Area H only has so much power, I would focus my energy toward this initiative by lobbing appropriate bodies to a common purpose of placing upmost priority to issues surrounding local emergency response.
The Regional District board currently has 19 voting members. How do you ensure Area H concerns are addressed when it comes to regional issues?
By energetically voicing any concerns and if/or necessary, lobbying other voting members of the RDOS, seeking, and as necessary negotiating, their support for Area H specific needs or concerns, prior to voting on such initiatives.
This will be accomplished by being open and honest with other voting members and earning their respect by being courteous and respectful and by only bringing rational, fair, and equitable concerns to the board for vote.
To encourage such consideration(s) I will recognize support from other voting members on Area H concerns, initiatives and/or variations of such, that adopt Area H concerns by reciprocally voting in support of other voting members’ initiatives that are specific for their areas. Of course, there will be many other motions to be voted on at RDOS board meetings that are not area-specific, and I anticipate that my negotiation and people skills will help ensure Area H concerns are always addressed and give high priority.
If you had $1 million to spend on anything for Area H, how would you spend it?
I would spend the $1 million to start-up fund a “satellite” local EOC (Emergency Operations Center) from which all, or most, existing emergency response activities could be headquartered. This facility could be located within the Town of Princeton or Area H property in reasonable proximity of the town.
This money would fund all necessary expenses to conduct required design, engineering, and budget estimate planning and hopefully leave a surplus to contribute to actual construction costs. I could foresee the facility including adequate office space, and communication infrastructure to support cohesive response by all users. I suggest that it would include a secure outdoor compound area large enough to house not only Princeton Ground Search and Rescue assets, other fire suppression equipment in need of storage between major events, sand bagging material(s) and equipment, etc. in a centralized location. I would seek cost sharing of the project between the Town of Princeton, the RDOS, and the provincial government while also seeking local corporate support as available.
Picture Area H 20 years from now. What are the key aspects that are making it thrive?
I see one of the key aspects of what is making Area H thrive 20 years into the future was the dedication today to making the Area H region of the RDOS the “Recreational Paradise” for the “Ultimate in Outdoor Experiences."
This will be accomplished by working today within the RDOS to prepare a “Growth Strategy and Development Plan” specific to Area H, augmented by supporting, encouraging, and promoting all tourism activities while respecting the ranching and farming community as an integral part of the community. Encouraging and promoting any initiative(s) lending to the rebuilding of recently flood damaged sections of the Trans Canada Trail by any level of government or private groups is also a contributor.
Another key aspect would be the presence of many new business interests to the Area H / Princeton communities. This will have established the economic core that is driving development of additional amenities that residents want and need that will ultimately result in Area H being the epitome of a prosperous community for all.