Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to city council candidates in both Kelowna and West Kelowna to help voters get to know those putting their names forward. Between the two cities, 45 people are running for city councillor.
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 here and is being updated daily.
Election day is Oct. 15.
West Kelowna candidate: Tasha Da Silva
Why would you make an effective city councillor?
It’s imperative that the right people have a seat at the table, in order to continue momentum and solidify the plan for our future. I’m a natural leader and team player who enjoys building relationships and connecting with the community. I immerse myself in complex issues and contemplate decisions from multiple perspectives. I feel we have an obligation to protect and preserve our natural resources, while always pursuing balance when assessing the residential and commercial needs of our growing community. I believe that my leadership qualities and business acumen would bring a strong perspective to the table.
In your view, what is the number one issue facing the city today, and how would you deal with it knowing city hall only has so much power?
The economic health within our city directly affects the trajectory of economic growth within our community. Municipalities can leverage many tools to renew innovation and economic development for businesses in West Kelowna. Including; financial incentives, improvements to commercial areas, offering research and development tax incentives, promoting our local tourism industry, facilitating stakeholder relationships and connecting businesses in need to skilled workers. In addition to advocacy and collaboration with all levels of government in order to bring additional funding to major economic sectors
It could be decades before a second bridge is built across Okanagan Lake. How do you deal with West Kelowna's transportation bottleneck in the meantime?
A possible second crossing is years, possibly decades, aways from becoming a reality. In the interim, we should focus on reducing the need for West Kelowna residents to cross the Bennett bridge by creating small neighbourhood centres, such as Lakeview Village, which would provide local access to services, shops and social opportunities.
We can address known areas of congestion by building interchanges at both the Boucherie-Horizon and Westlake-Hudson intersections. While continuing to advocate to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to address the West Kelowna couplet, converting Main street back to a pedestrian friendly street with mixed use development and Dobbin Rd continuing to serve as Hwy 97 access through the community.\
Do you think West Kelowna is growing too fast?
Today we are at the precipice of change, with the important task of laying the groundwork for both current, and future residents of our community. It is imperative that the council in the next term finalize the Official Community Plan; in order to support our residents in their endeavours, make sure they have affordable and attainable housing, create and maintain community spaces for future generations and revitalize our plan for economic growth.
How would you make West Kelowna more affordable?
Affordable housing prices should not exceed 30% of a household's gross annual income. West Kelowna requires a diverse supply of housing which would enable households to better determine the type of housing they want and can afford. Low to moderate income families in our community are in most need of affordable and attainable housing options. Partnering with industry stakeholders to build a combination of purpose built rentals, co-operatives, subsidized and secondary housing throughout the community, would increase housing pool options and alleviate housing shortages within our growing community.
If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?
In the sense of municipal projects, a million dollars isn’t a big budget. With that in mind, I’d like to see the money allocated towards arts and culture, including some of the funds going towards the Boucherie Community Centre Restoration project. Once a hub for arts and culture, The City of West Kelowna already has reserve funds allocated to restoring it to its former glory. Adding $1M to this budget would open up a vast opportunity for adding additional amenities which can be enjoyed by the whole community.