West Kelowna  

Civic election: Rusty Ensign running for West Kelowna council

Get to know Rusty Ensign

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: Rusty Ensign

Why would you make an effective city councillor?

I would make an effective councillor because of my experience, knowledge, contacts and proven ability to bring people together. Being born and raised here I have a historical background that would be valued. With a term off council, I will be far better councillor. Knowing how government works, then watching from the outside, will allow me to be far more objective, effective and focus on what really matters. Serving on the water board will help me get to the reason for so many boil water advisories. My experience on multiple boards has taught me how to collaborate, facilitate, convince and be convinced!

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?

I’d like to say getting things done at city hall. But I won’t. Obviously it's traffic. Money we send to Victoria has grown immensely since the last interchange was built ten year ago. It’s time we got some of it back. Our traffic affects the entire Okanagan. Using the Southern Interior Local Government Association pass a motion to in turn be passed at UBCM to request the province properly fund our transportation deficit. Lobby the minister and new Premier at UBCM meetings. In collaboration with MOT study, facilitate and adopt a long term transportation plan.

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?

The first bridge was opened by Princess Margret in 1957. Two lane alternating in 1982. The new bridge was opened in 2008 by Bill Bennett. We already need to do the quickest fix by alternating lanes and no light at Abbott. After that my preference is six-laning Dobbin Road with one over or underpass. Give us our main street back. We need a long term frontage road plan on both sides of 97. An interchange at Daimler and another at Boucherie. Eliminate the other accesses. Two interchanges will fix it not five. At this point I’ll take what we can get

Do you think West Kelowna is growing too fast?

Yes it has recently been growing too fast. During these growth spurts the city gets behind on what DCC’s really should be as costs rise. City infrastructure projects should not be done at the same time as a red hot construction market. Public projects should not be competing with private projects and driving up the costs for both. City projects should be done during the slow times to save costs and keep the boys busy. The market has a cycle and every boom is over. In the end the growth all balances out.

How would you make West Kelowna more affordable?

The federal government is ultimately accountable for the current lack of affordability that has led to current market conditions. The city can go after real estate market investors that are abusing the market with short term rentals and Airbnb. This needs to be regulated through a bylaw and enforced. Furthermore it must be investigated not complaint driven by bylaw enforcement. Permitting fees should be increased and more staff hired with a streamlined application process. Developers and builders would be happy to pay to save unnecessary costs, time and money!

If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?

Put it in a reserve fund for waterfront acquisition for the perennial enjoyment of all of our citizens!

More West Kelowna News