VIDEO: Meet Mayoral Candidate Ken Christian
(Scroll down for Ken's answers to the CFJC Candidate Questionnaire.)
1. What do you love about Kamloops? What frustrates you about the city?
THE BEST THING ABOUT KAMLOOPS IS THE TREMENDOUS PEOPLE THAT LIVE HERE AND THEIR SPIRIT OF VOLUNTEERISM AND THEIR CAN DO ATTITUDE. THE ONE THING THAT FRUSTRATES ME IS THAT WE OFTEN GET TOO FOCUSED ON THE SMALL PROBLEMS AND ANNOYANCES AND LOSE SITE OF HOW LUCKY WE ARE TO BE PART OF SUCH A GREAT COMMUNITY.
2. The City of Kamloops has budgeted for a 2.08 per cent tax increase this year. Do you believe that is reasonable?
GIVEN ALL OF THE COST PRESSURES WE FACED AND THE LIST OF SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET ITEMS I BELIEVE THE TAX RATE INCREASE WAS APPROPRIATE. GOING FORWARD WE NEED TO SUPPORT GROWTH TO EXPAND OUR TAX BASE AND FURTHER REFINE OUR HEAVY INDUSTRIAL AND BUSINESS TAX RATES. WE ALSO NEED TO ENSURE WE ARE USING BEST PRACTICES AND EFFICIENCIES IN ALL OF OUR OPERATING UNITS.
3. Has the City of Kamloops done enough to attract business and investment?
YES I BELIEVE THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNCTION IS WELL POSITIONED WITH VENTURE KAMLOOPS. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE CLOSE LINKAGES BETWEEN COUNCIL, ADMINISTRATION AND THE VENTURE STAFF AND BOARD TO ENSURE WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON HIGH TECH, TOURISM, AVIATION AND THE ARTS AS EMERGING AREAS FOR BUSINESS ATTRACTION.
4. Does the city’s snow removal budget need a boost in funding? Why or why not.
YES I BELIEVE WE NEED TO ADD TO OUR SNOW REMOVAL FLEET AND WE NEED TO IDENTIFY SNOW ROUTES AND LIMIT ON-STREET PARKING TO ALLOW FOR MORE EFFICIENT OPERATIONS. ADDING LANE KILOMETERS IN NEW DEVELOPMENT WITH THE SAME STAFF AND EQUIPMENT HAS HAD THE PREDICTABLE RESULT OF INCREASING WAIT TIMES FOR SNOW CLEARING.
5. How would you propose city council deal with housing affordability concerns in Kamloops?
I THINK WE ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH BUT WE NEED TO MOVE FASTER ON MORE PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING OPTIONS FOR THOSE LIVING WITH MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION ISSUES. WE ALSO NEED TO ENSURE THAT LOWER CAST ENTRY LEVEL HOME OWNERSHIP REMAINS VIABLE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES IN OUR CITY.
6. Has the City of Kamloops done enough to address homelessness?
YES I BELIEVE WE HAVE DONE WHAT IS REASONABLE TO SUPPORT BC HOUSING IN THERE EFFORTS. WE DO NEED TO BE CONSCIOUS OF WINTER SHELTER NEEDS BUT WE NEED TO ULTIMATELY DO BETTER THAN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND STRIVE FOR PERMANENT ADDRESSES FOR FOLKS SO THAT THEY START ON A PATH TO RECOVERY AND WELLNESS.
7. Should the city budget for more police officers in the city? Why or why not.
WE HAVE BUDGETED FOR TEN ADDITIONAL POLICE OFFICERS AND HAVE HAD TROUBLE RECRUITING AND MAINTAINING THE COMPLIMENT OF ROADABLE OFFICERS. I BELIEVE WE NEED TO GET TO OUR BUDGETED ALLOTMENT AND STABILIZE THEN ANALYZE OUR CRIME DATE BEFORE CONSIDER EXPANDING OUT FORCE STRENGTH.
8. Interior Health’s supervised consumption sites have been operating in Kamloops for over a year now. Are you in favour of the sites and how would you propose dealing with the issue of discarded needles?
THE SUPERVISED CONSUMPTION SITES HAVE SERVED A PURPOSE BUT I NOW FEEL IT IS TIME THE HEALTH AUTHORITY MOVE TO PERMANENT FULLY STAFFED FACILITIES THAT WORK INSIDE SUPPORTED HOUSING. I DO NOT BELIEVE IHA HAS DONE ENOUGH TO ENSURE THEIR NEEDLE DISTRIBUTION AND RECOVERY PRACTISES ARE WORKING PROPERLY.
9. Are you in favour of a Performing Arts Centre in Kamloops? Why or why not. If so, what would you change from the initial proposal?
I FAVOUR A PERFORMING ARTS VENUE BUT FEEL THIS NEEDS TO BE AN INITIATIVE FROM THE ARTS COMMUNITY AND NOT FROM THE CITY, ONCE A DESIGN AND LOCATION WAS ESTABLISHED THAT ALL PARTNERS AGREE UPON I WOULD HAPPILY WORK TOWARDS MAKING THAT COME TRUE. WE WILL NEED PRIVATE PARTNERS BENEFACTORS AND SENIOR LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT TO BE ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS.
10. Should city councillors be paid higher salaries.
THE CURRENT COMPENSATION PACKAGE IS ADEQUATE AND HAS A MECHANISM FOR KEEPING UP WITH TRENDS IN BC. BEING A COUNCILLOR IS NOT A FULL TIME JOB NOR SHOULD IT BE IN A CITY OF THIS SIZE. ACTIVE AND ENGAGED COUNCILLORS, WORKING TOGETHER AS A TEAM, WILL BE ABLE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE CITY.