GRAEME JAMES

Questions & Answers
KELOWNA MUNICIPAL ELECTION

GET OUT AND VOTE

OCTOBER 20, 2018

TRANSPORTATION

There is increasing frustration among citizens and visitors alike regarding traffic congestion, particularly on the major routes around and through the city. This is resulting in added commuting time for employees, and delays for trucks and services vehicles moving around and through the city. A previous vision of Council and the City included placing a high priority on the north end connector to ease congestion while reducing green house gas emissions. There have also been past discussions on a second crossing and an improved regional transportation network to make it easier for semis, logging trucks, delivery vehicles, etc. to move through the city to keep the economy moving while ensuring efficient supply lines for commercial businesses.
Q: If elected, aside from improved transit for those that don’t require a vehicle to commute or as part of their employment, what would you do to further improve the City’s/region’s road/transportation network?
A: Expected population growth in the next 20 years is 38%. We cannot expect our current transportation network to meet the demands this growth will place on the system.

I supported the continuation of the North End Connector Spall Road to Hwy. 33 when on Council and will do so once again if elected. As part of this process I would actively lobby the provincial and federal governments for funding to help defray the costs necessary to complete this project.

Realistically, a second crossing is something for future consideration and the immediate focus should be on improving the existing local roads. Our population continues to grow. Bicycle commuting and public transit are growing alternatives and should be supported and encouraged but are not enough to absorb the increasing pressure on our roadways.

DOWNTOWN KELOWNA

The downtown Kelowna street environment has changed over the past twelve months. There has been an increase in criminal and nuisance behaviour.
Q: If elected, what role would you as Mayor/Councillor play in ensuring a safe environment for businesses, their employees & customers, and for tourists and residents visiting and living in the downtown area?
A: Kelowna continues to rank high in illegal drug possession crimes. This indicates high rates of addiction which leads to more crime, especially vehicle and bike theft, break and enter, and theft from vehicles.

There isn’t one, easy answer to any of these problems. However, statistics show that creating a more visible police presence in troubled areas can reduce crime. Also, having police identify and interact with high-rate offenders has shown to be an effective method of crime reduction in other cities.

With this in mind, I would advocate for more bike patrols and the instigation of police foot patrols in Kelowna’s high risk areas. Foot patrols would be targeted and planned with officers patrolling high crime rate areas and focusing on information gathering, becoming familiar with the street population of the area, and interacting with business owners.

DEALING WITH OTHER GOVERNMENTS

Local Government is often called upon by citizens who have concerns about new or existing taxes/regulations that are in place at the provincial/federal level. The proposed speculation tax and provincial health employers’ tax are two recent examples of provincial policy that will have a negative impact on small businesses and the economy in Kelowna and elsewhere.
Q: What do you believe is the Mayor’s/Council’s role in dealing with these concerns?
Mayor’s/Council’s role is to lobby the provincial government to take a sober, second look at the implications of the speculation tax imposed only on certain areas of the province. The speculation tax has created a disadvantage for certain municipalities and has penalized hard-working Canadians who have invested in properties throughout BC and who support the local economies where these properties are located. It’s an ill conceived tax and should be scrapped altogether. At the very least, Canadians should be exempt from this tax.

The provincial health employers’ tax has just downloaded the cost of health premiums on employers and businesses which is unfair. Again, I believe that the provincial government must be lobbied to review this decision and create a more equitable solution.

AFFORDABILITY

The issue of housing affordability has grown in prominence over the years with many people finding it more difficult to afford to live in the place where they work.
Q: If elected, what would you do to help address this difficult and complex issue?
A: In my previous term on Council, we partnered with government agencies to provide affordable housing. The City of Kelowna supplied land and the building was funded by other levels of government and run by non-profit societies. I would continue this work to provide affordable housing, especially for low-income families and individuals.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Q: Have you, or would you if elected, marched in the Kelowna Pride Parade? Why or why not?

A: No. Personally, I pride myself on the honest, direct, inclusive way I treat everyone I meet. I’ve worked alongside people from the LGBQT+ community and have acquaintances from the same community. I’m satisfied that they know my commitment to diversity and inclusion.

I find it interesting that political candidates who never marched before being elected suddenly start doing so once elected. I also find it curious that candidates state that they haven’t marched in the past, but will if elected. I prefer to let my actions 365 days/year speak for me, rather than attendance (or not) at a parade.

WATER

Q: The City of Kelowna has recently acquired SEKID and SOMID. Do you wish to see Kelowna continue to pursue the integration of the remaining independent irrigation districts?

A: When I was on Council (2008-2011) and on the Joint Water Committee, we had an excellent working relationship with all of the irrigation districts. As an agricultural, residential, and commercial water user in the GEID, I fully support retaining the irrigation district because we have reasonable rates and excellent service. 

The water systems in most of Kelowna were built by agricultural users and my fear is that City will forget the historical background and water rates for agricultural users will rise to an unacceptable level.

AGRICULTURE

Q: How have you supported agriculture in the past and what will you do to support agriculture when elected?
A: I was an appointed member of the Agricultural Advisory Committee (2005-2008) and, following that, supported the retention of this Committee during my time on Council (2008-2011). I will continue to support the appointment of members to this Committee.

I was President of the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market and was a vendor at the market for 10 years (Glenmore Valley Greenhouses). During this time, I worked tirelessly to uphold the values of the market (locally grown produce only) and helped grow the Market from its original handful of vendors to the success it is today. I continue to support local growers by shopping weekly at the market.

Elect Graeme James for Kelowna City Council October 2018

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CONTACT

gvg@shaw.ca
778-363-2861 (c)
250-762-2861 (h)