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KelownaNow reached out to all mayoral, council and school trustee candidates running in Kelowna’s and West Kelowna’s 2014 Civic Election and asked them questions submitted by you, the reader.
Responses of those who chose to participate will be posted between November 3rd and November 14th in a randomly selected order.
Bryden Winsby - West Kelowna Councillor Candidate
1. What career experience do you have to be a Councillor for the District of West Kelowna? Please provide a specific example of a decision you made that affected the community.
I have served on council for two terms. Prior to that I was an alternate director for the former Electoral Area H (Westbank) on the Regional District of Central Okanagan board and a member of the Westside Advisory Planning Committee for the RDCO. I am also a former president of the Glenrosa Residents' Association and chaired the Westbank Incorporation Study Committee from 1988-93. This experience has gained me a fundamental understanding of how local government works, as has my 40-year career in the news media.
2. How are you going to attract businesses, residents and visitors to West Kelowna’s downtown?
Improving local economic conditions is a challenge for many communities and there is no single or easy solution, but it has been a major strategic priority of council throughout my tenure. We have taken numerous steps, including preparation of an Economic Development Plan (a work in progress, subject to regular review and revision) and establishment of a business development office. We have met individually and collectively with various business sectors to seek their advice. We have reduced the amount of red tape faced by the development community. We have undertaken major improvements to Brown Road and started the process of building a city hall/civic centre as major initiatives to help make Westbank Centre a vibrant place to live, work and do business. Major work has also been done on Westlake Road, a main access route to the municipality's busy industrial area, where further improvements are contemplated, such as 'wayfinding' signage. There is more, but space doesn't allow elaboration. Suffice it so say that I believe we should continue with the process we have established, monitor its progress and maintain a focus on attracting breadwinner jobs, not just the low-wage variety that is so prevalent today.
3. What do you think about West Kelowna’s current road system and what needs to be improved in the short term?
For decades this community continued to grow with roads built only to a rural standard — relatively narrow, with no curbs, sidewalks, storm sewers or lighting. Upgrading them to an urban standard is a monumental task, involving tens of millions of dollars. We have an overall plan to do this, but it must be done incrementally. Determining what areas get priority is something council must consider annually, based on recommendations from the Engineering Department and input from the community.
4. As West Kelowna continues to grow, how do you plan to keep up with providing enough educational institutions?
Providing educational institutions is not the role of municipal governments, although we certainly can express opinions or help agitate for improvements.
Photo Credit: KelownaNow
5. Do you think the waterfront is being properly utilized as a tourist destination in West Kelowna? What changes would you like to see made?
The municipality's 'inventory' of waterfrontage is quite limited and used heavily by both residents and visitors. Unless we expand that inventory, tourism potential will continue to be constrained, insofar as public facilities are concerned. We have no public moorage. Public parking for boat trailers is woefully inadequate. Tremnendous improvements have been made to Gellatly Bay, including the CNR Wharf and adjacent road, but most major projects in future will likely be left with the private sector, unless local taxpayers indicate a strong appetite for spending public funds to acquire and redevelop more waterfrontage. My sense right now is that this would be a hard sell.
6. Where do you feel West Kelowna residents would most benefit from a second bridge crossing?
A major highway bisecting our community is a negative, both aesthetically and from the standpoint of orderly growth. I have always advocated a bypass as being the most logical long-term solution to what inevitably will be intolerable traffic congestion all along the present route of Highway 97 through West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation. Such a bypass, perhaps extending on the west side of Okanagan Lake all the way north to Vernon could and probably should be incorporated into the plans for a second crossing at Kelowna.
7. How do you plan on growing Agri-Tourism in West Kelowna?
Municipal council cannot 'grow' any particular enterprise, but it can help. In the case of agri-tourism, we can do this through policy, such as continuing to be firm supporters of farmland preservation (few applications for removal from the Agricultural Land Reserve have received our support, and none without very compelling reasons). Council has only three advisory committees; agriculture was the first one we established. All land-use applications that could have an impact on farmland are vetted through this citizen committee. We can continue such efforts as the Boucherie Road 'Wine Route' to enhance the Westside Wine Trail, which has more wineries in the works, and we can help promote such initiatives as the Westside Farm Loop and the Westbank Farmers Market.
8. West Kelowna is growing at a rapid pace, what are your top priorities to keep up with the increasing strain on infrastructure?
During the past few years a lot of time and money has been expended preparing a series of 'master plans' that deal with such infrastructure topics as roads, drainage, water, sanitary sewers, parks and recreation. Each has detailed what we have and what is likely to be required in the years ahead. Each also contains some hefty cost estimates. The job before us is to make use of those plans and implement their recommendations as far as our financial resources will allow.
9. What will you do to strengthen the partnership between the District of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation?
I'm not sure the word 'partnership' accurately describes the relationship between the District of West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation — a relationship that could be considered unique in Canada. Although similar, the two entities are not the same in terms of governance and structure. The District of West Kelowna operates subject to provincial legislation overseeing municipalities; WFN does not. Nor does it have the same electoral process. The DWK provides a number of services to WFN, for which it receives appropriate payment. We have collaborated on some matters and we have had significant differences on others. We recognize that our municipality occupies traditional territory of the Syilx people. I cannot say for certain what would cement a full and meaningful 'partnership,' but it is certainly something to strive for, whether through establishment of common objectives, such as land-use policies, or working jointly on cultural and economic initiatives.
10. What would be your number one priority for the next four years as a Councillor for the District of West Kelowna?
I have no single priority. Council has established a number of strategic objectives that have remained fairly consistent during the past few years and there is much to be done, some tough decisions to make, before those objectives are fully met. Contrary to what some might believe, we have outgrown our 'temporary' municipal hall; a new facility must be built within the next few years. We have chosen a design and location, but it will be up to the electorate to detrmine if the project is to proceed. I believe the decision should be made by referendum, not the so-called alternate approval process. Another project I hope will gain traction is development of an artificial turf field. Last year I facilitated establishment of a committee comprised of sports groups that would make use of such a facility. I stressed the importance of coming up with a solid business plan — including willingness and ability to raise funds — in order to gain council support. A preliminary plan has been prepared and submitted to municipal staff, which will fine-tune the numbers, look at potential locations and submit a report to be considered during council's 2015 review of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
The civic election is Saturday November 15th, 2014.
For the most up to date and current information, visit our 2014 Civic Election Page.
For current information on candidates running in your community, visit the following sites:
Kelowna Votes, West Kelowna Votes, Lake Country Votes, or Peachland Votes.