Black Press Media is reaching out to all candidates running for Lake Country council in the 2022 municipal election, asking for their response to three specific issues about the community, as well as a fun question. Responses will be published in the order they are received.
Michael Lewis – Council candidate
If elected, how do you think council should manage growth and development of the district, while also providing affordable housing?
I firmly believe that housing is the key issue of this election. It is clear that we need more housing for all demographics to help balance supply with demand. Affordable (specifically defined as government subsidized) housing is one part of this but not the whole picture.
We need housing options at all price points and that means the District of Lake Country has to rethink its approach, and let’s face it, resistance, to housing and development.
What steps do you think council could take to help improve traffic flows and road infrastructure in the district?
Traffic flow has become a major issue in Lake Country. One problem that I see is that the District of Lake Country cannot seem to make up its mind on solutions. They make a plan, get developers on board, and then change their minds. We need more thoughtful commitment and follow-through from the District of Lake Country.
Another aspect of road infrastructure is sidewalks. This is a safety issue and deserves to be taken more seriously. The citizens of Lake Country pay very high property taxes. Our children deserve to be safe when they walk to school.
From cancelled routes to driver shortages, Lake Country is plagued with transit issues. What would be your solution to help solve them?
Lake Country will always face challenges with regard to transit. I think the obvious first step is densifying and populating our downtown core. With available housing (affordable and attainable – subsidized and market value), especially condos and townhouses, we can attract UBC students to live and work in Lake Country.
If we focus on developing our main street for businesses and high-density housing along Bottom Wood Lake Road, we could see walkability dramatically increase. This would lead to more reliance on transit and also provide a central hub and a clearer guide for route planning.
Who is your favourite Okanagan celebrity and why?
Jillian Harris. I first learned about her through the HGTV show, Love It Or List It Vancouver, and then learned that she lives in Kelowna and is a big promoter of the Okanagan. That was all good but then someone told me that she was also involved in ‘Mamas for Mamas’ which is a great organization supporting women with poverty-related struggles. I think it is admirable when someone uses their celebrity status to help others and give back to the community in which they live.