Bryden Winsby – Council candidate
Managing continued, rapid growth is a challenge for any community. We must follow the principles of smart growth, which means striving to ensure that development proceeds without putting undue strain on existing infrastructure, maintains the ambience that draws people to live here in the first place, and provides the amenities that match the present and future needs of a growing population.
As for the attainable housing enigma, I’d like to see the city pay more than lip service. It could, for example, work with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to develop what the CMHC terms a Housing Action Plan, drawing stakeholders together to get a clear picture of the situation and determine ways to offer the kinds of housing options that could and should be available.
While hiring more police might seem to be a reasonable response, it’s not the solution. The root causes of crime need to be addressed. This is the purview of the provincial and federal governments. Local government does not have the resources to deal with mental health and addiction issues. Council can, however, lobby hard for improved social programs and changes to the criminal justice system, such as keeping prolific offenders off our streets for longer periods of time.
While more improvements are needed for the busiest arterial road in our city, Boucherie Road, the most serious traffic problems occur along Highway 97, which, again, is essentially a provincial responsibility. Millions of dollars were spent a few years ago studying the issue, in part to develop what was termed the Central Okanagan Integrated Transportation Strategy, but that effort was aborted when the BC Liberal government was ousted.
We don’t need more studies. We need solutions that can be implemented before getting serious about a second crossing — reducing the number of traffic lights and building interchanges, for example. While a dramatic increase in the use of public transit may be a long-term fix, it’s not a realistic expectation in the short term.
I don’t have a favourite Okanagan celebrity. Sorry.