Black Press Media is reaching out to all candidates running for West Kelowna 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.
Tasha Da Silva – Council candidate
If elected, how do you think council should manage growth, development and attainable, affordable housing in West Kelowna?
I believe that there is a shortage of housing which can accommodate the various needs and income thresholds of our diverse community. Notably, low to moderate-income families in our community are most desperate for affordable housing options, yet have few options in today’s housing climate. West Kelowna council should use tactical consideration when evaluating development applications for both affordable housing and social housing options within the boundaries of Westbank & Boucherie Urban Centres; including mixed-use, purpose-built rentals, cooperatives, subsidised housing and secondary housing, in order to accommodate our growing community and diversify our local housing pool.
In your view, what is council’s responsibility to help address street and property crime in West Kelowna?
Property and street crime is a symptom of a much larger problem. Residents struggling with substance use, complex addiction issues, mental health, homelessness and lack of affordable housing are all contributing factors to the growing number of crimes in our community. Currently, West Kelowna’s police force consists of 30 RCMP officers and eight support staff, which is only a fraction of the 70 officers we would need to be on par with the Canadian average per
100,000 residents. Council should continue to advocate, on the provincial level, for additional RCMP officers. Invest in community safety initiatives, prolific offender management, and engage with public safety, health and social service sectors in an effort to work towards overall crime reduction.
What steps do you think council could take to improve traffic flows and road infrastructure in West Kelowna?
A second crossing is years away, in the interim, council should focus on initiatives which reduce the need for West Kelowna residents to cross the Bennett bridge. We can address known areas of congestion by building interchanges at both the Boucherie-Horizon and Westlake-Hudson intersections and continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to address the Highway 97 couplet. Additional focus should be on connecting neighbourhood centres with reliable transit, bike routes and ride-share options.
Who is your favourite Okanagan celebrity and why?
The West Kelowna Warriors General! He pumps up the crowd at every hockey game, brings the community together and elevates our team towards victory with his irresistible team spirit.