On Oct. 20, Kamloops residents will pick one mayor, eight councillors and five school trustees. The ballot will have two mayoral candidates, 21 councillor candidates and 10 school trustee candidates. There are also 21 candidates running in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
KamloopsMatters has sent out a list of questions to those vying for a seat in public office.
We start off with incumbent Ken Christian, who hopes to keep his job for another term.
Name: Ken Christian
Running for: Mayor
Number of years lived in Kamloops: 41
Current neighbourhood: Juniper Ridge
Occupation: Mayor; before that I was a consultant and before that, I was a health officer
Reason community would recognize your name: 37 years in public health, 18 years as a school trustee, six years as a councillor
What is the most important issue facing Kamloops, and how do you propose to deal with it?
The most important issue currently facing Kamloops is affordability. We need to balance the cost associated with housing and control taxation and spending. To do this we need to continue budgeting on a five-year financial plan. We must anticipate major expenditures and continue to support seniors and first-time buyers and renters by creating entry-level housing options that are safe, affordable and sustainable. Growing our tax base will allow us to invest in community improvements that make Kamloops family-friendly, active and healthy.
How should Kamloops address the issue of crime in the city?
We need to continue to support RCMP manpower requests and we need to work closely with anti-gang and drug enforcement units to limit the supply of drugs on our streets. Extra investment is needed in criminal intelligence and community policing. Generally, Kamloops is safe but there are periods of criminal activity that are largely committed by prolific offenders. Extra, focused resources in these neighbourhoods will help but so will Neighborhood Watch programs.
What is your specific reason for running?
I want to be mayor to serve a city I love. I want to use my skill set to lead a caring and creative council that is committed to improving livability in this city. I want to work on behalf of all citizens in all neighbourhoods. I like solving problems and achieving results. I have worked very hard this past year and would like to opportunity to continue the momentum.
Where can the city spend less?
The city was recognized for its financial accountability and is generally frugal in its approach to expenses; however, there are a few areas we need to continue to monitor. Those include the use of external consultants, balancing taxation and user fees and business attraction by tax deferral. During my time on council, we have reviewed and modernized our approach to development cost charges. We need to systematically review other aspects of our operations.
Where should the city be investing more?
This city needs to invest more in affordable housing reserves, tourism and the tech sector but we need to make money before we develop plans to spend money. Growth and investment are key to our ability to pay for additional public services. Our recent memorandum of understanding with Thompson Rivers University is an example of leveraging and cooperation between public entities.
What new business or feature would you like to see in Kamloops?
The new features I would like to see in Kamloops are a cultural centre and an arts centre. I have been working with the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc to explore converting the Stuart Wood site into a joint cultural centre that will explore our shared history. I have met with the Kamloops Art Gallery, Western Canada Theatre and the Kamloops Symphony to invite new proposals for a celebration of the arts in Kamloops that would incorporate their needs jointly.
Next time you’re walking in the woods and you come face-to-face with a Sasquatch, what do you do?
Not sure where you're going with this question but I am not going with you.
If the next city council does something film-worthy, who would play you in the film?
Complete the sentence...
When I’m not at home or at work, you can find me: ...enjoying a Kamloops park.
The most random, yet interesting fact about me is: I reffed basketball for 25 years.
My favourite beverage is: ...coffee early. Chardonnay later.
For Christmas/Hanukkah/the gift-giving season, I would like: ...to be with my family.
The best park in/near to Kamloops is: Riverside Park
If Kamloops didn’t exist, I’d be living in: Scotch Creek
When I need some pump-up music, I listen to: Jimmy Cliff