©2018 by Vernon Candidate Questions.

DON R JEFCOAT

My intent is to keep each answer short. If people wish a longer answer they can go to www.donjefcoat.com and submit a question through the contact app.

 

QUESTIONS - SOCIAL

IF ELECTED, WOULD YOU SUPPORT THE CURRENT PRACTICE OF PROVIDING MUNICIPAL LAND (UNDER A HOUSING AGREEMENT) AND WAIVING DEVELOPMENT COST CHARGES TO NON-PROFIT AFFORDABLE HOUSING AGENCIES WHO ARE SEEKING TO CONSTRUCT NEW HOUSING PROJECTS?

 I have a problem with hearing that the city cant do anything, that its not in our realm when we are sitting on land that could be handed over for development.  If council has the means to contribute then yes we should.

DO YOU SUPPORT THE IDEA THAT HIGH-DENSITY, COMPACT HOUSING IS ANOTHER IMPORTANT WAY TO ADDRESS AFFORDABLE/ATTAINABLE HOUSING? IF NOT, WHAT SOLUTIONS DO YOU PROPOSE TO ADDRESS AFFORDABILITY?

Yes I support high density and compact housing options.  50 years ago people wanted one house on one or two lots.  The younger generation wants townhouses and condos.  So that should be something we as a council focus on.  We need to change for the times

VERNON IS ANTICIPATED TO EXPERIENCE INCREASED IMMIGRATION FROM ELSEWHERE IN THE PROVINCE AND COUNTRY AS WELL AS OTHER COUNTRIES. DO YOU SUPPORT THESE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF IMMIGRATION AND IF SO, HOW WOULD YOU FACILITATE NEW IMMIGRANTS’ INTEGRATION INTO THE COMMUNITY?

I think we need to be very welcoming to newcomers to Vernon.  I do support immigration.  I think something the Chamber of Commerce could do is create a welcome basket.  If a person moves to Vernon from the Maritimes, Coldstream, or Africa we need to find a way to introduce them to the community.  The Okanagan is a destination for people around the world.  We need to be welcoming and we need to showcase our community.

IF YOU ARE ELECTED, WILL YOU CONTINUE THE POLICY OF PROVIDING FREE BUS PASSES FOR REFUGEES IN THEIR FIRST YEAR?

I watched 2 meetings where a councillor argued that we should not give out free passes to refugees.  I think we should give free passes to all new arrivals for their first month.  I also think we in council can offer a few months of passes to a small handful of persons in their first year.  Its not like we go out and buy bus passes to give away we just don't receive that as income.

 

QUESTIONS - ENVIRONMENTAL

IF ELECTED, WILL YOU SUPPORT THE CITY'S GROWTH STRATEGY AND LAND USE PLAN, AS CONTAINED IN THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN 2013 BYLAW 5470, OR WOULD YOU OPEN UP GREENFIELD AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT?

I believe we need to have smart development strategies and action.  I don't think its wise to build on green spaces

IF ELECTED, WILL YOU SUPPORT THE CITY'S ADOPTED MASTER TRANSPORTATION PLAN, WITH ITS EMPHASIS ON MORE TRIPS TO BE MADE BY WALKING, CYCLING, TRANSIT AND CARPOOLING (COLLECTIVELY KNOWN AS ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION) INSTEAD OF IN A SINGLE OCCUPANT VEHICLE (SOV)?

I believe we need to get cars off the road.  We have built a reliance on the automobile that needs to be reversed.  I don't believe parking reduction or narrow streets will be effective in that.  We need improved transit, we need to improve transit, We need to make walking better, and we need to look at getting people back onto their bicycles.  Why is some one going to ride a bicycle downtown if there is no place to secure it?  I find it shameful that for the most part alternatives to vehicular traffic systems are not in place.  And doing this does not mean less parking but creating a smarter plan.

In addition to creating these options we need to market these options.  In my conversations with people I have learned there are people that do not know they can catch a bus to UBCO and can have access to the Kelowna Transit.  I have yet to have some one be able to tell me how long it would take to cycle to Kelowna.

DO YOU SUPPORT DEVELOPING BYLAWS THAT REQUIRE BUILDERS TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE BC ENERGY STEP CODE (A SINGLE PROVINCIAL STANDARD FOR ACHIEVING MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT BUILDINGS).

Yes I will support bylaws that encourage developments to include  Energy Step Code.  I believe its very important that we are leaders in this.  Historically environment was not a concern to many now its the expectation.   Yes we need to build new.   But we need to do this with the least amount of impact now and into the future.

 

QUESTIONS - CULTURAL

DO YOU SEE ARTS AND CULTURE AS HAVING AN ACTIVE ROLE IN MAKING VERNON A MORE DESIRABLE PLACE TO LIVE, IN BUILDING COMMUNITY, AND AS AN ECONOMIC DRIVER? IF SO, HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SUPPORT IT IN THE FUTURE?

I see Arts and Culture as very important elements in these areas.   People will not move to a town solely based on if their brand of faith is not in a community, if their sport of choice is not available, etc.  When I go visit a community I will seek out venues that display their history, their local artistic and cultural offerings.   When I have out of the area visitors I take them out to O'Keefe, We go to the museum, I even will take them to the Science Center.  In my role as councillor when it comes to all amenities including arts and culture these will be a focus for me.  Even if NORDS referendum is approved it will still take nearly a term or more before we see construction begin.  I don't see a new center up and running for about 5-6 years (government is slower then a sloth).  Much of the role of council is to set civic policy.   The city does have small amounts of grants.   I believe council can contribute to the Arts and Cultural amenities.   As a councillor I will serve and listen to the groups in this arena.  I will be their voice  in the chambers, and their coach in regards to municipal matters.  While other issues may take priority I think Arts, cultural, recreation, and transportation all need their share of attention.  We cant ignore one child because another is having a bad day

WILL YOU VOTE ‘YES’ IN THE OCT 20 GREATER VERNON REFERENDUM ON BORROWING UP TO $25 MILLION FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSTRUCTING A NEW CULTURAL CENTRE IN DOWNTOWN VERNON?

YES.  Its only about $1 a month more.   25 cents more then I am currently paying.  That is if the building actually costs about $40 million.   I think we can get it built for a lot less.   For example the loan is based on the notion of Vernon selling the land to NORD.   Vernon could keep the land and enter an agreement to let NORD build and operate the center.   While it wont boost the coffers it wont add to the burden of the cost of the facility.  Its a thought not a position.  I'm not married to this idea but it is something to look at.

 

QUESTIONS - ECONOMIC

IF YOU ARE ELECTED, HOW WILL YOU PARTNER WITH OTHER COMMUNITIES IN THE REGION TO SUPPORT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; AND WHICH INITIATIVES HIGHLIGHTED IN THE REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT LANDS ACTION PLAN INTEREST YOU MOST, AND WHY?

I'm not going to make any election promises here.  Any Candidate that does is trying to win votes.  If elected I will make my time to serve the needs of the residents of Vernon including sitting on appointed committees.  If the Mayor appoints me to a committee that allows me to network with outside municipalities that would be awesome and I would devote my time to those committees and the work load that comes from them.  However the role of networking outside of the city limits goes to the Mayor and to those he feels competent  enough to do that.  My focus is on the needs of the residence of Vernon to represent them on council and to represent the overall needs of Vernon on the committees I appointed to.  I will say this I am aware of the salary of a city councillor and am fully intending to make this my job.  The reason for that is so that I wont be having to fit being a councillor into the many other aspects of my life.   I will structure my other commitments around being a councillor.

PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE OF THE WAYS YOU WOULD SUPPORT BUSINESS RETENTION AND EXPANSION IN THE CITY?

We need to bring in IT infrastructure that will allow for licence applications to be streamlined between internal department and outside agencies to allow for rapid licencing issuance.  If a new business wants to open up they should go to the services building fill out an application form pay the fee and be issued a file number.   When the necessary inspections are complete the inspector from that department or agency can log in to that file and sign off.   Once all are completed the applicant can return to city hall and the clerk can print off the licence.  We don't have to complicate the process we can look for ways to inside our system to make Vernon an attractable place  to conduct business.  We could go from delaying applications for weeks to just mere hours or a few days.  I also think we need to rethink other issues that effect the down town.  Why would one want to set up shop downtown when they can set up in the north end  and have amenities like free parking, lower construction impacts, and feeling more secure?  We charge businesses in the downtown core a DVA levy similar to that of the mall yet we don't provide the same level of service.  I also think that there should be a licence that a business owner could apply for that would allow for more then one location to be licenced. There are many ways as a council we can work to make Vernon business friendly both for existing businesses and those looking to set up shop.

OVER 40% OF BUSINESSES IN EVERY SECTOR ARE EXPERIENCING LABOUR AND SKILL SHORTAGES. HOW SHOULD THE CITY SUPPORT OUR DEMANDING WORKFORCE NEEDS?

Not only are businesses finding it hard to find employees, potential employees are finding it hard to find work.  There are options to address this.   One is more housing.  If we build our population base we build our employment base and we offer jobs to those in the construction and trades.  But we also need to look at our Transit system.   It is not an employment friendly system unless you work 8-4 Monday to Friday and live/work in Vernon.  We talk frequently about working with other neighborhoods and here is where we can start.  Out transit system can feed into 2 other systems  Kelowna and Salmon Arm.   We could receive passengers from these 2 systems.  If we looked at earlier starts later shut down and a 7 day an week system we could change how we move employees around.   This would open the door to a potential labor resource pool of just shy of 230,000.  Sure beats a labor pool of 35,000.  This not addressing Transit and its potential is the kind of thing that damages community not enhances it.   Expanded transit opens doors to other areas to such as access to more medical specialists, more areas to play, more customers, more housing, and the list goes on. We need to invest in our transit and we need to have some form of feeder agreement with neighboring transit options.  Not in 20 years but by the end of 2019.  I say scrap the current plan and lets get transit operating to model that benefits our community now.  And lets create a system of evaluation  annually and responding to the business needs of transit so that it does not fall behind again.

HOW SHOULD THE CITY SUPPORT EMERGING SECTORS SUCH AS CANNABIS, TECHNOLOGY AND ENHANCED MANUFACTURING (IE. LARGE SCALE BUSINESSES THAT MANUFACTURE PRODUCTS FOR SEVERAL COMPANIES IN ONE LOCATION, SUCH AS ELECTRONIC PRODUCTS FOR THE MILITARY OF HOSPITALS)

Lets not be afraid of these.   I get that we were told cannabis is bad.   I don't consume the product and have no intentions to start.   I don't even like the product smoked around me.   But Its not my place to tell some one they cant partake.   The arguments being made all stem from the generations upon generations of being against pot.   Obviously there is a market for it just walk by one of the dispensaries and you will likely see a busy shop.  We have policies in place to protect neighboring businesses so in my opinion let the market decide the success or failures of the cannabis industry.  If I am elected I will attempt to bring our licencing fees so that they come inline with Lake Country.  I don't want to lose investments because they have a cheaper licence rate.  I am also not afraid of attracting large operations to our area.   This question focusses on commercial and industry.  I would have no problem for UBC to look at setting up a Vernon campus.   There are lots of potential for Vernon we just need to not be afraid to move forward.

 

QUESTIONS - HEALTH

GIVEN THAT VERNON’S OVER 65 POPULATION IS AT 25% (HIGHER THAN THE NATIONAL AVERAGE OF 16.9%,) THAT CHRONIC DISEASES ARE ON THE RISE AND INCREASE WITH AGE, AND THAT SOCIAL ISOLATION IS MORE PREVALENT IN OUR SENIORS,


· IF ELECTED, HOW WILL YOU SUPPORT INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROGRAMMING TO IMPROVE HEALTH AND REDUCE ISOLATION FOR OUR SENIOR POPULATION AND THOSE WITH CHRONIC DISEASES, AS DESCRIBED IN THE DRAFT RECREATION MASTER PLAN?

My campaign has been set up as family multi generational.  I think our seniors are an amazing asset to our community and we need to support them.  However we need healthy recreational options across the board.  If we build in mind to accommodate all ages from 0-100+ this will be accommodated.  We need a pool that people can enjoy.  We need more walking facilities.   We need to see more people use the fitness place at the park.  But it does not stop there.   I intend  to work with groups that will address these issues.   We have the space lets find ways to use it.  I also want to see programs that are not age specific.  I can remember growing up from a kid right into young adult hood sitting a community quilting bees.   Seeing community dinners to raise funds for the community center.   Maybe we can find some one or a group to give Vernon a fall fair where our seniors and youth can compete for the best pie, quilt, music ability.   I will work with people that will strive to enhance Vernon for all age groups, socially, physically, and culturally.

THE 2018 CANADIAN PARTICIPACTION REPORT CARD WAS RELEASED WHICH IDENTIFIED THAT 91% OF CHILDREN AGES 5-17 DO NOT MEET MINIMAL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES FOR HEALTH. IN CONSULTATION WITH PARENT ADVISORY COUNCILS, LACK OF SAFE AND CONNECTED BICYCLING AND WALKING CORRIDORS FOR CHILDREN HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED AS THE MAIN BARRIER. VERNON HAS BEEN DEVELOPING SEPARATE ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION CORRIDORS THROUGHOUT THE CITY BUT THERE ARE GAPS IN CONNECTIONS WITH NEIGHBORHOODS, THE DOWNTOWN CORE, AND TO THE RECREATION CENTER.


· IF ELECTED, HOW WILL YOU PROMOTE AN INTEGRATED AND CONNECTED ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION NETWORK SO ALL USERS FROM 8 TO 80 CAN FEEL SAFE WHEN TRAVELLING BY NON-MOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION?

Cycling space is one area that will take a few council terms to address.   I believe we need to design our transportation corridors differently.  I believe we need to create a design that allows for travel, parking, cyclists, and pedestrians.  There are those opposed to round-abouts I favor them and think they should replace all 4 way stops.  I believe we need to ensure our cycling routes are safe.   And if people want to walk something I love it needs to be encouraged.   This is an issue that has been neglected and is going to take many years to correct.  It can and must be done.  some old timers might grumble but change is hard.   I believe a good though transportation system includes cycling, and walking traffic.  I believe a well thought out design makes communities more attractive.  Nicer looking communities attract investment, reduce crime, and boos community interaction.   So lets keep moving forward with a renewed vision

DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT ADVERSE HEALTH RISKS OF USING PESTICIDES FOR COSMETIC PURPOSES, THE CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY HAS RELEASED A POSITION STATEMENT URGING MUNICIPALITIES TO BAN THE USE OF THESE CHEMICALS. THERE ARE CURRENTLY 40 MUNICIPALITIES IN BC WHICH HAVE BANNED PESTICIDES FOR NON-ESSENTIAL PURPOSES.


· IF ELECTED, WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON PESTICIDE USE FOR NON-ESSENTIAL PURPOSES IN AREAS WHERE CHILDREN AND PETS ARE AT RISK?

Dads generation it seems love pesticides I hate them as the go to solution.  I think parks, recreation, and our works department need to stop using them with out councils approval.  That approval should happen each time an application is proposed.   It should be a last resort and there needs to be evidence that its needed.   I don't think we should be spraying chemicals.   It just messes with everything.  However in some rare and extreme cases it should be warranted.  I would rather spray a few trees for bugs  then to have the tree die and pose a much greater risk.   But if such an action required council approval we could put in place proper safety protocols to mitigate our community members and pets from being exposed to the risks of chemical spraying.   I do believe there are safer options  and those need to be used first.