©2018 by Vernon Candidate Questions.

ECONOMIC QUESTIONS

 

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

 

VICTOR I CUMMING

One of the critical initiatives raised in the Regional Employment Lands Action Plan is the shared-services agreement for marketing, site selection and promotion, and shared land use planning for the creation of industrial land between Vernon, Coldstream, Spallumcheen, Electoral Areas B and C, OKIB and Splatsin. This will ensure efficient service provision for roads, rail, and worker transport within the communities in the region. These shared efforts will also continue to create additional opportunities for light and heavy industrial businesses and jobs in the North Okanagan. Infill along industrial corridors will also happen organically over time, limited only by the industrial land availability, and will provide much needed modest increases in density in existing industrial areas. These are all solutions which are low cost for the municipalities and high value for the community.

I haven’t seen the plan but I’m sure things could be worked out.

We need to always be working with our communities in surrounding areas to support local economic development that creates benefits for the Cities involved. I believe that in Section “1.3  A framework for Success” is a big key part in effective leadership between community leaders. It also defines the need to always be working at a purpose of partnership that is the basis of ongoing success and growth of a region and the communities involved.

No answer.

Candidates for Councillor

SCOTT ANDERSON

No answer.

DAVE DESHANE

Amalgamation.

TERESA DURNING

I feel partnership and collaboration between both levels of government and area communities will continue to be essential for the success of Vernon The initiative that excites me most is the goal of the plan to “Identify the vacant land parcels that can realistically be developed to generate employment within the next 5 years” I believe any initiative that bolsters employment and better utilizes the asset of land within the city, region, or Province is something I endorse.

KELLY FEHR

Partnering with regional stakeholders for the purposes of economic growth that will benefit all parties will be an amazing learning opportunity for me. The City of Armstrong, District of Coldstream, City of Enderby, Village of Lumby, North Okanagan Regional District, Okanagan Indian Band, Township of Spallumcheen, Splatsin Band and the City of Vernon all have unique needs and infrastructure. The priorities will very, however we will all see the benefits of increasing our tax base to finance local services, assets, and amenities. By working collaboratively, we can reduce competition amongst stakeholders and reduce the associated struggles to each community. There are numerous challenges to each stakeholder to be successful on their own.


The Regional Employment Lands Action Plan that interests me the most is: Develop a framework or

model that outlines steps for policy development, creating incentives and program recommendations

for key actions and activities that can be implemented faster, more sustainably and with greater

flexibility.


This initiative interests me the most because as new markets develop, and funding opportunities

become available we need to be ready to capitalize on them. If we are not mobilized and prepared

our region will miss key economic development opportunities.

JASMINE FINLAY

No answer.

SHERRILEE FRANKS

No answer.

KARI GARES

Vernon has a land issue in the sense that we are limited in our land availability options when it comes to Industrial or Commercial land uses. Due to this, there’s a requirement to partner with other areas for further development initiatives which is the primary reason for the partnership between the City of Vernon and RDNO. This partnership is called the Regional Employment Lands Action Plan which helps increase regional economic growth, employment opportunities and prosperity through collaboration with partnering areas to improve the competitiveness in the marketplace. One of the challenges that Vernon and surrounding areas has when trying to
attract new business, both commercial and industrial, is to ensure that the impression of in-fighting amongst the many local areas is minimized.

DON JEFCOAT

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.

LILY KERR

No answer.

RICK LAVIN

Partnerships are the cornerstone of success. I will support the continued collaboration between the City and other communities in the region by working on committees, negotiation teams, and

strategy forums.


Expand infrastructure servicing specific to water and sewer is the area that I am most interested in. We have incredibly high water costs and aging infrastructure. Potable water delivery and better

recognition of waste water as a resource are key areas that I am excited to learn more about and to work hard to improve.

SHAWN LEE

I would cooperate by offering expertise to help economic development in our region. Why? Because a rising tide raise all ships. This document deserves more study than I have time at the moment.es more study than I have time at the moment.

GORD LEIGHTON

Partnerships with other communities in the region will be imperative for the entire region. We are very limited in available land for industrial development.


My primary interests? Establishment of a Rural Economic Development Function and improved marketing and promotion of lands – and resources. Economic development will not be optimized in

the region without robust resources, strong community partnerships and an effective strategy to sell opportunities to investors and developers.

KEVIN LEPP

The joining together of seven other communities as well as the Splatsin and Okanagan Indian Band for this plan is an effective way to begin.

JAMIE MORROW

My vision includes a city where real collaboration exists between various stakeholder groups. We need to work and collaborate together as we all benefit when businesses expand or new business move to our areas.


To quote from the ELAP: Ultimately the goal of the ELAP is to: Specifically, the terms of reference for this assignment stated that the project was intended to and must accomplish:

1.Engage and energize the community and key stakeholders;

2.Pursue a process where employment lands, as critical resources, are identified, secured and utilized more effectively and efficiently;

3 Define employment land actions that are systematic, relevant and well thought out; and,

4. Develop a framework or model that outlines steps for policy development, creating incentives and program recommendations for key actions and activities that can be implemented faster, more sustainably and with greater flexibility.


Starting page 13. Retention and Expansion Of Local Businesses:

There is substantial empirical evidence to support the argument that facilitating the development and growth of local businesses is fundamental to achieving strong local economies; and as such is typically a key component of most Economic Development efforts in Canada. However, many retention and expansion efforts tend to be undervalued, in terms of financial allocation, often because these activities have a less visible impact than other activities. Consequently, when deemed a priority and with an absence of sufficient funding, Economic Development agencies are limited by the range of services they might offer and are required to be very innovative in how they approach the broader issues of Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program delivery.


Business/Investment Attraction:

Business attraction programs are intended to round out or help diversify local economies by bringing in new investors and new enterprises. Globalization has resulted in an increasing number of Economic Development agencies working to attract new businesses and investment in Canada over the past twenty years. However, of all the Economic Development components business/investment attraction tends to be the most costly of endeavors (to do it right, that is) though surprisingly in many cases the easiest to finance. The availability of somewhat “easy” financing exacerbates those situations that imply less focus on what needs to be done and a greater focus on where the money is.


Entrepreneurial Development Activities:

Enterprises and entrepreneurs have been at the center stage of growth, transition and modernization since the days of the Industrial Revolution. In fact, in Canada, entrepreneurship is the catalyst that initiates and sustains the process of development. Today, unlike in the United States, much of the programming that supports entrepreneurial development in Canada has been retained within line Ministries (Provincial and Federal), universities and colleges, or carved off to other quasi Economic Development agencies and authorities; such as Community Futures Organizations, Young Entrepreneurs Associations, and Women’s Enterprise Centers. This means, quite frankly, there is little or no interest nor financing available for traditional Economic Development endeavors to directly support the entrepreneurial development process other than to focus on building a business/entrepreneur friendly environment, which in terms of financing usually implies programming predominantly along the lines of advocacy, improving the regulatory regime and selected pro-business policy changes. I have heard so many times that Vernon is not open for business. A priority of mine if elected would be to work with council and administration to make Vernon a business friendly community and one that is widely known as OPEN and WELCOME to new business and existing business expansion.


To quote from page 27

Principles of Partnerships

THINK REGIONALLY

- Use strong regional representation to ensure the initiatives and programs embody the needs of

 he entire region. While working on assignments the representatives of Regional Growth Strategy Support Team has the vested interest of the entire region as the primary focal point.

COLLABORATIVE EFFORT

- The planning process should encourage the active participation of all communities within RDNO at both the staff and elected official levels.

COMMUNICATION AND TRANSPARENCY

– Planning deliberations will be communicated regularly with the community and senior leadership will make strategic decisions in a timely, open, and transparent way.

MUTUAL TRUST AND RESPECT

- The efforts engage each of the member communities in a fair and respectful way that fosters understanding between diverse views, values, and interests.

EQUITABLE ENGAGEMENT PROCESS

- The partnership designs engagement processes that allow all member communities a reasonable opportunity to contribute and develop a balanced perspective.

COMMITMENT

- The partners commit resources to engagement processes to ensure engagement activities are effective


I agree with and support the Principles of Partnerships. And I will end with these concluding remarks from page 75

Concluding Remarks

A favourable business climate is essential for attracting private sector investment and for the development of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). A poor business environment – i.e., one plagued by inner- government fighting, factors that impose heavy costs, delays and risks – impedes economic development and can frighten away investment. Private sector investment is the largest source of external finance in creating employment in most economies.


We need do everything within our power and this will be a priority of mine if elected to work with council and administration to streamline our processes to make Vernon OPEN for BUSINESS.

AKBAL MUND

The relationship between the City of Vernon and all other jurisdictions has not been better.  Over the past 7 years we have managed to accomplish many agreements, and for us to succeed we need to work with the partners to help them develop industrial lands which Vernon lacks.

DALVIR NAHAL

I think that we need to understand that Vernon just doesn't have enough land to accommodate every type of business, It is essential we work with surrounding communities to promote economic growth. A recent example is the 60-million-dollar investment of VEGPRO. Through our tourism board, and with the help of our economic development officer we continue to cross-promote business's thus leading to an indirect benefit for Vernon.

BRIAN QUIRING

As a business owner I have found the best way to retain staff is to promote the lifestyle of the region by allowing staff time off to enjoy our beautiful community. I would continue to support tax relief for downtown development and look to economic development and tourism strategies to attract new business.

DAWN TUCKER

Yes, we already see this happening with the rail trail and joint marketing for our golf courses in the valley and the ski hills.

TERRY VULCANO

How much is enough? Lake Country has it in their Official Community Plan to reach a population of 20,000. If 20,000 is enough for Lake Country why isn’t 40,000 enough for Vernon? A principle of Eco-Tourism (principled tourism) is to identify carrying capacities and set quotas. That notion could be applied to the joint areas of the North Okanagan. What are the carrying capacities for being able to feed ourselves, to have ample water, to be able to move around without traffic delays? Are we exceeding them? What will it cost to go over capacity? Until these questions are answered I believe it is premature to plan for more growth. When I go door-to-door and talk to residents two themes have been emerging: inadequate snow removal and not wanting to be big like Kelowna. Let us find out what are the wishes of the populace and determine the various carrying capacities before launching more growth aspirations. If we cannot meet snow removal expectations at present then is it wise to pursue expansion? In the 1980’s the Brundtland Commission* advocated sustainable development – let’s bring that concept into the conversation.

SAM ZAHARIA

I will be keeping a close eye on the Local Area Plan for the Swan Lake Commercial Corridor. Development in this sensitive area has the potential for negative impacts on the surrounding wetlands and watershed, but also for collaboration between industry, the neighbourhood and tourism.

 

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


 

Examples of ways that I would support business retention and expansion in the City include: continue improvements to the downtown to increase walkability; develop the new proposed cultural centre downtown; assist in linking businesses with speciality skills development programs at OC and UBCO; and promote attainable housing for working families.

One way would be to lower taxes.

The ways a city can look at and support business retention and expansion are by continuing to work together at creating a welcoming environment for outside investment. We need to be actively working with the businesses already in our community to develop initiatives to retain our already business base we have. We need to look at certain policies the City has currently that will cut potential red tape that hinders development and development in the future. We need to make sure we are still working together as a team to create smart investment with long term economic benefits to the investor and City. As a City we need to be providing the necessary resources, tools and promotion of our current businesses to have continued success as we actively introduce new businesses into our community base currently.

No answer.

Candidates for Councillor

SCOTT ANDERSON

No answer.

DAVE DESHANE

Currently our economy is very stable and spread through multiple sectors. I have clients in hi-tech, agriculture, construction, forestry…. I would like to say to help with land in locations like the Lavington Industrial Park and the Swan Lake Corridor. But they are not in Vernon.

TERESA DURNING

  • Support ease of permitting process

  • consistent municipal development rules

  • Strategic construction schedule (Paving and road development)

  • Continue to support the Economic Development department in initiatives that seed growth

KELLY FEHR

The high cost of housing and low vacancy rates in Vernon have a substantial impact on recruiting and retaining employees for our business community. Vernon will continue to struggle in attracting new businesses to Vernon when potential employees cannot find housing specifically, housing that is affordable, within most entry level positions.


In working to support business retention and expansion I would:


Continue supporting the strong relationship that the City of Vernon has formed with the provincial government and non-government organizations. We have had several provincially funded housing initiatives announced in Vernon over the last year and we are making steps in the right direction.


This fall the Federal Homelessness Parenting Strategy will be accepting applications/proposals from communities across Canada. We will be ready to submit our Vernon application.


Partner with stakeholders to establish a centralized housing list which assesses applicant vulnerability/needs and places them in the appropriate housing and or program I.e. housing, supported housing, youth housing, mental health housing or addictions treatment. There are several non-government organizations working on supporting the community through housing initiatives. These organizations range from the Canadian Mental Health Association to Habitat for Humanity.


I would work with private citizens, non-government organizations, applicable governing bodies, including the City of Vernon to identify partnership opportunities.


I would support city staff’s work with developers to find the right location for new housing developments. When appropriate for our community, I would support new housing developments.

JASMINE FINLAY

No answer.

SHERRILEE FRANKS

No answer.

KARI GARES

The best way to support business retention and expansion within the city is to make the business atmosphere as attractive as possible for outside investment. We need to attract, not only businesses, but a community that can support growth with the appropriate amount of infrastructure, amenities and services. As mentioned in previous, to attract businesses, the City of Vernon must do more to improve housing affordability, social inclusivity and planning, urban development and infrastructure improvements. See question 13.

DON JEFCOAT

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.

LILY KERR

No answer.

RICK LAVIN

I believe that city council plays an important role in promoting and retaining business. If I am fortunate enough to be elected I will work hard to build informal relationships and foster partnerships with the business community to ensure that Council is listening. I will promote the development of long-term plans that align with both the city’s priorities and those of the business community. I will advocate for incentives that encourage new and ongoing projects that align with the Official Community Plan and that encourage new businesses to locate in Vernon. I will support plans that to reduce red tape and expedite city services to businesses that align with the Official Community Plan.

SHAWN LEE

A well run city that doesn’t burden its business community with too much red tape. Foster an attitude of yes we can.

GORD LEIGHTON

The City of Vernon must pay attention to the health and well-being of our business community. I characterize this as customer service. I fear that a culture of indifference and on occasion, arrogance, has emerged in the culture of our elected representatives and in some areas of administration with regard to business concerns. We have seen altercations between business owners and bylaw officers; some business owners have endured severe economic hardship as a consequence of poor planning and communication regarding infrastructure projects. As a result, Vernon’s reputation as a business-friendly city has been tarnished. Sadly, there have been instances where entrepreneurs have simply given up, sold their assets and left town.


There are a number of remedies to restore some sparkle and removes the tarnish. Tops on my list is to nurture a culture of Kaizen (continuous improvement) through customer service training for administration and some departments in the city, such as bylaw enforcement. During my time in Prince George, I attended a formal customer service training program at the Banff School of Management. Several senior staff members from the City of Prince George were enrolled in the program. I asked the then City Manager, George Paul, why the interest in customer service. His answer made perfect sense. He said, “Gord, in your business if a customer is unhappy, they can take their business elsewhere. In the city, unhappy customers simply keep phoning”.


​A companion remedy is to strengthen dialogue between the city and stakeholder organizations such

as the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce and the DVA. All we need to do is ask for their

feedback. “How are we doing?” “What can we do better?” “What is keeping your members awake

at night?”

KEVIN LEPP

Promote Vernon as Open for Business.

JAMIE MORROW

I know Vernon is desirable and is a very entrepreneurial city. I have heard so many times that Vernon is not open for business. A priority of mine if elected would be to work with council and administration to make Vernon a business friendly community and one that is widely known as OPEN and WELCOME to new business and existing business expansion.

AKBAL MUND

Most of the business we have in town are growing.  We have completed some work with some of the bigger employers in Vernon and seen increased  in their growth.  Working on smart development with our economic development officer  Kevin Poole has kept big business here.

DALVIR NAHAL

I believe the greatest ways to support retention and expansion in the city is through cross promotion. In order for a business to thrive, we need people willing to spend money. We need to ensure that our city is easy to navigate through, create a healthier and vibrant downtown core. People go where people are. Thus they end up also spending more.

BRIAN QUIRING

In consultation with the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Vernon Association the city must be educated and sensitive to the needs of the business community and strive
to support those needs.

DAWN TUCKER

The city can make smart choices around areas that are currently sitting empty and when it comes to infrastructure upgrades/improvements and facilities being planned and built.

TERRY VULCANO

Rather than venture guesses as to what might work for supporting business retention and expansion, I suggest researching the matter with businesses, similar to what Community Futures Central Kootenay did for Nelson, BC and area. However Council should be willing and prepared to adopt recommendations that will derive from such a study.

SAM ZAHARIA

Work with local campuses to ensure students can acquire the specific skills

and technological languages demanded by the startups and tech companies

we hope to attract.


Cultivate a liveable climate for a population of creatives and innovators. A city that generates artists and visionaries can provide the workforce of makers that tech leaders and entrepreneurs are looking for.

 

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

 

Skill development is primarily within the Provincial mandate, however, the City can play a crucial role by attracting and retaining young workers. To support the workforce needs in our community, the City can encourage increased housing availability. There is a critical gap in Vernon with regards to attainable housing and I support expanding the existing initiatives for affordable housing and medium density housing projects. I also support maintaining affordable and high-quality recreational and cultural activities, supporting the expansion of specialty skills training in the North Okanagan, and promoting links between the City of Vernon and our local training institutions. One way to accomplish this is to improve the busing routes between Vernon and UBCO and OC which will enable more students to live, work, and establish roots in Vernon while attending post secondary institutions.

Possibly live a higher wage with more training.

The ways a city can look at and support business retention and expansion are by continuing to work together at creating a welcoming environment for outside investment. We need to be actively working with the businesses already in our community to develop initiatives to retain our already business base we have. We need to look at certain policies the City has currently that will cut potential red tape that hinders development and development in the future. We need to make sure we are still working together as a team to create smart investment with long term economic benefits to the investor and City. As a City we need to be providing the necessary resources, tools and promotion of our current businesses to have continued success as we actively introduce new businesses into our community base currently.

No answer

Candidates for Councillor

SCOTT ANDERSON

No answer.

DAVE DESHANE

Affordable downtown core housing.

TERESA DURNING

Continued support of organizations such as Nexus & Community Futures, Friendship Centre and the college to provide innovative programs and training. Continue supporting talent brought in by programs like the Provincial Nominee Program. Support initiatives that make Vernon a greater, safer more affordable place to live. Support infrastructure that attracts talent to the city i.e. Cultural Centre.

KELLY FEHR

My answer to the previous questions of “ways you would support business retention and expansion in the city” also pertains to this question. It is very hard to attract potential employees to the community when the housing vacancy rates hover around 1%. As we increase an affordable and attainable housing market we will attract new employees.


There can be opportunities through the city website and app to promote job postings from the private and public market.


The city can partner with Okanagan college to establish regular presentations by local businesses to students. There is a part time/casual employee base that could be marketed to better. The non- government organization I work for does this routinely and have found it to be beneficial to both the students and the organization.

JASMINE FINLAY

No answer.

SHERRILEE FRANKS

No answer.

KARI GARES

Each city has different economic requirements and faces different issues when it comes to developing their labor market. One way they can adjust for this is by implementing a skills forecasting initiative, that many local governments are utilizing, that would reflect the local needs and context to ensure that the workforce is suitably skilled to meet economic demand. Skills forecasting not only involves collecting and analyzing data but also requires a dialogue with employers to collect qualitative information that a tool cannot produce. As such, skills forecasting can help establish and develop positive relationships between the municipality and local employers. It shows the municipality is committed to supporting the private sector to fill the skills gap locally which benefits both the local economy and population. It also requires engaging with education providers to understand the current local training and education provision as well as future plans in terms of new courses or training. Skills forecasting will also highlight any mismatch between employer need and the take up of courses by students, which
can be a useful tool to help young people identify the careers that are likely to lead to employment opportunities locally. Finally, skills forecasting at city level will help foster dialogue and build bridges between local businesses and educational institutions. The analysis of the results of skills forecasts will provide both quantitative and qualitative evidence that will help influence local skills and training provision, enabling education providers to respond more adequately and effectively to business needs.

DON JEFCOAT

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.

LILY KERR

No answer.

RICK LAVIN

Employers are facing increased pressures finding qualified and skilled workers. The pressures are exacerbated by the increases in minimum wage, and the desire to provide a living wage. Vernon needs to be a desirable place to live, work, and play. Great work is being done on the Economic Development side, but I believe more can be done by developing a strong Workforce Development Strategy.

SHAWN LEE

Vernon’s Official Community Plan provides the framework for decisions that support that demanding work force needs.

GORD LEIGHTON

Recruitment and retention of skilled labour will continue to be a problem, likely indefinitely. As baby boomers retire, shortages will accelerate, placing strain and limitations to our growth. The City of Vernon itself is experiencing this problem right now.


Recruitment is the key. The City and RDNO should collaborate on a recruitment strategy that business, industry and governments can use and perhaps customize for their own recruitment efforts. A myriad of options are available, such as a robust interactive recruitment website, collateral marketing materials such as brochures, audio-video elements that recruiters can utilize to sell the amenities of the region, etc. We have a rich, diversified, attractive story to lure newcomers. We simply have to sell our sizzle.

KEVIN LEPP

Labor shortages are happening in many places in BC right now. Better options for lowcost housing and better paying jobs.

JAMIE MORROW

I have been a business owner/operator and manager for over 25 years. With one business I had the responsibility to hire for accompany of just over 100 employees. I have always believed that I have a responsibility to attract, train and serve my employees well so they will happy to stay with my business as it costs a lot more to hire and train than to retain. One way is through immigration. Please see my comments from question 3 regarding immigration.

AKBAL MUND

We will continue to support immigration into Vernon.  This is one of the few ways to fill the role.

DALVIR NAHAL

Streamlining the process for businesses to grow so they don’t feel they have to go through numerous loopholes and costs to expand. We need business to feel they have the support they need. In many cases even if labor is found it is nearly impossible to accommodate them. This is where the city can streamline the process with builders and developers in the building process. More builds will mean more availability thus alleviating one of the major issues of labor recruitment and retention.

BRIAN QUIRING

The city should continue to support the School District and Okanagan College to ensure a pool of skilled labour. We need to provide adequate public transportation to our educational facilities.

DAWN TUCKER

Affordable housing for all segments of our community is where we should begin. We need to look at out of the box developments to provide housing such as co- ops or microhousing and ensure that we have the infrastructure to support it as well as cutting red tape to streamline processes and eliminate inefficiencies. Attracting immigrants can not only help alleviate labour and skills shortages but add diversity to our city. As well we need to focus on attracting Doctors, nurses, RCMP, and other professionals where we are seeing shortages. The new trades building at Okanagan College is an example we can build on to provide opportunities to residents so they do not have to relocate and instead can stay in our labor pool gaining skills needed in our community.

TERRY VULCANO

There are several things that could be done to address labour shortages
a) Paying more than minimum wage
b) Going to the high schools and encouraging participating in the labour market at entry levels jobs as valuable for experience, building their resumes and earning income
c) Encourage going into a Trade as early as Grade Nine (show earning potentials of being in an apprenticeship program vs borrowing money to go to College or University)
d) Providing low rent housing (i.e. that does not require parking) with a remarkable transit system for getting around

SAM ZAHARIA

By ensuring that their employees have access to affordable housing, appropriate services and accessible recreation so they can enjoy a healthy work-life balance.

 

4 - 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 OR HOSPITALS)

 

VICTOR I CUMMING

The North Okanagan has exciting new and long-established businesses firmly entrenched in emerging sectors. Operations requiring significant build footprint, e.g. True Leaf, Kingfisher Boats, Kohler, and New MGO plus many others have located in the surrounding communities. The Northern Italian success clearly points to the City and region assisting these types of operations to join forces, encouraging the use of each others advanced capabilities and linking them to high end business support services which are also here. The City, with the only staffed economic development capacity in RDNO outside of OKIB and Splatsin, needs to expand the economic development staffing to focus on critical sector including agriculture. It is through the City partnering with the adjacent jurisdictions, as they have the land, that the mix of opportunity and capacity can be linked to expand these enterprises with significant land requirements.

ART W GOURLEY

I don’t support cannabis as it will get people back to smoking cigs.

ERIK S OLESON

We as a Council and City need to always be supporting new emerging sectors that become part of our community, it’s what will set us apart for other communities if we are proactively approaching this as well as create an economic benefit to our City. We need to make sure we have polices/bylaws that support these new sectors but also be actively seeking public input on how and where some of these new sectors are integrated into our community that works for our community.

DARRIN J TAYLOR

No answer

Candidates for Councillor

SCOTT ANDERSON

No answer.

DAVE DESHANE

The cannabis industry is controlled by federal and provincial legislation. We will have to implement some very simple zoning by laws.


As to large scale manufacturing, Vernon has a challenge in that Vernon city has very little land for this purpose. The land is in the surrounding areas of Greater Vernon.

TERESA DURNING

The city should support emerging sectors by working together with neighbouring communities It is our responsibility to ensure optimal land use that creates opportunity growth and economic benefit for our City and area.

KELLY FEHR

This is an interesting question as it relates to the cannabis sector. The typical barriers for a new industry will not exist as it would for others. Significant competition will likely exist; securing financing to grow the company will not likely be an issue; high marketing expenses will not be necessary, because the product is known; and both investors and consumers know that there is a large market. We will need to balance the potential of maximizing tax revenue with that of knowing cannabis is a product which can have negative health and social impacts as alcohol and pharmaceutical products do. Granted I do believe the health risks are far less severe to adults than alcohol and pharmaceutical products. How the city should support this sector should be reviewed in consultation with health care experts and experienced communities in which the sector has legally existed for several years.


With respect to attracting and supporting other emerging sectors, we have a good framework within the Employment Lands Report. Additionally, the city can establish an Emerging Sector Task Force with a membership of city planners, Regional District of the North Okanagan, Okanagan College, University of British Columbia, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Vernon Association and applicable non- government organizations I.e. Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan. The goal would be to:

- Identify emerging sectors, economic benefits in terms of competitiveness, growth, sustainability and wealth creation, as well as social benefits.

- Identify the barriers in attracting the sectors to Vernon and working proactively to reduce them.

- Recommend policies that will help support the regional development and economic benefits

JASMINE FINLAY

No answer.

SHERRILEE FRANKS

No answer.

KARI GARES

The best way to support emerging sectors such as cannabis would be to ensure that it is regulated. Until the full scope of the new regulated rules and policies are established by the provincial government, the local governments can start to engage in the discussion to set the perimeters of how they will deal with the new reality of the cannabis industry.


In addition to the cannabis industry, Vernon should be making every effort to attract another industry that has been growing substantially – the tech industry. People are attracted to great places with a variety of neighborhoods, amenities, and transportation choices. People may be willing to accept a lower salary to live in a community that offers these qualities. However, affordability is an issue so Vernon must continue to follow through with its Affordability Housing Plan.


One way to address this issue is through revitalization of our downtown core, main streets and core. Many communities have developed revitalization programs to improve the function and image of distressed, degraded or underutilized areas. The ultimate goal is to support economic resurgence and to catalyze new investment and economic activity in those areas. Revitalization efforts are common in downtowns and main street districts, as well distressed commercial corridors and transitioning neighborhoods or areas. The practice of placemaking, which focuses on creating attractive, functional and enjoyable public spaces, is gaining traction in economic development circles as well. Intended to serve as a community driven approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces, place making uses a wide range of tactics – from improved street design to public art to the programming of events – that aim to create appealing and authentic places that can attract people and activity and provide a strong “sense of place.” Creating a community with character, amenities and quality of life to attract would- be entrepreneurs deserves greater recognition in local economic development efforts.

DON JEFCOAT

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.

LILY KERR





no answer.

RICK LAVIN

This is a difficult question to answer. The scope of authority for City Council places limits on what it can and cannot do. Council can, however, ensure the city is open for business and investment. It can support public/private partnerships. Multi-use developments that incorporate new sectors could be provided incentives around taxation and land use zoning. High tech incubators and accelerators would draw talent to the area and, in turn, industry.

SHAWN LEE

The cities Economic Plan provides the framework for the support of emerging industries.

GORD LEIGHTON

Marketing Greater Vernon as a destination for emerging sectors requires a highly focused and targeted approach. If we pay attention to opportunities at the global level, we can identify targets worthy of exploring. In Nanaimo, for example, a cannabis enterprise is negotiating with Coca-Cola to explore possibilities of cannabis non-THC extracts as ingredients in new beverages. Is there opportunity for businesses in our agricultural sector to develop cannabis edibles?


Kelowna Aerospace is now the largest employer in Kelowna, with more workers than in health care or education.


​As a stable geographic region with little seismic activity, the Okanagan Valley can become a major information storage data shed for companies world-wide. IBM preferred Kelowna over other Western Canadian and North American locations because of its climate and seismic conditions and was proposing to build a 100 million dollar Giga Centre there, one of the largest data centre projects in the world.

KEVIN LEPP

These answers will take a team of people to find effective solutions to this question.

JAMIE MORROW

The city has a solid hard working and active economic development department that does their best to bring new business to our area. I believe that we need to cut through the red tape as a council and administration to make it a more streamlined process to not only encourage business to come here but for them to want to set up shop and stay here.

AKBAL MUND

We as a City have to be careful not to support any specific business while excluding others.  All business is important and should be treated as such.

DALVIR NAHAL

Education is the key. We must make sure our staff is educated and ready to accommodate any new emerging sector. We need to prepared and ready so that when business is ready to invest they are coming here because we understand and accommodate what they need.  Availability of labor and housing are key factors for business in making their decision on where to invest. Offering tax incentives and or streamlining the process is also a great way to attract new businesses.

BRIAN QUIRING

The city need to continue to preserve large tracts of industrial land that can accommodate manufacturing. We have prime industrial in the proximity of the Vernon Airport.

DAWN TUCKER

We need common sense bylaws and zoning. We need to collaborate with our
regional partners to support emerging sectors and enhance manufacturing so
everyone benefits.

TERRY VULCANO

The question pre-supposes Growth is desirable – it may be for businesses but not for residents. I am inclined to listen to the electorate on their wishes. If growth is favoured, The City might pick one area (e.g. innovation) to focus on and concentrate efforts that will make relocating such industry in the area. However a lot of development is likely to occur without putting effort into it as the desirability of the area becomes known. I reference Jane Jacobs “Cities and the Wealth of Nations” were development occurs whether it is wanted or not. Regulations can slow its arrival but not put it on hold indefinitely. It would be desirable to address issues of transportation and safety before promoting the area.

SAM ZAHARIA

We can support the cannabis industry by reducing the stigma through public education and by zoning with no more restrictions than those placed on alcohol sales. People have been shamed and isolated for pot use long enough.