©2018 by Vernon Candidate Questions.

SOCIAL QUESTIONS

 

1 - 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?

 

VICTOR I CUMMING

Yes, I support the expansion of the current Rental Housing Incentive Grant, which was adopted
by Council in May 2015 and provides grants in lieu of development cost charges to support new
housing projects. As Mayor of Vernon, I would continue to work with community partners and
the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee to create more affordable housing.

Maybe I would be able to lower the DCC cost.

Yes, I believe that the current practice allows our community to be Proactive outside provincial
funding to create affordable housing for the overall aspect of the housing spectrum. It allows us
to create housing needs where no matter if your younger, a family, a single person or senior,
have access to finding a home that’s affordable in a very struggling market.

No answer.

Candidates for Councillor

SCOTT ANDERSON

No answer

DAVE DESHANE

A better plan may be to gift the equivalent of the DCC’s to a prospective purchaser (round it up

to 50k for discussion).


Let me explain.


I was one of the founding members of the Vernon and District Land Trust, an organization
designed to locate and or create more affordable housing solutions. We did build some homes
and took over a housing project. But do I see this as an answer? Not really.


What if we took the 1,000,000 (round figures) that was just spent on the H.H. triplex on Easthill
and divided it up?


Those townhouses are not available for the age or ability challenged.


What if we took 50k and granted it to an old lady, putting her into an apartment that she can
afford. The guy in the wheel chair that needs a small level half duplex… done. The family whose
mom just died and can no longer afford the home that they just bought…. Can still have a home.
These people now have the home they need and can reasonably afford.


We are then not artificially inserting people into the housing spectrum above the family that
actually saved their money, paid their mortgage and would like to sell their apartment and move
to that middle income townhouse that the community just gave away.
We are also then not unfairly competing with developer/builders that are paying DCC’s and
other costs to turn around and donate those same fees to their competition.


With my idea, we have now put 20 people in homes, not just 3. And helped the other families
move ahead with their own housing dream as well as properly supporting private developers
and builders.


Furthermore.


The only way we can truly reduce the cost of housing is for supply to surpass demand.
The U.S. experiment of building ‘the projects’, public housing, has created ghettos.
Friends have also raised the question ‘why do we feel an obligation to give away homes?’
I would like to know what your thoughts are?

TERESA DURNING

Absolutely.

KELLY FEHR

Yes, I would. 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 is not able to attract new
businesses to Vernon when potential employees cannot find housing specifically, housing that is
affordable, within most entry-level positions.

JASMINE FINLAY

No answer.

SHERRILEE FRANKS

Yes. That said, I would review on a case by case basis to ask questions such as ‘Is the location suitable?’, ‘Is the housing actually affordable?’ etc.

KARI GARES

Housing Agreement: If elected, I would support the current policy of using municipal land, under
a housing agreement, to non-profit agencies, for the purpose of supporting an affordable
housing arrangement. With regards to the waiver of DCC charges, this is one way in which to
support a housing initiative, but the City can also partner with developers to sell back units at a
reduced cost to the non-profit Agency. This model has already worked well with other projects
with such organizations like the Vernon District Land Trust.

DON JEFCOAT

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.

LILY KERR

No answer.

RICK LAVIN

I see housing as one of the most pressing issues Vernon is facing, and as a root cause of many of the
social issues affecting the downtown area. This is one area that Council can make a difference and I
not only support the practice of providing municipal land (under a housing agreement) and waiving
development cost charges to non-profit affordable housing agencies, I would support reasonable
and defendable variances to restrictions to encourage development.

SHAWN LEE

Yes. I think is a sustainable practice.

GORD LEIGHTON

Yes. Affordable housing is paramount for the continued development of the North Okanagan as a vibrant, healthy community.

KEVIN LEPP

Yes.

JAMIE MORROW

I do support the current practice. Saying this, there is a cost to this and I would also like to see us work to be more business friendly to businesses that want to either move or build here. We need generate more revenue to support and enhance our services. 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. More businesses mean more revenue to support more initiatives to move our Cit forward.

AKBAL MUND

Yes I will continue to support these projects.

DALVIR NAHAL

BC Housing will be providing 7 billion in the next 10 years. The only way that we will be able to utilize this funding is if municipalities can work with developers and bring them to the table through tax incentives. We also need to reduce red tape, work on our approval process and revisit our DCC's.

BRIAN QUIRING

Yes I would continue to support the current practice.

DAWN TUCKER

Yes. 100%.

TERRY VULCANO

Yes, I support providing municipal land and waiving development costs to non-profit affordable
housing agencies, seeking to construct new housing.

SAM ZAHARIA

I think that DCCs should only be waived for housing which is affordable on minimum wage or disability.
The current practice of waiving DCCs for new builds (with a few units of Affirmative
Action attainable housing crammed in) promises the benefits of filtering, but only drives
up prices, breeds resentment and causes further displacement and the low end of the
market. Conversely, making more available units at the low/middle end of the market
stabilizes prices. Its good for buyers but risky for developers, helping to cool that
segment of the market which attracts absentee owners of non-rental housing.

 

2 - 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?


 

I support medium density, compact housing as a means of creating more rental and
attainable/affordable housing units. Some great examples include duplexes on single family lots
or four-plexes/row houses on larger lots, in particular in the inner core and residential
neighbourhoods close to downtown such as Lower East Hill, Alexis Park, Lower Mission, and the
Hospital area.

Maybe build something like a hospital, and people share the building.

Yes, creating high density projects for housing allows the stock levels to rise allowing housing that is affordable and attainable. As we grow as a community and population growth continues we always need to be continuing to grow housing stock and availability for all.

No answer.

Candidates for Councillor

SCOTT ANDERSON

No answer

DAVE DESHANE

I think that it is a good plan. Previous councils have put substantial thought into this and while
flexibility is always required high density compact housing in the city core is a good initiative.

TERESA DURNING

Yes - With limited city space this is a responsible way to meet the housing needs within the City
of Vernon- The OCP has laid out a comprehensive plan for compact high density housing. I will
be doing everything possible to follow the plan as set with feedback from the citizens.

KELLY FEHR

I do support high density, compact housing as a way to address affordable and attainable housing.

JASMINE FINLAY

No answer.

SHERRILEE FRANKS

Yes, high-density, compact housing is one important way to address affordable/attainable housing.

KARI GARES

The issue that we are experiencing with affordability is the fact that Vernon has limited housing stock as well as limited land for expansion. Vernon has a considerable percentage of housing stock that is in the single family detached unit. Under Vernon’s Attainable Housing Strategy, it has been determined that Vernon must invest in high density, multi unit development units to fill the gaps of what is deemed a lack of housing stock. It is imperative that Vernon continue its initiative of working closely with non-profit organizations such as the Vernon District Land Trust, CMHA and Interior Health.


Not only should Vernon continue to partner with such organizations, they also need to focus on other initiatives such as infill developments, mixed use developments that supply smaller units such as apartments/condos and townhome developments.

DON JEFCOAT

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.

LILY KERR

No answer.

RICK LAVIN

Yes, I do support high-density, compact housing to address affordable/attainable housing. I see this as a solution on many levels:
a. The building and development cost are lower which in turn lowers the cost passed on to the consumer,
b. The cost of providing services are low in high-density areas which allows the city to provide them in a much more cost-effective manner,
c. High-density, compact housing is conducive to multi-use integrated neighbourhoods leading to pleasing city living,
d. High-density, compact housing lends itself well to walkability and compliments the Master Transportation Plan.
In short, it is good for the citizens, good for the city, and good for the environment.

SHAWN LEE

Yes it is a viable choice but would have to be examined on a case by
case basis.

GORD LEIGHTON

Yes. I agree that high-density, compact housing is an important option for affordable/attainable housing, including options for tiny houses and laneway access secondary homes; reducing red tape for secondary suites; deferrals of property taxes for new affordable housing.



​There are complementary strategies and policies which should be considered as well, including

reduced parking requirements for apartment and condo developments, which will allow developers

to optimize land utilization.

KEVIN LEPP

Yes

JAMIE MORROW

I do support this and a priority of mine will be to actively promote mixed-use developments to re-energize and revitalize downtown.


One of our OCP’s Guiding Principles is:

“Revitalize the Downtown. Reinforce Vernon's City Centre as the key redevelopment area in the city. Strategic

infrastructure investments, policies and programs promote development that results in more

jobs, businesses, attractions and residents locating in the area.”


I would advocate that we need to act now towards mixed-use developments downtown. We

need to build up, go vertical. I believe that we should build to the model where there is for

example; commercial space on two or 3 floors (High-Tech for example) and then residences for

rent and for sale. I believe that an increase in residences downtown will in turn lead to a

rejuvenation of our downtown core. People want to be where other people are.

With more people living downtown, our downtown would see an increase in local customer

traffic. This increased traffic will be profitable for businesses and they would employ more

people. This will create an environment where more businesses will want to be located

downtown. This will bring more people to shop, eat and have coffee downtown. Now we will see

more life downtown. Restaurants, Bistro’s and Coffee Houses would be open later which in turn

brings more people downtown. This will also lead to a more safe and secure downtown. See

where I am going with this…...This will also show we are open for business throughout all of

Vernon.



Benefits of mixed-use developments include:


• greater housing variety and density, more affordable housing (smaller units), life-cycle

housing (starter homes to larger homes to senior housing)

• reduced distances between housing, workplaces, retail businesses, and other amenities and

destinations

• better access to fresh, healthy foods (as food retail and farmers markets can be accessed on

foot/bike or by transit)

• more compact development, land-use synergy (e.g. residents provide customers for retail

which provide amenities for residents)

• stronger neighborhood character, sense of place

• walkable, bike-able neighborhoods, increased accessibility via transit, both resulting in

reduced transportation costs

The downtown City core and mixed-use developments is a priority of mine.

AKBAL MUND

One of my strategies since 2014 has been to bring high density to the
downtown core as well as infill within certain residential areas close to
downtown.

DALVIR NAHAL

100% As our population demographics change, the younger generation is more active and spending time outside of their home, there is less desire for big houses. 

BRIAN QUIRING

Yes I support high-density compact housing. I am currently designing my fourth micro
suite condo project in Kelowna and continue to see the success of this concept.

DAWN TUCKER

Yes, in our downtown core area especially not only will it enliven and make our
core safer but it will be near existing services. It’s also a good idea to integrate
affordable housing in with developments such as what is happening up at the
reservoir land across from Mutrie Dog Park.

TERRY VULCANO

Yes, I support high density compact housing, plus suggest building residences that do not need parking and incorporating solar heating (electric heat can be 50% of electrical usage)

SAM ZAHARIA

I would support waiving DCCs for multi-suite retro-fits first, before encouraging new construction. New construction has it's place but it will never meet the need for market rental housing. We need to inventory the housing stock which is suite-able for rental units before allowing any more to be torn down and replaced with units that will be owner occupied. I’d also like to know how many of the homes being held by the Vernon and District Community Land Trust are suite-able. Single family dwellings held by the Trust could provide micro rental units at the low end of the market throughout Development District #2. This could provide our youth with independent, affordable spaces and a chance to transition out of their family homes and starter jobs without having to disconnect from their neighborhood roots.

 

3 - 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?

 

Immigration policy is in the federal jurisdiction and it is not in the mandate for local
governments, as per the Community Charter. Therefore, I leave this question for federal forums.
On a city level, as Mayor, I would continue to support immigration services and the important
organizations that ease the transition of immigrants to our City.

People are welcome as long as they live our lifestyle.

Immigration into any community tells us that people are wanting to call our City home for a few reasons. We need to be accepting of welcoming new residents to Vernon but also be proactive in understanding we need to continue to grow economically to provide resources, services andhousing needs that will allow this integration.

No answer

Candidates for Councillor

SCOTT ANDERSON

No answer

DAVE DESHANE

This is primarily a federal immigration question. I don’t think anyone is concerned about someone immigrating to Vernon from Williams Lake.

TERESA DURNING

I personally have employed new immigrants. I think it is imperative to create a diverse and vibrant community including programing such as those provided by immigrant services. It is not the city’s mandate to provide programing but supporting services and initiatives that encourages diversity and economic growth including talent brought in by programs like the Provincial Nominee Program.

KELLY FEHR

With respect to immigration from outside of Canada I would support the important work Vernon Immigrant Services does in our community. People immigrating to Canada benefit from the supports of non-government organizations i.e. faith community.


In 2015 I volunteered as part of the Welcoming Communities project in collaboration with Vernon Immigrant Services, Social Planning Council and members of our Chinese community. This project included:

- Acknowledging the struggles.

- Acknowledging the financial, labour and social contributions made to Vernon by the Chinese community.

- Bringing awareness of the strong Chinese heritage in Vernon.


By continuing our collaborative support structure of the faith community, Vernon Immigrant Services, other non-government organizations and municipal policy, we can provide wrap around supports for

successful and productive integration. This can be done while acknowledging and appreciating cultural differences.

JASMINE FINLAY

No answer.

SHERRILEE FRANKS

Yes. I am a supporter of others, from any distance, moving to Vernon. I am also a strong supporter of multiculturalism. That said, Vernon has its own culture which we create. When someone relocates to Vernon, I operate on the basis that they have chosen Vernon because they like the culture

KARI GARES

Although Canada has seen a relative uptick in births since 2002, our aging population base
(those over 65) represents 24.6% (from StatsCan) of Vernon’s overall population. This is a
relatively higher percentage when compared with our younger age group (15 years and
younger) who makes up only 14.8% of our population. This is where immigration assists with
our population growth and allows our community to become economically sustainable over
time, but it is important that the Canadian Government implement a strategy that ensures we
are attracting skilled workers who are essential to local economic developments. Based on the
stats, 47% of Vernon’s population do not have education or training beyond high school which is
why it’s imperative we attract skilled workers through the process of immigration. As suggested
by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Government must build on these
gains by “developing a more comprehensive, cross-departmental, intergovernmental strategy
that measures and supports immigrant’s access to the basic infrastructure and services they
need to succeed”. And it is here that Vernon has been shouldering much of the cost as there is
little to no reliance or money transfer from the other levels of Government to meet the needs of
a growing immigration policy. Local municipalities must shoulder the burden of the municipal
infrastructure deficit and rely on an out-of-date and regressive property tax system, local
governments must dig deeper to meet the growing demand of services essential to the effective
integration of immigrants. These include affordable housing, public transit, child care and library
services. This requires a comprehensive immigrant settlement program and funding specific to
integrate this group. Vernon can also partner with other non-profit organizations, church
groups and families that can support a solid immigration policy. For the City to attract highly
skilled immigrant workers, it is imperative that the city review its affordable housing policies so
that we can meet the demands of a growing population. Vernon must also ensure that the
integration services required for adjustment such as schooling, English as a 2 nd language,
healthcare and services is in place to promote healthy integration. This leads us to the next
question.

DON JEFCOAT

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.

LILY KERR

No answer.

RICK LAVIN

Social, economic, and cultural success must embrace diversity of all kinds. Vernon, like the rest of Canada, benefits from immigration. Strategies to assist integration such as preplanned housing, language training, and employment opportunities help to enrich the experience and tend to have better success. Vernon is always trying to attract talent and investment and immigration is often a

forgotten avenue.


Council itself has limited opportunities to contribute directly to immigration integration strategies. It can, however, foster policies of diversity, provide discretionary grants to assist non-profit agencies working with immigration, and create an environment that attracts new investment in the city which all make the city welcoming and attractive.

SHAWN LEE

Immigration from other countries makes us richer as a culture. Such immigration is outside the purview of city hall however through its support of the social planning council we can ensure that these new citizens are not forgotten by the agencies that have the responsibility for their integration.

GORD LEIGHTON

Inter-provincial migration and intra-provincial migration is nothing new. The region has absorbed the inflow-outflow of Canadian migrants for years. The churn has been as high as 40-50% over some five year periods and aside from disparities in housing affordability, this has not been an issue.


Facilitating the integration of immigrants from other countries is the foundation of the support Canadians offer newcomers. In Canada, no one attempts to alter the core identity of an individual or group, and our nation is comfortable with that. Citizenship rates are high, and immigrants find satisfaction with life in Canada.


Almost half of newcomers to Canada have a college degree and the second generation is more likely to attend a university than those whose parents are native-born.

KEVIN LEPP

Yes I support immigration as long the legal channels are being followed.

JAMIE MORROW

I do support immigration. In my work at the college I have the opportunity to work with many different ethnicities and they have much to offer our communities.

How to facilitate new immigrants into a community requires support services to be in place.


Services that:

- help to find and secure employment is necessary

- allow new immigrants to feel welcome and integrated in our community

- provide housing

- provide education opportunities for youth and adult services and resources

- access to transportation to work and services


These services can be provided through local networks of acquaintances, friends, community groups and where possible through ethnic or multi-ethnic networks.


We need to all work together in collaboration with all stakeholders in our community.

AKBAL MUND

I support immigration, we need both skilled labor and service/retail
labor.  Providing free busing as this Council did is only one way we can
facilitate new immigrants integration to our community.

DALVIR NAHAL

As a daughter of immigrant parents, I whole heartily support immigration. We need people to come into the community to fill jobs and be part of the community. On a municipal level, we can work with the social service agencies and ensure they are getting the support they need.

BRIAN QUIRING

I am a first generation Canadian and my family is extremely fortunate to have been able to come to Canada. I will support immigrants by offering subsidies and free services for a period of time.

DAWN TUCKER

Yes. Integration happens when there are accessible services for all residents
new or old. There are important services that the Vernon & District Immigration
Services Society provides to our community and as such it’s important to
continue to have that on the city website and support initiatives they are doing.

TERRY VULCANO

Yes, I support increased immigration and would encourage more programs and individual offering assistance along with community liaisons to introduce them to the community, such as going to classrooms and talking to students and going to workplaces, explaining the circumstance and how their support can help.

SAM ZAHARIA

We facilitate integration by addressing gentrification for what it is: a drive
to level the playing field by bringing everyone up to the same middle-class standard. Where and when gentrification fails to elevate the lower class, it then succeeds by driving out whoever is left. The implication is that it's not okay to be poor, frugal or simply satisfied with less. Not in Vernon. People feel uncomfortable with their privelege and attempt to assuage their guilt through philanthropy. Giving the neighbors a leg up feels good, and so gentrification seeks to upgrade those neighborhoods which, historically, have always welcomed immigrants, leaving them with fewer and fewer places to land. We need a place for everyone, and everyone in their place. And it's really is okay for me to feel that This Is My Place! It's okay for you to let me live here. Some of us like it where the wild things are. Don't mind us. We'll be alright.

 

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

 

VICTOR I CUMMING

Yes, I would continue the policy of providing free bus passes for new refugees in our community.

ART W GOURLEY

Nothing is free, if they come here they should have some money. We have people here
who could use some free passes.

ERIK S OLESON

I believe policies that were put in place by council in the past were to provide certain resources to make new members of our community have access to needs, resources and services. If as council the discussion of this specific policy came up and wanted to be looked at for further discussion among the new council as Mayor I would support these motions. We need to be able to have constructive conversations as well as be leaders on issues that matter in our community effectively. If this policy does not come up in a motion I will continue to support such policy in place.

DARRIN J TAYLOR

No answer

Candidates for Councillor

SCOTT ANDERSON

No answer

DAVE DESHANE

Yes.

TERESA DURNING

Yes.

KELLY FEHR

I would continue to support this policy.

JASMINE FINLAY

No answer.

SHERRILEE FRANKS

Yes.

KARI GARES

Do I support the policy of offering free bus passes for refugees in their first year? Absolutely. The cost to Vernon is minimal and it does provide mobility options to many who have yet to secure a means of personal transportation. By ensuring that these newcomers have a means to get to work, or to school, we are, in essence, helping them adjust to their new surroundings faster, I understand that some feel that we are supporting one group over that of another but
the bottom line is the faster we can integrate the, the better it is financially on a community that should be supporting them.

DON JEFCOAT

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.

LILY KERR

No answer.

RICK LAVIN

Arriving in a new city far from home is daunting for anyone. Refugees fleeing oppression, danger, starvation, and other atrocities face unimaginable difficulties. Providing a free bus pass for the first year goes a long way to break down isolation, allows access to services and education, and assists with integration into our community. The small cost to the city provides tremendous returns in settling refugees and helping them contribute to the community.

SHAWN LEE

Yes. It is a good practice.

GORD LEIGHTON

Yes. We should provide passes as well for the Rec Centre.

KEVIN LEPP

I think there should could a subsidy for anyone needing public transportation.

JAMIE MORROW

I am not unsympathetic but we have people who live here that can’t afford transportation to work, shop or even get to a doctor or clinic. We should more inclusive and not selective.

AKBAL MUND

Yes.

DALVIR NAHAL

I’m in support of the bus passes for new immigrants. I have personally witnessed how hard it is for immigrants to obtain a drivers license and Vernon is not an easy area to get around without transportation. They need to be mobile to get to know their community and surroundings and be able to do basic things like grocery shopping without it being too difficult.

BRIAN QUIRING

Yes and I would also like to see free access to recreation services.

DAWN TUCKER

Yes. I believe that transit is part of making everything our city has to offer
accessible. Refugees have only one year to get their feet under them and in
order to give them the best chance at being able to be self sufficient as a
community we need to support this first foundational year.

TERRY VULCANO

Yes, I endorse free bus passes for refugees, in their first year, plus having ambassadors to show
them how to ride the bus, protocols for boarding & exiting, read schedules, and go on their first
rides with them.

SAM ZAHARIA

I can't imagine why not. The buses will run, full or not. This sounds like giving refugees a chance to lead by example.