ERIK S OLESON
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?
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.
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, 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.
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 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 and
housing needs that will allow this integration.
IF YOU ARE ELECTED, WILL YOU CONTINUE THE POLICY OF PROVIDING FREE BUS PASSES FOR REFUGEES IN THEIR FIRST YEAR?
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
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 would fully support the City Growth Strategy and Land Use Plan as contained in the Official
Community Plan 2013, bylaw 5470. We need to always be environmentally aware of impacts in
our community that come from the decisions as Council we make for the future sustainability of
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)?
Yes, I would support the Master Transportation Plan with its emphasis on more trips by walking,
cycling, transit and carpooling rather than single occupant vehicles. I believe any way the City
can be striving for Climate Action Initiatives that could reduce our carbon footprint as well as
promoting new ways of green transportation is key for our community’s growth into the future.
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)?
I would certainly be open to reviewing the BC Energy Step Code and working with Council,
Administration and City Staff to look at possible bylaws that encourage energy efficient
development. When we look at environmental sustainability, future green initiatives and ways
we can have an impact in our community to promote better more efficient use of resources, it’s
something that for me is important for the future of our City.
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?
Yes, I believe that the Art's & Culture center will create a huge economic benefit, build
connections in our community and create a desirable place for people to call home. I think we
need to work with surrounding communities, tourism Vernon and as Council to take every
opportunity to promote, support and embrace this new center in our community if that’s what
residents vote for come October 20 th .
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?
I will be voting “Yes” on Oct 20 th for the Art & Culture Center and allowing the City to borrow up
to $25 million. The key is the long-term economic benefit we will see from the center, the ability
to promote the City on a new level and a sense of inclusion of all. After touring the Art Gallery in
Vernon it’s clear why the need for the new center is a top priority so they can provide a service
to the community that they are more than capable of. This has been a priority for many years in
our City since the late 80’s with a new facility that was suppose to come in the early 90’s so I
believe in the importance in Arts and Culture in our community.
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?
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.
PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE OF THE WAYS YOU WOULD SUPPORT BUSINESS RETENTION AND EXPANSION IN THE CITY?
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.
OVER 40% OF BUSINESSES IN EVERY SECTOR ARE EXPERIENCING LABOUR AND SKILL SHORTAGES. HOW SHOULD THE CITY SUPPORT OUR DEMANDING WORKFORCE NEEDS?
We need to be looking at ways we create opportunities for people to call Vernon home and
support our local economy needs. We need to continue to retain skilled professionals coming
out of post secondary institutions as well as a workforce for all skill levels. That will only happen
if we have the leadership of a Mayor and Council to create an attractive City through
affordable/attainable housing, services provided by the city, recreational activities for all ages,
opportunities to build/raise families and working with post secondary institutions/community
organizations to match the work force with businesses needs.
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)
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
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?
I would support infrastructure and programming for seniors and people with chronic disease by
making sure we are making inclusion, easy of access and accessibility a top priority. When we
are making decisions regarding programming we need to have in mind the demographic outlook
of our community while developing staff that can allow for more diverse programs that are
geared to seniors and or people living with chronic disease’s. Any program we develop must and
should include the resources needed to make the program a success, be geared to the
community needs, be available for all to participate and have a reliable transportation options.
The accessibility portion should be second nature in our decisions as council considering our
communities diversity. As our population continues to age at a much higher pace than the
Canadian average we need to make sure we as council encourage development that is inclusive
of all people children, youth, families, seniors and people with disabilities to ensure they are
treated with respect while understanding that they are given the same opportunities as others
in our community. It has been my commitment to work with Council and Administration to bring
back an Accessibility Committee that reports quarterly to Council on how we can be inclusive as
a community while getting recommendations on how to address accessibility concerns.
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?
The Master Transportation Plan that has an emphasis on the use of cycling, walking, transit and
carpooling starts looking at ways to deal with safety and connecting corridors. I would be in
support of this as we can than develop policies that deals with healthier activities in our city for
all ages where they can feel safe while using non-motorized modes of transportation. We need
to work to make sure that services we provide as a city can be reached under all types of
transportation safely. This will allow the City to promote an integrated and connected active
transportation network that will allow our residents to feel good about while creating
environmental benefits, attraction for new residents and providing safety to the residents.
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?
I believe that there should be policies that ban the use of pesticides for non-essential purposes
where children and pets can be at risk. As we see communities across our province banning the
use of pesticides for non-essential purposes it is important that we look at the affects of it here