©2018 by Vernon Candidate Questions.

KELLY R FEHR

 

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 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.

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

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?

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.

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

I would continue to support this policy.

 

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?

If elected, I would support the City's Growth Strategy and Land Use Plan, as contained in the Official
Community Plan 2013 Bylaw 5470. However, with respect to proposed housing developments I would
evaluate each proposal on its merits and overall community benefits.

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)?

If elected, I would support the City's adopted Master Transportation Plan. It is essential to meet our
targets of reducing emissions. These types of initiatives are being adopted worldwide as an
overarching plan to protect our communities. British Columbia and neighboring municipalities are
striving to reach their targets of reducing emissions and we must do our part in a way that can work
for our community.

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 fully support developing bylaws that require builders to meet the requirements of the BC Energy
Step Code. To truly address environmental concerns Vernon must address energy conservation as it
has a direct impact on emissions.

 

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 Identify the value of the importance for communities to embrace arts, culture and heritage.
Multicultural, and all that it encompasses, is a Canadian value. Diversity makes an educated and
insightful community. These attributes enrich the cultural fabric of community by introducing new
foods, music, traditions, beliefs and interests. I believe in the importance of arts, culture and
heritage. I would commit to learning more about the City of Vernon’s investment into the arts. [...] 

I believe that the arts and culture provide the community and its individuals with autonomy,
individual expression, a sense of belonging to community, and health and wellbeing in society. These
benefits have a more measurable impact on our economy. Strong individuals, strong families lead to
strong communities.

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

I do not have a strong personal opinion regarding the development of a new Greater Vernon Cultural
Centre. The project will cost the average Vernon household $48 per year for 20 years. Vernon
households are currently paying an average of $36 per year towards the original Kal Tire Place and
Performing Arts Center which will be ending soon, so the actual increase will ultimately be closer to
$12 per year for an average household.

Where I struggle, is not whether it is a great project or not, nor is it with a $12 annual household tax
increase. My struggle with voting yes is that if we as a city are going to borrow $25,000,000 is this
project the priority? I don’t believe it is. I would personally be more than happy to have my household
taxes increase by the same amount to partner with the province to build affordable housing for low
and middle-income families. However, the question asked is not should Vernon borrow $25,000,000
and if so where do you think it should go?


Ultimately, as a voter, I do not personally view it as a priority. I do, however, understand that it will
not hinder a future aquatic center which is important, and I do believe it is a good project for Vernon,
overall. It will add to our social infrastructure beyond athletics and will draw future investments to

revitalize the 30 street and 34 avenue area of downtown. Therefore, I will be voting yes in support of
a new Greater Vernon Cultural Centre.

 

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?

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.

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

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.

I will further familiarize myself with existing master plans which are focused on economic growth,
land use and employment.

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

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.

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

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

 

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?

It is not difficult to find a variety of reports on the various challenges and opportunities Canada’s
population shift allows for.
- Home and facility construction best practices exist for seniors and individuals with physical
complications. The city could investigate incentives to developers to have these standards
incorporated into new builds. This would better allow people to age in place, while reducing
support costs to the senior population and the tax payer.
- As we continue to grow in population and in services I believe it is important to maximize the
use of space in new developments I.e. proposed arts and cultural centre and future aquatic
centre. Increasing accessibility to safe walking and meeting spaces for low-income seniors will
assist in reducing isolation.
-I would welcome senior's advocacy groups, senior"s population and Interior Health to educate
on what they believe are priorities in these areas, so we may better support them.

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 NEIGHBOURHOODS, THE DOWNTOWN CORE, AND TO THE RECREATION CENTRE.


· 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?

I believe barriers exist to cycling infrastructure accessibility for low income families as it relates to
transportation to trails. As a member of Kalamalka Rotary I had the joy of listening to the North
Okanagan Cycling Society’s presentation to our club. Our membership voted in favor of contributing
monetarily to the Becker Park project. I believe it was specifically valuable as it provided trails for
people whom have a variety of abilities.

If elected I would welcome input from the North Okanagan Cycling Society and likeminded parties to
be better informed as to the short- and long-term goals as well as cost estimates related to trail and
active transportation corridor expansion. I would certainly not be opposed to supporting these
initiatives.

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 am against pesticide use for non-essential purposes in areas where children and pets are at risk. I do
not use chemicals in my own yard and do not believe they should be used by the city except when
essential.