©2018 by Vernon Candidate Questions.

RICK A LAVIN

 

QUESTIONS - SOCIAL

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

I 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.

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

Yes, I 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.

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?

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.

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

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.

 

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 support the City’s Growth Strategy and Land Use Plan. It is important to contain growth to urban
area and not to expand into greenfield areas. The more condensed the footprint the better for the
environment and it also makes economic sense. I believe the Growth Strategy and Land Use Plan
show progress in reducing the impact on the environment, but I believe more can be done and will
work hard to ensure that city policies and strategies take our environment into account.

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 will support the Master Transportation Plan. As Vernon grows in population, the number of
vehicles on our streets grows just as fast. The impact on the environment from vehicle traffic
outpaces our efforts to mitigate effects. It will require concerted efforts of everyone to reduce our
dependence on private vehicles and move our culture toward a preference for alternate modes of
transportation.

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 see the BC Energy Step Code as a starting point from which Vernon can build upon. By creating
bylaws that make the Energy Step Code a minimum standard, and providing incentives for exceeding
the code, Vernon has an opportunity to be a leader in environmental practices.

 

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?

The return on investment in culture and the arts has been proven to be very high. Culture and arts
are a strong determinant in attracting young families and businesses to our community. The impact
on the livability of the city, the deterrent on crime, the social opportunities for youth, and the
ancillary economic benefits cannot be ignored. I will advocate that culture and the arts be
considered in all development projects and in all city buildings. I will support applications for events
and festivals and will encourage the city to partner where ever possible.

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 in the referendum.

 

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?

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.

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

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

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

Employers are facing increased pressures finding qualified and skilled workers. The pressures are
exasperated 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.

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)

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.

 

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?

If elected, I will continue support for the Master Recreation Plan. I will actively listen and respond to
the desires of seniors and those with chronic diseases. I will work with city staff to ensure that
programs and plans consider those with challenges and I will act to ensure their needs are met to
the best of the city’s ability.

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 city has been working hard at developing a Pedestrian and Bike Master Plan. I will continue the
work being done to move the plan from public engagement to completion. I will support funding
requests that will systematically improve the network of paths and trails. Safety is critically
important, and I would advocate for all improvements to incorporate principles of Crime Prevention
by Environmental Design. I would also support the use of Bylaw and Police patrols as part of the
Pedestrian and Bike Master Plan.

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?

The Okanagan Valley is famous for its fruit and agriculture. The control of pests is paramount to this
mainstay of our economy. This does require the use of pesticides to protect our industry. I support
the use of pesticides by professionals when used for agricultural purposes.
The use of pesticides for cosmetic purpose is unnecessary at best and just dangerous is some cases.
I will advocate for the appropriate and measured use of pesticides based on the circumstances.
Unless there is evidence that everyone will benefit from the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes
I will oppose it.