©2018 by Vernon Candidate Questions.

SAM R ZAHARIA

 

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 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.

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 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.

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?

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.

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

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

 

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?

As I understand it, there are more than enough vacant lots throughout Vernon to allow
infill development for the next 30 years. I see no reason why greenfield spaces should
need to be taken up anytime soon.

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!

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).

Yes!

 

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. The cultivation of arts and culture in
our community is directly related to our ability to attract and supply employees to
innovative new start ups.

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?

No reply

 

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?

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.

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

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 innovativors. A city
that generates artists and visionaries can provide the workforce of makers that tech
leaders and entrepreneurs are looking for.

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

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

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)?

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.

 

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 imagine seniors housing in conjunction with revitalized malls flanked by walkable neighborhoods. Seniors could easily access indoor/outdoor exercise, healthcare, shopping, services and transit reducing their reliance
on driving while maintaining community engagement. We could also follow the leadership of Indianapolis, where #PorchPartyIndy “targeted older neighborhoods that had large
porches, small front yards, and sidewalks designed to foster a community that
interacts and intersects. It was a simple campaign. We encouraged people to be
visible, sit on their porches, have their eyes on the street, to porch.” from
Shelterforce, https://bit.ly/2OaLd7E

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?

Maybe I"m going to have to get back on my bike, brave the mean streets of Vernon and get to know this "animal". Honestly, I could and I don't because I'm scared to ride here, just like so many others. No one seems to know where bikes (or all the other wheelies) belong, neither riders nor drivers, so public education will be key, for sure. I wonder if we can use something like secondary FitBit data to assess the functionality of the current system, and maybe discover those shortcuts that users carve out organically.

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 will gladly live with dandelions to protect our citizens, particularly those at ground level. I'd be happy to ban non-essential pesticides. We have alternatives, and the practice of acceptance harms no one.