A Liveable, Reliable, Affordable and Sustainable Salmon Arm
Here are the four pillars of initiatives I plan to advance and support.
A Liveable Salmon Arm: We all benefit from a strong, inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy community.
- I will work hard supporting a diversified modern economy, a city with active, engaged & collaborative citizens and a city responsible for its environmental footprint.
- I will continue to advocate with higher levels of government who are responsible for funding essential services for our most vulnerable citizens. Our community is best placed to address our local priorities but we require increased funding from them to do so. We have actively pressed for more supportive housing, mental health services and outreach worker positions and I will continue to do so.
- I fully support council initiatives to reduce poverty at the local level through the successful grants the city has applied for and received for Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Programs.
- I want to see more public drinking fountains and another set of washrooms downtown.
- Community safety is important. I have supported the addition of increased by-law services and the addition of RCMP officer positions.
- I will propose and support ongoing city initiatives to walk the difficult but important path to truth and reconciliation with Indigenous communities.
A Reliable Salmon Arm: Reliable city infrastructure supports our economy and our quality of life. We all depend on it even though we may not think about it on a daily basis. Asset management of infrastructure requires constant monitoring, managing, upgrading and renewal as well as the allocated funding to do so.
- Our natural environment assets need to be formally accounted for and protected under asset management.
- I will ensure that we have appropriate funding for current operations and sufficient reserves for future needs as well as emerging contingencies associated with climate change. Ongoing policies and planning for significant flooding, wildfire risks and fuel load management need to be fully implemented and supported. This also includes having Storm Water management as a formal part of our annual utilities budgeting and forecasting.
- It’s preparing for the future! Having sufficient reserve accounts means we aren’t faced with increased borrowing when key spending needs to happen. I’ll continue to support this approach that is the envy of many other local governments.
An Affordable Salmon Arm: I will continue to actively promote affordable housing solutions across the housing spectrum.
Within Salmon Arm’s control:
- The availability of land for housing is relatively small even though the city has a large land base. I support renewing our now-dated Official Community Plan (OCP) asap to increase housing options given these developable land constraints.
- I will continue to support increasing density consistent with our current zoning and OCP parameters, legalizing secondary suites for relatives or as mortgage-helpers and encouraging multi-family housing including more non-market social housing opportunities.
- Under a new OCP, I will support city-wide neighbourhood zoning for duplexes, triplexes and townhouses. It’s important to have a range of housing options within all of our neighbourhoods.
- I will propose that the city incentivize affordable purpose-built rental units as well as Co-ops and other forms of equity-sharing housing through permissive tax exemptions for these bona fide approaches to affordable housing.
Outside of the city’s control:
- #HousingFirst There are a range of solutions to increase supportive, non-market social housing, affordable rental housing and self-owned entry-level market housing but those solutions mainly lie with higher levels of government. The building of affordable rental units and first-time ownership housing needs to be incentivized by the federal & provincial govts – as a top priority.
- I will continue to be relentless in advocating for the federal & provincial governments to put these solutions in place and for Salmon Arm to get it’s fair share of funding.
A Sustainable Salmon Arm: The city needs a modern comprehensive overall climate plan to address climate change to accompany the key initiatives already underway. Newly announced provincial funding will permit us to develop a Master Climate Action Plan within the upcoming year and we need to do so asap.
It’s equally important in our conversations to recognize that substantial initiatives now onstream have led to the lowest city GHG emissions these past two years – since calculating emissions began in 2010. We need to be doing more but the work has already begun.
- There has been some debate over how a new comprehensive climate action plan should best be developed. I support contracting recognized-expert consultants to help develop a modern Climate Action Plan and then determining our approaches for the best-practice initiatives identified in that process. This approach has been highly successful in developing our Housing Plan and the soon-to-be-delivered Active Transportation Plan.
- I will propose that Salmon Arm investigate, with full public input, the idea of a small tax levy to further enhance needed climate change initiatives as part of a new Climate Action Plan referenced above.
- I support increased funding of climate-related initiatives already under way.
- The upcoming Active Transportation Plan (to be delivered in mid-October) will be a key component for climate action, healthy, safe active transportation connectivity throughout the city over the next twenty years – for All Ages & Abilities! I will strongly advocate for the identified Active Transportation recommendations and associated annual funding – both to build increased safe infrastructure and maintain these connections year-round. All neighbourhoods should be accessible, walkable and connected.
- The upcoming OCP review needs to incorporate a sustainability lens as the primary basis for planning our future.
- I will advocate for No-Net-Loss tree regulations to protect our urban forests, Wildland Urban Interface development criteria (for wildfire protection) and GHG reduction initiatives in the upcoming review.
- I will continue to advocate for a Salmon Arm Food Security and Urban Agriculture master plan to be developed as an immediate priority. One part of this would involve achieving a Bee City designation that supports healthy pollinator habitats and the importance of biodiversity within our city.