Unhappy with city council

At one time, mayors in our municipalities were awarded about $1 for each person living in their municipalites, and “aldermen and women,”—today’s municipal councillors—received about fifty cents.

That was not a salary. It was, and still is, intended as an element of compensation for time spent away from whatever they may, could or should otherwise be doing, to serve as our community leaders.

Our municipal councillors are not salaried employees. They are “trustees,” elected to provide direction for the administration in the municipalities where they are elected.

As such, they are responsible for adopting, maintaining and implementing the municipalities’ bylaws, and establishing committees to oversee the different activities the municipalities are engaged in, including the development and maintenance of all kinds of infrastructure.

Where it is falling apart in Kelowna is very simple. Our city councillors have arbitrarily decided to ignore the benefits of the talent and experiences our city managers represent, and instead, arbitrarily micro-manage some of those activities. The planning department is a classic example.

Our city councillors are not professional planners, and have no concept of all the disciplines and issues that need to be considered when developing and producing an Official Community Plan (OCP), a mandatory and essential long-term plan for orderly development and growth of any municipality.

Instead, they have been overwhelmed by greedy developers, who have been allowed to transform our city into a massive out-of-control development disaster, with “skyscrapers” popping up helter-skelter in our residential areas, insisting adding several storeys to buildings is a minor variance.

The UBC Okanagan tower disaster is a blatant demonstration of the lack of respect for other people’s rights and properties, and contempt for our sacred OCP.

A planner with any savvy would have located those towers at the foot of and between Knox and Dilworth mountains, with generous and beautiful parks and playgrounds wrapped around them, away from the noise and the traffic, in a more peaceful tranquil environment.

Instead, we build high-density housing on the noisiest streets and avenues in our city, with balconies spitting distances from sidewalks and homes evacuated because nobody knows when and how to stop this madness.

There is no social conscience, not a single thought for the welfare, comfort, safety and development of our children.

No, council members do not deserve (their recent) raise. They should be fired and replaced but somebody voted for them.

Andy Thomsen, Kelowna

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