Kamloops Coun. Mike O’Reilly has announced he will be running for re-election in the fall.
In front of supporters and reporters at The Hive downtown, O’Reilly said Wednesday morning he is proud of what's been accomplished in the past four years — including a record 6,300 new business licenses issued, upgrades to the Tournament Capital Centre and approved revitalization tax exemption bylaws.
"Since Oct. 19, 2018, I have been working hard to earn the support and the trust of the residents of Kamloops. I have a proven track record. The things that I've said that I was going to do, I've done,” O’Reilly said.
“I fully expect to continue working hard for the next four years and to continue earning the trust and the respect of the citizens of Kamloops.”
O’Reilly said he wants to see the city focus on core responsibilities — adding and maintaining recreation facilities, improving roads and transportation, ensuring community safety, and working on faster housing development approvals, including for lower density townhomes and single family lots.
“Fixing the intersection of Halston and Eighth and Westsyde Road, that has been a problem for the better part of a decade now,” O’Reilly said.
“The Columbia Street bottleneck that happens during rush hour traffic, line painting, potholes, all of these things, they're not fun, they're not sexy, they're not great to talk about — but they are what is needed and what the city should be doing,” O’Reilly said.
He said he also wants to see the city focus on land use planning and improving its decision-making processes to attract businesses and investors.
“We need to make that as seamless as possible and not delay after delay after delay. I don't believe that’s by just adding more staff, that's by changing internal policy to make that more efficient.”
O'Reilly said municipal tax dollars shouldn’t spent on matters that are under provincial or federal jurisdiction, and if city funds are focused solely on areas under its responsibility, taxes can be kept low and spent more efficiently.
He said tax dollars should’t be allocated “based on the most viral Facebook post.”
“I do not expect our municipal tax dollars to be spent on building homeless shelters, fixing the mental health crisis that we have that, quite frankly, has been turned from a mental health crisis into a criminal crisis, by lack of investment in our health care system,” O’Reilly said.
“And lastly, our municipal tax dollars going to stopping climate change — those are provincial and federal jurisdiction, and the way the tax structure is set up in British Columbia, your municipal property taxes should not be paid to do those things.”
In terms of community safety, O’Reilly said the community cannot normalize businesses picking up feces or needles from their doorways or tents set up in parks.
He said the city has increased the RCMP's officer count, and wants to see more Community Safety Officers added and a changed scope of their tasks.
O’Reilly said in four years, he wants to see Kamloops a safe place people can afford to call home.
“I want Kamloops to be a safe town. I want Kamloops to be a clean town. And overall I want the recreational opportunities in Kamloops to continue to grow and keep up with how we have set up our city over the last 30 years,” he said.
O'Reilly is one of nine who have publicly announced an intention to run for council, including two other incumbents — Dale Bass and Bill Sarai.
The general local election is on Oct. 15.