City of Kamloops councillor candidate profile: Jamie Allen

Get to know Jamie Allen

Castanet Kamloops is going to help you get to know the candidates running for city councillor over the next few weeks. Every weekday morning starting on Sept. 12, we will be posting a Q&A for each hopeful running for Kamloops council in the Oct. 15 local general election. All council candidates will be asked the same questions, and their answers, submitted to Castanet by email, are published in full.

Castanet Kamloops: Why do you think you would be a good councillor for the City of Kamloops? What unique perspective, skills or vision do you bring to the table?

Jamie Allen: My choice to run as a councillor was 35 years in the making. I believe that my life experiences give me insight to represent the diverse range of citizens of Kamloops. One of my life experiences was related to being a manager at Rivershore Ram. I spent 37 years at Rivershore which allowed me to learn and understand teamwork, department metrics, customer service and the value of character. I grew up in a large family with low income. We did not have many extras, but we did have enough. My upbringing was very rich in life lessons such as hard work, honesty and teamwork. Some of the challenges that Kamloops face are complex. Because I’m an abstract thinker I can break down complex challenges into smaller pieces that can be solved. I’m also tenacious. I just keep working until the goal is achieved. I also believe that the perspective of others can strengthen any decision. Being open to a better solution is a strength. My vision for Kamloops is that citizens can thrive in a safe and well-planned city. I feel that I can fulfil my vision.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the community today?

Allen: People are one of the most pressing issues facing our community. Homelessness, mental health, drug addiction and affordability. There are very diverse opinions on how Kamloops should address the needs for support. Security is also an issue in our community. Once again, very diverse opinions on how Kamloops should address security. Citizens, businesses and city property are all experiencing negative impacts. Commercial land in Kamloops is lacking. We need to ensure Kamloops can grow. Commercial land creates well paying jobs for our growing city. Housing affordability is another pressing issue. These issues are interrelated to each other. Support for one issue may cause another issue to suffer. I’m up for the challenge to offer my perspective.

How can the city best tackle social issues — mental health, addictions, homelessness, crime — given the need to work with other levels of government responsible for those areas?

Allen: A large portion of the negative impacts from social issues are directly related to inaction, unfunded programs and policies that support catch and release. I have a strong belief that we need to work with all levels of governments to drive positive support. The social issues are complex and require working together with all levels of government. I also believe that if our calls for support are ignored then the city cannot use civic funds to provide the missing support. I feel that the city has put a lot of resources into trying to mask the lack of support. We must be transparent when the supports are needed but ignored. When it comes to crime, the prolific offenders have the keys to the city. We need to remove the keys to the city from them. The small number of repeat offenders disproportionately negatively affects our security, property crime and resources. Change is slow, but over time we will be able to see positive results for all citizens.

Kamloops and area has felt the impacts in recent years of a changing climate. What do you think the city should do to foster climate resilience and reduce emissions?

Allen: Because of the effects of climate change, we are seeing negative climate impacts. To be more climate resilient, we need to accept that climate events are not traditional. Weather events like hotter summers, rain events and out of control wildfire seasons must change the way we think. The lightning strike in Juniper Ridge last year upset me because the citizens of that neighbourhood were told that there was an emergency exit. When the exit was needed it could not be used because it was not in usable condition. We need to continue to make sure that each neighbourhood has at least two exit routes.The exit routes ideally would be always usable 24/7.

I also feel that Kamloops is a city that in times of emergencies offers evacuation housing. In the past this evacuation housing was related to spring runoff and the wildfire season, this is no longer true. The rain events last fall underlines the need to be ready at all times of the year. Where would we set up evacuation housing in January? We need to think about emergency housing. Kamloops will need dual purpose buildings that can be converted quickly when needed. These buildings would need to be funded by provincial and federal governments. City planning needs to consider the possibility of weather events and ensure that one in a thousand year events will be more of the norm. Because of the need to reduce emissions the city needs to demonstrate how to accomplish the required change.

How can the City of Kamloops strengthen its partnership with Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and continue working toward reconciliation with First Nations?

Allen: Kamloops needs to further strengthen partnerships with TK’emlups te Secwepemc. One way to further partnerships would be for the City (and myself) is to invest in learning to better understand their relationship with the city, from their perspective. I feel that much more is possible if the city had a stronger understanding of their perspective. Many businesses that serve Kamloops and area are located within Tk’emlups te Secwepemc. These businesses support, employ and contribute to our city's citizens. If Tk’emlups te Secwepemc thrives Kamloops thrives.

Reconciliation goes beyond partnerships, for me it is the understanding of the harm that has been and continues to be inflicted on our First Nations. For me, I’m not at a point of understanding the harm that we have inflicted. I’m also very concerned about ongoing harms. I wish for understanding so that it’s not my perspective but our collective understanding that makes stronger partnerships possible and supportive.

Visit Castanet's Kamloops Votes page to find profiles for City of Kamloops mayoral and councillor candidates along with links to candidates' websites and social media accounts if available.

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