City of Kamloops mayoral candidate profile: Arjun Singh

Get to know Arjun Singh

Castanet Kamloops is going to help you get to know the candidates running for mayor. Every Saturday morning starting today, we will be posting a Q&A for mayoral candidates running in the Oct. 15 local general election. All candidates are asked the same questions, and their answers, submitted to Castanet by email, are published in full.

Castanet Kamloops: What is your vision for Kamloops? If you are elected, what do you think will be different four years from now?

Arjun Singh: I am committed to action for responsible accountable governance, community safety for all, resilient profitable businesses, climate action, and a vibrant connected community.

My overall vision for Kamloops is that the community comes together to take advantage of opportunities and address our challenges. As we’ve seen in tournament hosting or supporting evacuees, when Kamloopsians work together, we can accomplish amazing things.

I’m also guided here by our neighbours at Tk’emlups te Secwepemc who inspire with their collaborative approach. I’m fully committed to building on our current strong relationship and our work together to give real meaning to reconciliation.

I have spoken with hundreds of people in this campaign so far and my campaign approach and platform have been informed by these conversations.

I will strive to continue to listen and be approachable. I will advocate for decisive action and I will not avoid controversial topics or decisions.

For more information on the campaign platform, please visit arjunformayor.ca.

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?

Singh: Community safety for all is, by far, the top concern Kamloopsians have expressed to me. We absolutely need to work with other orders of government on social issues but local government also has a responsibility for social issues. I would propose/support:

  • A Mayors Task Force on Community Safety for All - recommendations no later than Jan 31 / 2023
  • City funded 24/7 crisis outreach teams to support our most vulnerable
  • A Sobering Centre
  • Advocating for more mental health and substance use services. We need to reduce wait lists
  • Advocating for reforms to our criminal justice system so repeat offenders are held more accountable.

As a Past President of the Union of BC Municipalities and a current director with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, I am fortunate to have built strong relationships with our provincial and federal colleagues. I have experience and understanding of what makes action and advocacy successful.

Again, more information is available on my campaign website.

Where do you stand on the performing arts centre issue? Would you like to see it move forward if elected? If so, where would it be on your list of priorities?

Singh: I support the arts centre. It would be an important amenity for Kamloops to give our world class arts community a fitting venue and to create a welcoming, diverse community. I believe we also need to ensure that the arts centre generates as much revenue as possible, to reduce operating subsidies. Kamloops was close to holding a referendum when COVID-19 hit and it would be a priority for me to see a referendum rescheduled.

How important to you is the city’s designation as Canada’s Tournament Capital? What is your vision for recreation and recreation facilities in Kamloops?

Singh: As someone who has never considered myself very sporty, I’ve really come to appreciate the huge value in our Tournament Capital program. It’s not just about elite athletes. From people beginning to get in shape to Olympians, the Tournament Capital program can offer something for almost everyone.

Kamloopsians also always share with me their love for outdoor recreation and I will continue to work to preserve and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities. A decade ago, I joined the Kamloops RunClub and outdoor recreation with incredible people has changed my life for the better.

Some may feel our “Canada’s Tournament Capital” brand is not inclusive of all citizens. I look forward to further conversation about this, and also feel our Tournament Capital focus has brought great value in terms of community health, community amenities and economic activity.

It is important that the City’s recently created Recreation recommendations are implemented. I also believe we need to consider building a new youth and seniors’ centre. Recreation impacts the health and wellness of all ages in our community.

What do you think the city’s role should be in attracting new business and fostering existing businesses? What do you think the city can do to ensure sustainable economic growth for Kamloops?

Singh: The City should continue working with our business associations and our economic development agency to support business led initiatives and programs. Sometimes, frankly, the best thing the City can do is stay out of business’ way. We have incredible entrepreneurs in Kamloops.

There are tools the City can use to support economic growth in our community such as the revitalization tax exemption (RTE). We also need to continue our work with local homebuilders and developers to create and maintain more affordable housing.

As Kamloops Mayor, I will:

  • Advocate for green, creative and technology based industries, business practices, and jobs
  • Support the expansion / attraction of a film studio and other businesses that build our tax base.
  • Support keeping business regulation and permitting as streamlined as possible

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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