Castanet Kamloops is going to help you get to know the candidates running for city councillor over the next several weeks. Each 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. Every council candidate 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?
Kelly Hall: Today’s expectation on elected councillors has evolved over recent years. With so much downloading from federal and provincial governments to the municipal level, we must have the right people sitting at the table, people with the courage and skillset to understand what it takes to manage a $290 million budget, $14-15 million of assets and help with direction and advice with senior city staff. The scope of this job is very demanding mentally and physically. I think we get good people with good intentions and big hearts who want to do a good job, however, it takes more than that.
Public expectations are growing around what local government should be doing and is doing. You can say the complexity a councillor faces daily has increased.
It’s my opinion to be an effective councillor, you must have comprehension of basic economics, budgeting skills, labor law, actuary tables, risk management and doing the dunk tank when requested. Very diverse.
I have been fortunate to help assist and grow business in Kamloops, working with local business owners, developing strategies, tactics, bringing them ideas to develop and grow business. I feel my skillset of understanding business development will guide me in being an effective councillor.
Today’s councillor will need to learn quickly, admit mistakes and definitely work harmoniously with everyone. Over my years in media, I can confidently say I tick off those boxes.
I have the skillset to be an effective leader, listening, learning, working and providing a positive attitude on behalf of the people of Kamloops.
What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the community today?
Hall: Numerous pressing issues face our community today. Whether it is attainable, affordable housing where supply is the answer, or community safety, a hot topic on the streets of Kamloops through my conversations with the business community and general citizens.
An opportunity we can work on is economic growth and development. I want to work with Kamloops business leaders to identify needs and grow Kamloops into a thriving, vibrant community. A community that gives us a sense of community by putting Kamloops first will be a priority. Work with city planning and challenge staff to be creative, providing solutions to building requests in a timely manner. Make it easier for developers and builders to develop. Let’s move to a 'Yes we can’ attitude, remove red tape and reduce the time it takes to get permits, zoning changes. We have a beautiful community with so much potential, it’s time we tap into that potential. We all know what we have in Kamloops, a community that lives with an outdoors feel. Fantastic family lifestyle, with an unmatched climate. World class skiing at our doorstep, a sports community second to none. A growing arts community, a university that continues to grow. A growing tertiary hospital transportation hub, three hours to Vancouver.
Progressive growth and development also means we must be responsible building the proper infrastructure to sustain projected growth. With this growth in residential, commercial and manufacturing comes the opportunity to broaden tax bases for all, bringing in more professionals, tradespeople, families. I see this as a need for Kamloops.
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?
Hall: As a community, along with our elected officials our focus locally is to work hard lobbying all groups, collaborating to get more positive results. Talking with individuals in our community on the road of recovery. The call is for more detox beds, complex care facilities, recovery centres and timely services from local agencies. Let’s bring back the Car 40 program. I will advocate for more care facilities. The Foundry Centre recently announced brings a much-needed service for Kamloops youth. BC Housing needs to understand warehousing different levels of mental health and addition under one roof with no care attached doesn't work. Temporary shelters aren't the answer.
We need to give the RCMP and CSO’s the tools to deal appropriately with repeat offenders. The catch-and-release programs currently employed are adding to the street challenges we currently have. I have empathy and compassion for those struggling with mental health and addiction challenges and want to see them get the help they require in a timely manner. However, for those causing our neighbours physical property damage and threatening their safety, they need to be held accountable for their crimes. As an elected councillor, we need to lean in and work hard with local agencies dealing more effectively with prolific offenders on our streets, holding those to account for their actions.
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?
Hall: If only we as a society would have listened to scientists back in 1972 that climate change will be a problem in years to come. As a community, we have a responsibility to check in our backyards and ask, what am I doing to curb my emissions? We only have to look at city land waste sites and realize the instant gratification society we live in needs an adjustment.
An integrated approach to sustainability will bring us together and further minimize our footprint. As a city, we need to encourage everyone to participate in making better choices.
The CCAP [Community Climate Action Plan] reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 is an aggressive target that will take work from all corners of our community.
As a community, we have significant influence on GHG emissions directly affecting climate. Continued education in our community is needed to help garner support for this growing cause. Ensure all grants and funding available are applied for, and giving our community the opportunity to capitalize.
Our master plan on urban transportation needs to co-exist with CCAP. Number one concern is GHG emissions from transportation. Let's get after better urban transportation programs, including opportunities for better roads, sidewalks and a community cycling path with a positive network walking, hiking, biking and EV's.
Active and engaged community with good direction, support, we can meet our climate plan. It will be work, but we can do it. Let's put community first.
How can the City of Kamloops strengthen its partnership with Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and continue working toward reconciliation with First Nations?
Hall: The city acknowledges we are located on Tk’emlups te Secwepemc territory situated within the unceded ancestral lands of the Secwepemc nation.
Kamloops and TteS have developed and fostered relationships over the years building on reconciliation. We continue to have forums of education for all citizens of our communities. A better understanding of each other’s culture will help grow our communities' bond.
Working hand-in-hand to develop synergies from transit, joint building projects, parks and trail development, road development, fire and community safety, complex care development. With each other, we can accomplish so much more.
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.