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?
Margot Middleton: I have sat on, and led many boards. I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a friend and a businessperson who has lived and raised her family and run her business in Kamloops. With this experience, I bring a depth of leadership and sound decision-making principles with tangible results. As a city councillor, I believe it’s important to have a clear focus on our role to provide good governance and leadership, centred on the well-being and interests of Kamloops’ citizens and local business owners and I believe, as a long-time resident of Kamloops and a proud Kamloopsian, I will be able to bring that to the table.
I imagine a city that is able to support the youth of the city be it either through sports, or by increasing access to opportunities for them, I imagine a city that is affordable for everyone and if that means subsidizing, or offering for free, several city facilities then I would want to work toward that. I also want to explore how we can help families get involved and stay involved in our community, and how the City of Kamloops can help to shift the focus on the way we have been doing things to encourage maximum participation.
What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the community today?
Middleton: I believe growing lack of affordability, increasing crime and declining mental health are some of the big issues the city is facing today, which in turn can lead to other pressing issues like addictions, homelessness and crime. We definitely have challenging times ahead with social issues, and we need to make sure that while focusing on these, we also keep focused on economic, cultural, sporting and recreational growth.
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?
Middleton: These issues are critical, but unfortunately not unique to Kamloops. However, some issues receive significant media attention which might give citizens the impression that one issue is more critical than another. I prefer to take a more balanced approach and believe our city will benefit from a well-rounded council that works diligently to improve upon issues and takes advantage of opportunities for the benefit of all residents and businesses. In this, I believe council needs to be focused on many critical issues. The pandemic has taught us that our infrastructure and resources can and must be adapted to make way for new solutions and new ways of doing things; it takes being intentional about exploring new ideas. I believe the best way to tackle these issues is for our city administration and staff, in collaboration with the newly elected council, must be open to change, engage well with all levels of government, focus on bringing solutions to multiple issues instead of one or two key issues, and work tirelessly to get the best outcomes for Kamloops and its 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?
Middleton: The City of Kamloops has been working for many years towards improving our environmental footprint with the introduction of recycling programs, waste reduction, water management, and alternate energy vehicles to name a few. And while the provincial, federal and global mandates are enormous and will not be resolved for many years, we need to continue on this path.
How can the City of Kamloops strengthen its partnership with Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and continue working toward reconciliation with First Nations?
Middleton: The City of Kamloops has been actively working and partnering with Tk’emlups te Secwepemc for many years. This includes economic development, services and support, as well as recognition that we reside on their traditional lands. The current leadership within the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc is excellent and I believe the city can maintain and grow its relationship moving forward by making them a more active part of discussions related to the future of the city, and by acknowledging the value of their traditional knowledge.
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.