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?
Daphane Nelson: As a business and cooperative consultant, a director with a credit union and a governance professional, I absolutely have the skillset needed to assess information, communicate with constituents, debate issues and make decisions on their behalf.
Some of the first social enterprises, cooperatives consider the balance between their bottom line with community and environmental impacts. As a cooperative developer, I do understand dollars and cents, I will peruse the budget and will do so with a cooperative and creative lens.
What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the community today?
Nelson: We need to think outside the established silos and create solutions together so that Kamloops gains from our many shared resources and interconnected benefits. Through cooperation, action and creative thinking I will encourage active, tangible solutions to the city's many important issues. My message is simple; let's make it easier for residents to live a comfortable life, do business, have an impact, feel safe and thrive.
It’s imperative to support local businesses as most are still grappling with the effects of COVID-19 and the more recent challenges of finding staff. Add the daily struggle of property crime and you could call it an imperfect storm for small business. Let’s make their lives less difficult by saying yes more often than no and backing them wherever feasible and possible. Because when our economy does well, we all thrive.
Non-profit cooperative housing is another possible solution to the affordability of housing in Kamloops; take a look at what the Sahali Housing Co-op is doing but consider their wait list of 3-5 years. We need more affordable housing for everyone.
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?
Nelson: I absolutely see the prolific and repeat offenders in our community as having a significant impact on people and businesses. I know that there is work being done to determine what options are available in dealing with these individuals, and this does fall into my realm of reports are good, results are better. I will have more to say when those recommendations come forth.
I will ask difficult questions not only to other levels of government but also to social service providers receiving millions of dollars in funding annually to facilitate services for people with addictions, mental illness and experiencing homelessness. I would like to challenge social service agencies to cooperate, pool resources and create gap analyses to determine what we have, what we need to serve our vulnerable populations and what our next journey will be to keep all Kamloops residents safe and secure.
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?
Nelson: Kamloops is the epitome of urban sprawl and it’s difficult to get people from outlying communities to buy in to the need to take transit or cycle when those infrastructures are still quite flawed despite the ongoing work being done to make these services better. I’m not saying we stop trying, I’m indicating a need to keep moving forward on this work.
There are other initiatives that we could consider to reduce our impact on climate, including a mindfulness around consumption (reduce), fixing broken items instead of buying a new one (reuse) and actually transforming recyclables within our community instead of shipping them elsewhere (recycle).
Another idea that might be interesting to explore is an app that would allow folks with similar schedules living in similar areas of town to connect with others who they could carpool with.
How can the City of Kamloops strengthen its partnership with Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and continue working toward reconciliation with First Nations?
Nelson: We need to foster community on both sides of the river, and I commend current councils on their efforts to date. I have personally worked to understand the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action and recommend a commitment to this document. In addition, the B.C. government was the first in Canada to enact legislation, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and as a city within the boundaries of B.C. I would hope we are working within those parameters. I have many connections with Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc both personally and professionally and hope I am able to again work with my friends there.
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.