Castanet Kamloops is going to help you get to know the candidates running for mayor. On Saturday mornings, 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?
Sadie Hunter: During my time as a Kamloops city councillor, I've taken an action-oriented, preventative, and proactive approach. I've helped initiate extreme weather cooling and warming centres, pushed for our city to get more involved in recruiting and retaining doctors and health-care providers, and ensured accessibility is at the forefront in decision-making. I feel strongly about many issues, but my biggest passion is getting things done.
I’m excited about our future. I envision a collaborative and inclusive community where everyone has access to opportunities. This will require taking a solutions-focused approach in the near future to work together on some of the complex challenges we face, stronger advocacy and being responsive and iterative. We’re a growing community and in front of us is the work of defining the kind of community people want to live, work, play and retire in — a huge opportunity for all of us. Our opportunity is likely also our biggest challenge, as moving through these conversations won't always be easy. That said, my experience is that Kamloops achieves amazing things when we come together and unite to work through challenges and realize vision.
We’ll be in a position where we have gotten louder in our advocacy and stronger in the future vision for our community.
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?
Hunter: Drug addiction, poverty, and mental illness are health issues, not criminal issues. I’ve brought forward a number of initiatives to try and address these and work directly with the province through my role on the Executive of the Union of BC Municipalities, the voice for local government in British Columbia. Activities within this role include involvement in intergovernmental committees, advocacy for policy changes on behalf of local governments across the province, and regular meetings with ministers.
That said, we can be louder and in addition to collaboratively asking for support alongside other communities, also ask directly for what our city needs. The supports our residents need, our businesses need, our youth need, and our vulnerable citizens need. We can also continue to step into the work we’ve started in the last four years which includes increasing outreach support and increased connection through Safe & Secure Kamloops working groups, the Community Action Team and local research in partnership with TRU. This research will help identify housing and services we need here at a more granular level, allowing the creation of made-in-Kamloops solutions.
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?
Hunter: The current council unanimously supported this project. It’s in our Strategic Plan and in the most recent Recreation Master Plan. As the appointed council spokesperson for the project in 2020, I absolutely support this initiative.
We have many new community members who have moved here over the last few years and our need for this amenity hasn’t lessened at all, it’s only grown. Now is the perfect time to ensure plans are in place to execute on the project once the community and the organizations who would use this resource are stabilized. Things have changed economically since 2020 and I think we need to stabilize the local economy to be strongly positioned to complete this project.
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?
Hunter: I think this designation has served Kamloops well in attracting events and contributing to our economy and sport infrastructure. I think we can keep this designation while thinking about how we can expand on it to also include and promote more passive forms of recreation that resonate with both the community and visitors. I think our natural features like parks and trails are just as important and some of them are used more by residents than the official sporting facilities. To me the question is how do we incorporate a recreation vision representative of everyone - from organized sports to the casual walker?
I would defer to my comments above and reiterate the Recreation Master Plan adopted in 2019. The creation of this plan involved extensive community consultation, so my vision would be to find ways to realize this community vision. Of course, I also believe these plans need to be living documents and not hang out on a shelf somewhere. If there’s changes to be made after our experiences the last 3 years, then let’s make some adjustments to the vision and carry on!
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?
Hunter: We do much of this work through Venture Kamloops, the city’s economic development arm. Their mission is to create economic growth to establish the city as a desirable location for business development. We also work very collaboratively with The Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures and other organizations who are focused on developing and growing our economy.
Aside from these activities, our role is to welcome business and innovation, and to be ambassadors for our city. We also need to actively listen to and engage with businesses and membership organizations like business associations and work together to continue to build a collaborative and thriving community.
In addition to the above, we need to continue to look for ways to enhance livability and provide access to the amenities and spaces people want. This includes everything from recreation facilities to community safety to access to health care. Businesses and their employees want and deserve a community they can work, live, and play in.
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.