Castanet Kamloops is going to help you get to know the candidates running for mayor. Each weekend, 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?
Dieter Dudy: I have always shied away from myopic thinking, particularly when it comes to vision. I see a Kamloops that is completing itself. Currently we are viewed as the Tournament Capital of Canada, but I see us as being much, much, more. We need to include amenities that also include expanded academia, cultural, visual and performing arts, among other things. These would not only further enhance a beautiful, vibrant city for its citizens but also create an environment that will attract quality citizens of the future. Economic development comes as a result of business attraction. Business attraction comes as a result of having the necessary amenities in place. In other words....build it and they will come. Where do I see us in 4 years? Well on the way to establishing ourselves as a completed city.
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?
Dudy: This is a tough question as there is no definitive answer. I share the level of frustration and anger that many in our community feel with regard to these social issues. I direct those emotions at both those creating the havoc and those that should be working to manage the problem. In my mind, I feel that the province, Interior Health and to a lesser extent some of the agencies have dropped the ball and are so slow in trying to pick it up again. Council will have to double down on its efforts to get the government and agencies to create a sense of urgency and start putting measures in place that can correct this wayward ship. We also need to get help for our police. They need more resources and the federal government needs to react more quickly to address that need. However, even with added resources we need a court system that will mete out decisions that will actually have some teeth. Council needs to continue to hold everyone's feet to the fire.
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?
Dudy: The Performing Arts Centre tops the list on our recently minted Recreation Master Plan. I have said it at the outset and continue to say that I'm in full support of this amenity. This city needs to embrace not only sporting activities but recognize the overall value that the arts contribute. We have outgrown the facilities we currently have and need to expand for our current and future needs. The social, mental and economic benefits of this facility and what it represents far outweigh the initial capital expense. It will attract quality acts to our city as well as encourage business and professionals to make Kamloops their home.
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?
Dudy: The designation helps to define us, but I think we are more than just that. That said, I would never eschew the moniker. We boast some of the best recreational facilities in Canada and possess a human resource that is second to none in its ability to organize and host major sporting and recreational events. I believe we need to continue to build on this, and as with my comments on the arts, recognize the overall value this brings while we complete our city.
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?
Dudy: All the above to a great extent, but more. We need the world to know that we are open for business and do what we can to create an environment that is welcoming and accommodating. Investors in the economic development of our city need to feel valued, I'm not sure we have done a good job with that in the past. We need to streamline our permitting processes so that development can move ahead expediently and not get mired down in red tape. It's not enough to concentrate on business retention, we need to constantly prospect for and invite expansion and establishment. I would like to see coordinated growth through bodies like Venture Kamloops and Tourism Kamloops. Both are equipped with the tools that would invite further investment in our city.
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.