City of Kamloops mayoral candidate profile: Reid Hamer-Jackson

Meet Reid Hamer-Jackson

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?

Reid Hamer-Jackson: The streets of Kamloops will be safer and cleaner for citizens and visitors, where citizens enjoy our vibrant business community and multitude of amenities provided by nature. Our full-service multi-plex that hosts conventions, concerts, cultural events, recreation and sports, and the arts has increased city revenue.

We have more appropriate locations for our shelters and supportive housing projects and greater accountability from the operators of these facilities. Our focus will have shifted from harm reduction beds, where drug use is allowed, to an increased number of recovery beds with full wrap-around services. The full treatment and recovery centre in a serene location, connected to nature, where people can heal has been fully endorsed by government agencies and physicians.

Working with our government partners and agencies and having listened to the recommendations of the Central Interior Home Builders Association we will have increased our number of attainable housing units with a reduced carbon footprint. Having replaced low density, energy inefficient, multi-family buildings with new, high density, energy efficient buildings, potentially tripling the number of available units on the same property. Our development application process will be revised to revitalize our multi-family housing construction industry, making housing more attainable for all.

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?

Hamer-Jackson: Rather than absolving ourselves of these issues, claiming they are the responsibility of other levels of government, we need to work proactively with the RCMP, all levels of government, and all agencies, as a team to develop the best possible solutions. Compassion is essential but accomplishes nothing with the “stay in our lane” approach that has been taken by our current mayor and council.

We need:

  • A comprehensive 3rd party review of drug/harm reduction facilities.
  • Accountability at the shelter level.
  • Recovery facilities, not just harm reduction drug houses.
  • More outreach teams on the streets to proactively support and understand the needs of the street entrenched population. If people want to go home to their families and support systems, we need to help them get there.
  • To work with our Superintendent Jeff Pelley and his team to reduce street crime.
  • To work with Interior Health and physicians like Dr. Mandy Manak to develop the best solutions for those with addiction and mental health illness, focusing on recovery, not just harm reduction.
  • To assertively pursue ALL grant monies to ensure we get the maximum available for our citizens, with every application.

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?

Hamer-Jackson: My wife and I are members of the Performing Arts Centre Society and support the development of a facility that combines convention, sports, recreation, concerts, arts and cultural experiences in a single centre on a platform with ample parking and accessibility. We need to be inclusive with its development, listening to all citizens of Kamloops and we need to recover and revitalize our motels and hotels to provide accommodation for those visiting and performing in Kamloops.

The centre would be similar, but larger and more inclusive than the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre and could be made affordable with provincial and federal funding grants.

I consider the centre a priority after we achieve a safe, secure Kamloops, when residents indicate their support, as I see it contributing immensely to the prosperity of our city.

We are currently unable to secure city hall, we’ve had 3 break-ins recently, one where the mayor’s ‘chain of office’ necklace was stolen. We have senior citizens living downtown who are afraid to come out of their buildings. Again, I support its development when our streets are safe.

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?

Hamer-Jackson: Our city’s designation as Canada’s Tournament Capital brings with it a great sense of personal pride. Thanks to the tremendous sports facilities we’ve enjoyed in Kamloops, my son and daughter both earned scholarships to universities and continue to participate in their sports. Sports are beneficial for children and adults alike. Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins and other chemicals that can counter the effects of stress. A healthy population is very important, developing a multi-functional facility with help renew and enforce our city’s designation as Canada’s Tournament Capital.

We need to have a good look at our existing recreation facilities, evaluate the tournaments our city has historically held and then understand how we’re going to accommodate them again.

We need to get back our motels and hotels and revitalize them to accommodate people who come to Kamloops to compete in tournaments. We also need a recreational RV park for sports enthusiasts and tourists, and we need to ensure people and their equipment are safe and secure.

Recently, somebody came to the city and had $30,000 worth of mountain bikes stolen off their vehicle, they won’t be competing and they’re not coming back.

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?

Hamer-Jackson: The city’s role is to take accountability for sustaining a safe environment to attract new business and foster existing businesses, where customers, clients and business owners can come and feel safe. Nobody wants to live and do business in a community where homes and/or businesses are vandalized, and their family members aren’t safe to walk the streets and live their lives. The city needs to work with our local business associations, Tourism Kamloops and the citizens of our city to establish a cohesive development plan for the next five years and consider the appropriate taxation model to make establishing and running a business in Kamloops profitable.

We need to improve transportation in the city with a focus on providing alternative forms of transportation like rentable bikes and scooters, UBER and more, safe, well-lit pedestrian and bike lanes. We need to work with the BC MoT [Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure] to make bus and taxi service reliable, safe, and dependable. Without reliable means of transportation, businesses suffer.

With a world focus on climate action, promoting Kamloops as a sustainable city, with technology to reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, enhanced air quality and protecting natural resources we will help ensure our economic growth.

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.

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