The election for Summerland’s municipal council will be held on Oct. 15. (Summerland Review file photo)

The election for Summerland’s municipal council will be held on Oct. 15. (Summerland Review file photo)

ELECTION 2022: Summerland’s council candidates discuss big-ticket items

Each week, the Summerland Review is questioning the candidates in the local government election

During this election campaign, the Summerland Review is asking questions of the candidates running for the position of mayor and councillors.

This week’s question: How will you approach big-ticket projects such as major road upgrades, the replacement of the Summerland Aquatic Centre and the solar and storage project.

Doug Holmes

Mayor

It starts with maintaining bridges within the community (business, non-profits, individuals) and with other orders of government. Every major jointly funded capital project is the result of negotiation, collaboration, and some degree of sacrifice.

The mayor needs to be able to look beyond their own little world and see the greater good of realizing shared objectives. Very little can be accomplished if we don’t co-operate with others. More details: dougholmes.com.

Chuck Pinnell

Mayor

As mayor, I see myself as the chief steward of the public purse, for the good people of Summerland.

Every decision must be considered in light of the present economy and the desires of the residents of Summerland.

Ideally, all projects would be accomplished without an increase in taxes. I would hope to actually see the property taxes go down over the next few years.

Roads and infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and upgrade, and can not be kicked down the road any further.

The mayor and council need to be about the business of roads, water, sewer, power and safety, first. We must have a clear appreciation for the difference between needs and wants, and act accordingly. We need to appreciate the difference between assets and liabilities.

Richard Barkwill

Councillor

I would apply for provincial and federal grants to help with the cost of the Aquatic Centre. Whether the community is willing to pay the balance will be decided by referendum.

There are a variety of ways to fund roads. Development Cost Charges (which need to be updated) are one source, borrowing is another and government grants are a third. Current taxation and reserves can also contribute.

The solar project is funded by the federal and provincial governments.

Our contribution is the value of the land plus up to $1 million for powerline connections.

Brad Besler

Councillor

I will be transparent with the residents of Summerland. I will assess the pros and cons of each decision and seek the community’s input. Instead of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for unnecessary consultants, I will listen to the people who actually live in our town. It is important for the next Council to address the condition of our roads, which includes repaving Main Street. The replacement of the Summerland Aquatic Centre will likely require a referendum due to the cost of the project, so it is essential that Councillors are also fiscally responsible.

Adrienne Betts

Councillor

I am committed to getting the new Summerland recreation centre built. Communicating the value of this infrastructure both to individuals in our community, as well as the positive economic spin-offs, will be a major part of gaining the community support required to approve this project moving forward.

Addressing the crumbling roads in our large municipality needs a long-term plan and budget.

My approach to big-ticket projects is to prioritize and make decisions in the most well-informed and educated way possible.

Peter Bognar

Councillor

Understand the financing and determine the public’s wishes.

Toni Boot

Councillor

Unless it is an emergent issue, big-ticket projects should be identified in the district’s strategic plans. Project funding options are presented to council by the finance team; they may differ between projects and sometimes run over several years.

For example, having failed to receive grant funding for the Giant’s Head project, but recognizing how important this initiative was, council sought voter approval to fund project costs over 25 years through a parcel tax and a water rate increase. Similarly, borrowing for the proposed new recreation centre will go to referendum in mid-2023. Six million (87 per cent) of the cost of the solar and storage project was funded by a federal/provincial grant.

I will continue to ensure that all capital projects are balanced with the ability to pay.

Doug Loepp

Councillor

All big ticket projects require public input. I would like to hear from you to get your thoughts on major projects.

I would weigh out the pros and cons of both sides and come to a decision based on what residents have told me on both sides. I work for you and my job is to present your views to council while taking a common sense approach to decisions.

Blair Parker

Councillor

We need to prioritize these big-ticket items by how critical they are to the citizens. The roads are one of our municipality’s largest assets and are in sad shape from years of doing temporary patches.

The cost to citizens in terms of vehicular repairs needs to be mitigated immediately.

It is important to have a clear understanding of an Asset Management Plan and implement a plan over five to 20 years for budget spending and saving, through reserve accounts, to take care of the linear assets.

This may not be a “sexy” project, but when a taxpayer turns on the tap, and there is no water, it becomes a huge issue. The time is now to activate the Asset Management Plan.

You may have a plan to renovate your basement, but you would never do it before replacing a leaking roof.

Doug Patan

Councillor

The three large expenditures mentioned raises may questions requiring extensive clarification in the upcoming months from the District.

Road upgrades are a major infrastructure expenditure. Council has been presented with a roads condition report and during this next term, council as a strategic priority, needs to address the budget and a workable affordable action plan to move forward on road upgrades and repairs.

The Aquatic Center is tentatively scheduled for a referendum in 2023. The information available is based on the District of Summerland research and reports presented on the selected scenario.

It will be our citizens who have the opportunity to make the final decision if this project should move forward.

The solar storage project is moving into the construction phase on a reduced scope based on the projects cost estimates that were received. With this project proceeding the district, during this next term, should see electrical cost savings anticipated without any further monies invested.

Janet Peake

Councillor

The Aquatic Centre will go to a referendum. This would be a large investment. If the community continues in its philosophy of investing for the future, the young people, and an active lifestyle for all of it citizenry then it will pass.

I know there was expressed interest for a walking track in a new recreation and aquatics centre. As with major road infrastructure, the district will be assessing any grants that are available to aid with the costs.

While I was on council, we pressed to put an Asset Management Plan in place to better able plan for future asset replacement and the setting aside of funds, for roads and to plan future projects with savings, judicious borrowing and grants.

The execution of the Solar Village Project as a demonstration of future environmentally responsible building could boost our resilience and create a demonstration of expectation in the construction industry.

Climate change is real and adaptation is important for our planet’s future.

Nick Redding

Councillor

I would approach big-ticket projects with an open and logical mind. I would look at the pros and cons for the short and long term. Is it cost efficient? Is the return worth the expense? Obviously, how the people of the community feel about it(with being well informed)? How will it affect our daily lives?

Mark Smed

Councillor

One role is to review those recommendations. The staff at the District of Summerland work to ensure our community is well maintained. They come to council with recommendations for funding upgrades and improvements.

Some items are missed like the twining of the reservoir that has never been completed.

There are opportunities to access federal and provincial funds to help with any major projects that we have missed. A pool, area or infrastructure upgrade can be pushed ahead if outside funding saves our community millions of dollars.

It would be very easy to promise all sorts of improvements. The burden falls upon taxpayers when there is no funding. Many are on fixed incomes and a sudden increase in taxes will negatively impact their quality of life. If I was to run on a platform of “Pave every road, finish every sidewalk”, then you would be voting for dramatic increases in property taxes.

If you are unhappy with the response of municipal staff regarding the urgency of a upgrade or repair, please come see me when I am elected and I will ensure your voice is heard.

I work for the community when elected. If road repairs where you live are a major concern, then we need to look at the process that Staff follow to perform upgrades and repairs.

Erin Trainer

Councillor

When a project is proposed, I start by considering where it fits within the community’s priorities and the District’s Asset Management Plan. (Is there an urgency to this project? Is there a cost to postponing it?)

Then I ask: how will we pay for it? Does the project qualify for available provincial or federal grants? Do we have enough money in reserves or do we need to borrow?

Next, I listen to staff, fellow councillors and the public. Finally, I try to balance today’s needs with tomorrow’s needs.

Marty Van Alphen

Councillor

a. Major road upgrades need to be the number one strategic priority of the new council to produce a long-term plan in the budget to address this problem.

b. The replacement for the Summerland Aquatic Centre is slated to go to referendum in the spring of 2023. There are a great many questions to still be determined however, the final say will be with the citizens of Summerland.

c. The solar project has gone out to tender and has been awarded at a reduced scope due to rising construction costs.

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Election 2022Summerland