The Chamber is asking all candidates a series of business related questions so you have the information you need to make an informed voting choice. Questions and answers will be posted here twice a week. Check back regularly and follow the Chamber on Facebook for notification of new posts.
Question 10: As an elected leader, how would you propose to build stronger relationships with surrounding communities and who do you see as our key partners? Be specific.
Candidates for Mayor
WHO: The Penticton Indian Band, West Bank First Nations, the City of Penticton , the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen(R.D.O.S.) and the Central Okanagan Regional District (C.O.R.D.)
How: I have proposed a bilingual agreement (English & Okanagan) between Summerland and both the Penticton Indian Band and the West Bank First Nations. Previously I was involved with drafting bilingual agreements between both Indian Bands and Okanagan Archive Trust Society. Summerland was an important location in Okanagan First Nation history. With respect to improved relationships with First Nations, Summerland has taken important first steps with three bilingual signs and one mural using Okanagan language.
I am currently involved with a heritage inventory, in partnership with the City of Penticton and the R.D.O.S. I helped to create the partnership between the District and C.O.R.D. with the creation of the Okanagan Fur Brigade trail.
These established relationships can be expanded and improved.
We are a major part of the South Okanagan, families are linked, business activity is entwined, transit is now linked and our watershed is a key joint resource of supply for the whole South Okanagan. In 2005 I sought a seat at the Regional District Board table in order to ensure Summerland’s continued participation as a key partner in the south end of the valley. As Mayor I would look forward to further advancing Summerland’s position in the South Okanagan.
The Penticton Indian Band is a key partner in our watershed and we must improve our relationship. I see a protocol agreement to assist in dealing with joint problems and potentials as an important part of being a good neighbour.
Forestry companies are important players in our watershed and we must establish a rapport that will be critical to wildfire management that is so important to our water quality.
Our inclusion on the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) Board provides us with direct communication with the Municipalities and Electoral Areas throughout the South Okanagan to Princeton. Having spent the last three years as an alternate on the RDOS Board, I had the opportunity of seeing the value of our relationship. We work closely to ensure that Summerland interests are protected in the various operational concerns that impact our District such as: Okanagan Basin Water Board, Land Fill Operations, Wild Fire support, Regional Hospital Board, 911 Services, Bear Aware, Sterile Insect Release Program, feral horse concerns. We are able to define our District’s position, take part in a debate, provide input and have a vote in issues that impact Summerland. We should have a voice, as last year our tax share to the RDOS was $444,000. It is imperative that we continue to have a strong voice in the Regional District.
As Summerland’s Mayor with an extensive provincial and federal corrections background, Oliver is a key neighbour, with a new jail on the horizon. Guards, administration staff and support services, are potential Summerland residents, employers and secondary businesses. A Correction connection to Oliver is a key partnership to be developed. After 30+ years developing programs and hand’s-on experience as a contracted reintegration facilitator and volunteer coordinator, chairing, founding and participating in BC Community Component Working Groups, my career is valuable for dealing with ex-inmate issues as they arise. This provincial jail will house federal local inmates both male and eventually a connecting federal women’s jail. Our Summerland First Program will not impact Oliver and the same for Peachland. Kelowna and Penticton are only too happy to have Summerland’s money, jobs, and business; they do not wish partnership with us – Summerland Unity not annexation to Penticton is to be sought out! Shalom
Communication is the key to all relationships. I believe that our mayor and council play a very important role in establishing a working relationship with other communities in the South Okanagan with a high priority being placed on Penticton. My goal would be to make Summerland and Penticton a “twin destination” as opposed to visitors seeing us as a bedroom community of Penticton. I believe the two communities have different strengths, Penticton as the urban destination and Summerland a peri-urban destination only minutes from the urban centre. Peri-urban living is one that brings our active agricultural lands, our first class wine makers and our residential neighbourhoods together in a symbiotic relationship.
Building relationships with Oliver, Osoyoos and Peachland is also important. I believe it can be advantageous in sharing some tourism marketing costs with others. I do not believe in one marketing strategy for the entire area. Summerlands needs to develop and deliver our own strategy.
Candidates for Council
Martin (Marty) Van Alphen
As a Council we need to build stronger relationships with PIB, RDOS, City of Penticton and SD#67 to develop mutually beneficial joint-use projects. We also need to continue to support and enhance our relationships with multi-community organizations like Trails of the Okanagan and TOTA by meeting more often to promote tourism.
I believe it’s important for council to build strong and collaborative relationships with surrounding municipalities, the regional district, the province and valley-wide organizations (e.g. TOTA).
We can do this by participating in regional initiatives with an open and positive attitude. We want to be seen as a community that is ready for new opportunities. By sending our representatives to events, forums and round table discussions, we can ensure our voice is heard. The more we work together, the more we will all benefit.
The Summerland Chamber is already helping to boost Summerland’s profile in the valley and around the province. If elected, I will contribute to these efforts wherever possible.
I would like to see our community work closely with our nearest neighbours – Peachland and Penticton – in solving shared problems. This could be done by inviting members of their council and chamber to attend our respective meetings when common issues are being dealt with and vice versa. Open communication would benefit us all as we can all learn from each others successes.
We need to build stronger ties with all our neighbours. The trail to Penticton should be completed and requires the co-operation with First Nations people in Penticton. Penticton and Summerland share a transit link that will only benefit both communities if it is expanded. We need to establish better partnerships with communities and organizations throughout the Okanagan. When I am elected to council I feel one of my roles as a leader will be to establish accountability for tasks assigned to staff and organizations that are funded by the district. We need to ensure that all organizations are working together to promote unity and community awareness.
There are 175,000 residents to our north, and 60,000 to our south, so Summerland has the potential to build strong relationships with surrounding communities. There are potential partners that have the capacity, knowledge, credibility, and a history of good financial management as well as emerging potential future partners. To the south there is potential with Penticton and the economic zoning incentive plans that have been developed; the Penticton Indian Band with a potential newly emerging economy and a shared watershed; and perhaps partnering with Peachland, RDOS or CORD in cost sharing planning staff and future projects.
The Okanagan has engaged in immigrant attraction programs. It has been identified that immigration will need to occur if the population is to be maintained in Summerland.
Creation and strengthening of partnerships may occur while attending regional events. Councillors need to make an effort and recognize opportunities to partner in a variety of ways.
Response not available by publication time.
I would foresee where there are overlapping interest and issues Summerland should maintain open channels for communication with Penticton, Peachland and the Penticton Indian Band. In the case with Penticton more recent areas to pursue such interests would be economic development with the recent West Jet flights to Calgary and connecting flights on to the rest of Canada and other markets; the build out of the hospital and reciprocal ridership via public transportation. We also would share the ongoing benefits of Okanagan College. In order to maintain the bussing between our communities it will be necessary to build ridership and having a pick up and drop off at Redwing would be one way to do this, as well as having discussions with Okanagan college to make sure the current bus schedule serves the student population some of whom commute from Summerland.
Council must seek out and take advantage of partnerships with our neighbors, but these relationships do not happen on their own. Council must actively seek opportunities to engage our neighbors in tourism, long range planning, and other common efforts. Our partnerships with agencies such as TOTA are now showing results in our tourism efforts, and I know we can co-operate more with the economic and education initiatives in Penticton.
The construction of both the Hospital Expansion and Correctional Center will see many different agencies looking for partners, and our community can benefit from our Council having open lines of communication and a can-do attitude in helping these Regional efforts be as successful as they can be!
I would like to personally thank the Chamber for their hard work this election.
A good key economic regional partner, would be the City of Penticton for reasons of economies of scale. I am sure if there was purchasing of supplies/equipment done together, other than the ones already in existence, there would savings for both communities. Sharing of specialized pieces of equipment and special employees would also be a great benefit in savings and better service to both communities.
Economic development could and should be shared by all in the South Okanagan regionally, as there are spinoffs to each community when something of any significance happens in the region.
The Chamber does a great job of keeping us in touch with the bigger Okanagan picture through TOTA.
Summerland already benefits from strong relationships with its Okanagan neighbours and we should continue to nurture mutually beneficial opportunities. Co-operation may come in the form of providing shared services like with the library system and school board, or for infrastructure developments like the proposed lakeside footpath. Council members and District staff need to be involved in inter-community groups and networks, and keep relationships open, positive, and on-going. Relationship-building is the cornerstone of sound management. Like in business, the important thing is to maintain relationships, not just collect names in a contacts list. Our key partners for building relationships are those organizations and people who depend on strong inter-community connections and can provide us a bridge: School Districts 67 and 93, Okanagan College, Okanagan Regional Library, Interior Health, RCMP, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, BC Transit, Okanagan Basin Water Board, the Chamber and businesses community, service organizations, sports and youth associations, etc.
Our three immediate neighbours are Penticton, the Penticton Indian Band, and Area F of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. Obviously it behooves our council to encourage a friendly and cooperative relationship with the elected representatives from each of these three areas as we share some common interests, benefits, and responsibilities. Building stronger relationships starts with effective communication, but must progress to face-to-face interactions. I wish I could be specific, but the forum for these interactions depends on the individuals involved and their mutually desired outcome.
Beyond our immediate neighbours, it is also in our best collective interest to establish and maintain vital relationships with communities well beyond our beloved Okanagan. Much of our amazing fresh fruit production is shipped to Asia and Alberta. Products from the Maritimes are imported to our town. Summerland must have an attitude of attraction and pride so that the rest of the world takes notice.
Response not available by publication time.
The Summerland Chamber is well connected with the other Chambers in the Valley. I would encourage the councillor selected to be the liaison with the Summerland Chamber to take an active role in networking with surrounding Chambers.
I believe it is the primarily the role of the future Mayor to connect with his colleagues at the political level. The future Economic Development Officer would relate to staff of surrounding communities. We should partner with the Thompson-Okanagan Tourist Association to promote the entire valley.
It is also important to include the Penticton Indian Band in all district business, not just those issues that the district might think affect them.
District should consult labour, arts, culture, farm and business associations early on in policy making.
The only piece of transit missing to connect the entire Valley, is between Summerland and Peachland.
We need to strengthen the Valley wide tourism plans that include stops in Summerland. This should be broadened beyond summer wine tours and a couple of tour busses per year.
We have a fantastic federal Research Center in Summerland and a world renowned University in Kelowna that can and will bring more agricultural activity and research to the region. We can help facilitate this.
Broader than this, we need to market our town to tourists from cities like Vancouver and Calgary.
Most importantly, we need to look internally at the amazing potential we have and capitalize on our resources, ideas, history and geography.
Response not available at time of publication.
A current key partner is the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS).
Right now we have practically no relationship with the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) and this should be addressed as PIB lands are contiguous to District lands; any long term development plans for those areas need to include discussions with them.
Another area where cooperation with surrounding communities could be pursued is sharing the expense of capital assets. For example there could be opportunities to jointly purchase expensive equipment and share its use. This seems most likely with our neighbours Peachland and Penticton, but it is possible with other more distant neighbours as well.