Castanet Information had a dialog with every mayoral candidate operating within the South Okanagan-Similkameen.
Solutions have been edited for readability and brevity. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, together with earlier questionnaire tales, is out there right here and is being up to date day by day.
Election day is Oct. 15.
Sue McKortoff: Osoyoos incumbent mayoral candidate
Castanet: Why do you need to be mayor and what do you consider you possibly can deliver to the place?
Sue McKortoff: I need to be the mayor as a result of I like this city. I have been concerned on this city by serving to, volunteering and educating. I taught right here for 34 years. I’m devoted to protecting this city an ideal place to return and go to, our motto is Canada’s warmest welcome and we need to proceed ensuring that we provide that.
What I deliver to the desk is 50 years of dwelling right here. I’m skilled as a result of I’ve had one time period as a councillor and two as mayor. I’m organized, and I am dependable. I am a constructive chief and a staff participant. I positively am group targeted. If I should buy it right here, I’ll purchase it right here. And I do my buying, my gasoline, home equipment, and rent native employees to return and make things better or do issues at my residence. That’s all native as a result of I consider that you simply store regionally and also you assist native.
I am additionally approachable. I’ve at all times stated that if you wish to telephone me, or e mail me, or telephone city corridor and say that you simply’d wish to have a gathering with me, I’ll try to make that occur. In fact, issues have been a bit of bit completely different throughout the pandemic. However definitely now if folks need to meet me I can prepare to discover a place to satisfy them if that was the case.
C: What’s the primary situation dealing with the city right now, and the way would you cope with it figuring out City Corridor solely has a lot energy?
SM: A few issues which might be key to cope with. First is healthcare and our physician shortages, we completely perceive that. Once we have been at UBCM in Whistler a number of weeks in the past, two councillors, myself and the city CAO visited with the Ministry of Well being. And naturally, they’ve this downside in all places as a result of it is a province-wide situation, and it is had plenty of press. I additionally had a gathering with Minister Dix, the mayor of Oliver and our MLA Roly Russell and we definitely outlined the issues that we had within the South Okanagan. That was our most important motive for the assembly, nevertheless it definitely goes in direction of the entire regional district and the entire province.
Emergency room protection is a giant factor at South Okanagan Basic Hospital. We have to provide docs or folks that come right here a greater method of work-life steadiness and plenty of of them don’t need to tackle a longitudinal observe, which suggests having sufferers and coping with all of their circumstances and having to do the paperwork and form of being on name for after hours and that kind of factor. Many docs are not looking for that, what they need is team-based care. That is an excellent factor as a result of that was what we have been form of working with for the final couple of years of major care centres to try to get that up and operating.
However after all, there are at all times issues about getting these. There are two in Penticton that appear to be working very effectively. In Oliver-Osoyoos, we work collectively. So now we have to have each of us on the appropriate web page with a view to make that occur as a result of the entire docs which might be right here, all work at South Okanagan Basic.
Additionally once we have been speaking to [Health Minister Adrian Dix], we stated the fee-for-service mannequin, want to be [implemented] right here. They want to have some versatile funding and a few versatile scheduling. We additionally want to take a look at the underutilization of well being professionals, resembling pharmacists, counsellors, dieticians, and physiotherapists, we have to be sure that we do not at all times need to undergo a health care provider with a view to entry these. That may reduce down on a few of the pink tape that you need to undergo.
There are many international skilled care employees which were professionally educated which have a tough time working in BC and in Canada, and we have to present fewer obstacles for them. However the backside line is we have to work collectively, share, collaborate, and see if we won’t give you a call that works for everyone. It isn’t straightforward, as a result of I have been concerned in healthcare points for the final 40 years. I used to be on the hospital board and the chair of the hospital board for some time once we had hospital boards. Now now we have hospital districts.
I’ve seen the development of what is occurred and that provides me some expertise and a few background in it. I will surely proceed healthcare as a serious situation definitely within the subsequent 4 years if I used to be to proceed to be the mayor.
C: Osoyoos has continued to face points with ingesting water high quality, how do you intend to deal with this downside?
SM: We do have a water conservation plan and marketing campaign that is going out referred to as Water Sensible Osoyoos and you will notice that very quickly. It is in print and different areas of media with explanations for folks on the issues and states what the problems are, and what we are able to all do to form of assist this. It is an enormous situation as a result of we use an terrible lot of water within the summertime.
I am the chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, and I do know that 24 per cent of our water is utilized in irrigation so we might have to rethink that. We’ve got over time definitely put in water conservation steps in lots of areas and the make water work marketing campaign from the Okanagan Basin Water Board. All of us have to form of take a look at all the problems and work collectively to try to clear up them. We’re having a hydrologist come and verify all our wells as a result of in Osoyoos now we have 4 wells which have manganese in them.
Well being Canada has put extra rules in and we don’t meet the rules for it. Well being Canada has lowered the utmost allowable focus for manganese in ingesting water. So the City of Osoyoos water distribution system now not meets that, and in order that’s actually why now we have to actually take a look at how we are able to cope with this.
It consumes a lot of our city employees each day, they usually’re out flushing all of the reservoirs proper now they usually have a program to probably do this extra typically. The priority is that lots of this stuff are underground, and are not seen like work being carried out in your sidewalks and your avenue lighting. So we should be very cautious about infrastructure, notably beneath the bottom. So the underside line is that we want water remedy vegetation and perhaps as a result of our wells are unfold round, we definitely want multiple.
We do have a effectively, it was dug and it was able to go however Inside Well being rejected it. It was for water amount. You run up towards this stuff as a result of there are stricter guidelines put in place. However they did inform us at that assembly that we had on Monday, with all of this info that having reverse osmosis in your house, might be higher safety, definitely than not having one. So I do know there are various folks that have them and that is an excellent factor.
C: There’s a lack of emptiness and reasonably priced housing choices all through the Okanagan-Similkameen together with Osoyoos, what would you might have the municipality do to enhance the issue?
SM: We have met with the Ministry of Housing and defined what we’re involved with, that we want a spread of housing sorts on the town. We’ve got 550 items that we have okayed, a few of them are rental, a few of them are single household, a few of them are duplexes, that kind of factor, now we have a spread. We’ve got to attend until you get sufficient employees and also you get sufficient folks to arrange to truly construct all of them however most of the items are being constructed proper now. It is fairly apparent round city.
One of many issues we face as a result of we’re a resort municipality, we want short-term high-season lodging. A lot of our native companies, resorts and eating places and so forth have been very proactive in that. Generally they’ve bought or rented motels or condos or homes with a view to home their employees and that is an excellent factor as a result of the city cannot provide that. However definitely working along with the companies works out higher than we thought. We have been really asking the ministry employees for some assist with a brand new housing program with a view to assist resort municipalities primarily, and begin a brand new consumption session for rental housing. BC Housing was there, the gentleman who was answerable for that talked to us about loans and getting BC Housing concerned. It could possibly be carried out by the city, it could possibly be carried out by a developer, it could possibly be carried out by a nonprofit. So we’re all of these issues, after all.
A part of the issue in Osoyoos is it is a very fascinating space to be due to our climate, due to our fantastic heat lake and it is only a excellent place to position to stay, after all, however housing costs have gone by means of the roof.
One of many issues that now we have a priority with is the rise in guests and in individuals who personal houses right here, and that come up within the summertime, that is our busiest season, June, July, August, September, or in June, in all probability these 4 months.
We’ve got so many individuals right here within the summertime and now we have two full-time bylaw officers the place a lot of their time is spent going round and ensuring that short-term leases are notified. We ship them a letter saying ‘ this isn’t allowed on this zoning and you must take your advert down.’ And lots of occasions they do, the issue is that it is very profitable and so folks will get round that by saying, ‘Effectively, I am not renting it out, there is not any cash altering palms, it is my cousin, and their household which might be coming to remain.’ And, that is likely to be it. But it surely’s additionally very arduous to show that it isn’t. So these are a few of the points, however we’re a brand new coverage to try to tackle this. And I do know, it is very, very related throughout BC, that almost each group is having issues with this.
We wish folks to grasp why now we have issues about short-term leases and why now we have issues about following the bylaws.
C: What’s one venture council voted by means of this final time period that you simply agree with and need to see come to fruition?
SM: One which did come to fruition is the sewer elevate station and that was a very essential factor as a result of it is on the lowest level that pumps up the sewage from all our sewers round city, they usually ship them as much as the sewage lagoon. That was a very massive venture that we took on and it was simply accomplished final yr.
One of many different issues is that there is been water twinning. We have completed the realm down right here the place I stay, and I should not have a boil water advisory and that is the primary yr in 30 years. So I am completely happy about that. However additionally it is wanted for the entire different folks which might be outdoors the precise city boundary, however get their water from the city. We nonetheless do not have the very north finish, earlier than the tip of the lake. That hasn’t been carried out but. But it surely takes cash. We have carried out in all probability 80 per cent of it now, which is an effective factor.
Additionally throughout this time period, we offered hearth rescue with wanted sources, together with hiring full-time employees, a fireplace chief and two assistant chiefs now that we pay.
Six years in the past, we nearly misplaced our highschool and it was form of on the final second that we received some funding from the provincial authorities to maintain the varsity open. Since then, we be sure that considered one of our councillors goes to all faculty board conferences. We’re decided that we’ll be entrance and centre as a result of we are not looking for ever to undergo that once more. That was an enormous situation for this city and it took many, many, many individuals to be sure that that was dealt with.
We’re additionally proper now doing our city centre renewal. And we have had all types of public conferences about that, public conferences about our official group plan that has simply been adopted in June, which is a dwelling doc, it may be modified when crucial. However these sorts of issues have taken lots of time and lots of critiques. And naturally, every part has been a bit of bit slower as a result of we have had the pandemic to cope with.
C: What enchancment do you see in your municipality 4 years from now if elected?
SM: We will probably be persevering with in all probability each day to take a look at water points, well being points to see what we are able to do to assist that and searching on the infrastructure, as we construct extra, and our inhabitants has gone up 10 per cent because the final census.
If we’ll construct extra houses, and we clearly are, we have to be sure that now we have every part ready to simply accept the brand new challenges with extra water, sewers, streetlights—that kind of factor. In order that’s going to be an ongoing problem.
We’re a resort municipality, we get funding for that and we do tasks on the town that may assist appeal to vacationers but in addition are good for our residents. And that finish, we have simply been at conferences that UBCM on that situation as effectively. So I do not assume there is a scarcity of issues for us to do for the following 4 years.
And I will surely wish to be the mayor, with a view to keep on with these as a result of I definitely have a background in them and have been very concerned over time.