Election 2018: Q&A with Jackie Rhind

Candidate for Revelstoke city council

Current job/career: Junior Project Manager at VVI Construction Ltd.

Why do you live in Revelstoke?

The people, the mountains and the quality of life (in that order).

Why are you running for council/mayor?

I love Revelstoke more than I could have ever imagined and I am so proud to call Revelstoke home. Running for council is my way of taking action to make sure Revelstoke develops responsibly and sustainably for all residents.

Why do you think you are qualified for the job?

I am well versed in the issues facing our community. I attend many council meetings and I am an engaged citizen. I have experience (through my work in construction) with the permitting process and have dealt first hand with some of the frustrations caused by having outdated planning documents. I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree (major in Finance), which will serve me when assessing financial decisions regarding the city’s fiscal responsibility. I am open-minded, considerate, persistent and I am not afraid to ask questions. Lastly, I will provide much needed diversity and a fresh perspective to the team.

What do you think the city should do to fund current and future infrastructure needs?

The best approach to paying for our infrastructure needs is a balanced one. In my opinion, putting the onus on any one of our revenue streams will have too many negative repercussions, whereas sharing the cost among them all will incur the least impact to the community. Of course our first step is to apply for as many federal and provincial grants as possible to help subsidize the cost. The next step is to increase DCCs to a reasonable rate (not to the extent previously proposed) but just enough that we aren’t deterring development. This way we are growing our tax base and the burden of these infrastructure costs can be captured by a higher number of people paying DCCs, but more importantly a larger number of people paying taxes. People complain about visitors camping out of their cars and littering their streets – no matter how much people fight it, the demand to visit and live in Revelstoke is not going away so instead of fighting it, let’s give these people a place to stay so that we can capture taxes from them. Lastly, since infrastructure expenditures are often long-term assets, it makes the most sense to finance them with long-term debt. This added interest expense is likely to result in small tax increases but at least interest rates are still relatively low.

What do you think the city should do to address affordability for the average citizen?

For most people, housing is their largest expense. To stabilize prices, Revelstoke needs to increase the supply of housing to meet the growing demand.

The Province of BC has committed over $1.9 billion dollars in the 2018 Budget to investing in new housing options for British Columbians. One of the ways they have done this is through a partnership with BC Housing called ‘HousingHub’. HousingHub helps communities seek opportunities and partnerships with non-traditional private industry partners to facilitate building new affordable housing that requires no operational funding. They do this by offering low-cost financing, requiring no capital equity, and providing planning expertise, space for collaboration, project coordination resources, and access to pre-development funding. This is one of the many amazing resources that the city and the Housing Society should be looking into.

I believe the other thing the city should be doing is enforcing the vacation rental bylaws and fining those that are illegal/non-compliant. If we can get the vacation rental market in check, then we will have a larger supply of long term rentals at more reasonable rates.

What other issues would you want addressed if you were elected?

Solving the sewage lagoon dilemma (no more awful odours for Southside!), updating the Official Community Plan (OCP) and the outdated zoning bylaws that result in headaches and inefficiencies for city staff/planning department, doing a close review of the city’s operations budget, increasing transparency and community consultation between the city and its residents, updating the DCC bylaw and making sure we prioritize the housing needs of our senior citizens.

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