Election 2018: Q&A with Steven Kent

Candidate for Revelstoke City Council

Current job/career: Owner Green Cat Home Repair, a local home renovation company. I moved here from Nelson, BC in 2002.

Why do you live in Revelstoke?

I still remember the moment when I decided to move to Revelstoke. As a BC Parks supervisor, I had been living in Nelson and working part of each week in Revelstoke. My co-worker and I finished work early one day and decided to hike up the Keystone Standard trail. It was a beautiful summer day and the alpine views all around me were spectacular. “I could live here.” I said. A few months later I quit my job and moved to Revelstoke. I came here for the mountain lifestyle and have never regretted that decision.

Why are you running for council?

At no time in my life have I ever been interested in politics and, frankly, have always found it kind of annoying. However, since moving here and running my own business, I began to follow municipal government processes as they relate to my work. It began to interest me and I realized not only that I had the skills to participate in the work of Council, but would like to take a turn at it.

Why do you think you are qualified for the job?

With 14 years of experience working in the Provincial government, I am comfortable making decisions in a collaborative environment and am used to the challenges encountered within bureaucratic processes. In addition, my 16 years of experience as a local contractor have given me an insight into the character of our community and a practical, pragmatic approach to problem solving.

People regularly ask me what my platform is and the question always throws me off. I don’t think it’s appropriate for a council member to have a “platform”. I believe you have a responsibility to understand the community, educate yourself about the issues that affect our city and, as part of a group, make the best decisions you can to direct how we move forward. I do, however, have opinions.

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

I think there are two priorities for the city over the next 4 years. One of them is infrastructure. Whether you embrace or are opposed to growth in our community it’s going to happen. We made that decision over a decade ago when we said we wanted a destination ski resort. However, although people are coming, we’re not ready. We need to address the condition of our water delivery systems, sewer system, roads and sidewalks. To this end, I think it’s very important to get the DCC discussion back on the table as soon as possible with the objective of having a new rate structure in place by the next building season. We have to prioritize the work that needs to be done, determine what is attributable to development and what requires maintenance and focus our resources on completing the top priorities. This may well mean that many worthwhile projects won’t get done until our infrastructure is in a reasonable condition to accommodate the growth we will experience. The first priority is the Southside sewage lagoon. It is not acceptable that taxpayers have to tolerate a sewage treatment system functioning that poorly.

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

The other priority for the city is affordable housing. We don’t have it at present. We need to streamline the processes involved in building secondary suites, carriage houses and other cost-effective housing alternatives. I would like to see tax incentives for people who are willing to build a secondary suite and enter into a covenant with the city stating that the unit will be offered as a monthly rental only. We also have to address the issue of illegal rentals and get those units back in the housing pool.

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

I think it’s time to revisit our Official Community Plan. The current document is well thought out and contains reasonable guidance, but it is now approaching ten years old and should be updated. The process would also encourage the community get together once again to define our collective vision of where we want to be and what we want to become. I often hear that “We want development, but it has to be the right development”. Without clear understanding of what we want, that comment has no meaning.

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