At the expense of sounding like a cock-eyed optimist, I would like to be able to say, in some small way, I helped contribute to a team that made local residents feel even more comfortable and safe about where they live, more secure in their work, engaged in and/or able to take advantage of caring social programs, opportunity to take part in the arts, receive the foundation of a good education and have the cleanest environment we can attain.
When people visit here to ski, bike, hike, fish, whitewater raft, snowmobile, do the museums and check out our local shops and restaurants, I would like to think the team helped give them some reason to say WOW!
In short, I would like to be able to say, I did my small part to help maintain and improve the very corner stones of a viable community by working at the ongoing task of updating infrastructure so all of the above have a good foundation from which to work.
Four years from now the biggest accomplishment would be having the city’s financial house in order such that city spending has been reduced, the debt has been paid down and the reserves for ongoing infrastructure have been increased with a clear, sustainable plan for maintaining all of these at appropriate levels. This will have been done while maintaining the city’s core services to the general satisfaction of Revelstokians.
As I have said previously, this can only be done hand-in-hand with the planning and execution of economic development. The city’s economic climate must be “open for business” such that our existing businesses in town can be financially healthy and viable and providing jobs for existing and new residents; and we are attractive to new business and development. This allows our tax base to increase and greatly assists in putting our financial house in order as noted above. The city will then be in good standing to have its various issues addressed, such as affordable housing, infrastructure upgrades, and ongoing services.
If this has been accomplished, it will have been because Revelstoke, which is a $20 million a year organization, will have had a strong and capable mayor and council, with the experience, energy and creativity necessary to be proactive in dealing with city needs and issues..
My biggest accomplishment after my four year term would be to complete all the things that I promised to work towards if you elect me:
– Make Revelstoke a better place to do business, which in turn will attract new business and jobs.
– Make Revelstoke a friendlier place to live by reducing rules and regulations, which in turn will reduce our taxes.
– Make city hall easier to deal with by reducing difficult bylaws, and lengthy waiting times.
– Allowing the residents of Revelstoke to bring their concerns to council, and treat them fairly.
It is my belief that if these issues are resolved that the Revelsoke population will have increased, which in turn will result in lower taxes. This is the Revelstoke that I would like to live in four years from now.
I need your help to accomplish this goal by voting, George Buhler on November 15.
With the right team of forward thinkers on council and a strong mayor, I look forward to seeing the following headlines in our papers:
– Revelstoke has the most efficient permitting process in B.C., with permits being issued on average, in less than a week.
– Revelstoke rents are the most affordable in province due to large increase in rental stock.
– Building a family home in Revelstoke is a very affordable option.
– Revelstoke is awarded for having the best trail systems in Canada.
– Revelstoke is congratulated for most energy efficient mill with a biomass energy loop.
– Revelstoke is awarded for historical building enhancement on the Mountain View Elementary project.
– Revelstoke increases its tax base by 500 people and 200 new small businesses.
– Revelstoke is a leader in debt reduction, reducing debt by 25 per cent.
– Revelstoke breaks ground on a new conference centre, new forum and new golf course clubhouse with tourism partnerships, local and private investment.
– RMR puts in a new lift, increasing their terrain to compete on a global scale.
– Revelstoke reduces family food costs by increasing local farming initiatives and home gardening solutions.
– Revelstoke’s poverty reduction strategy is adopted throughout the Kootenay because of proven success.
– Revelstoke invites weekly air travel into the community with international flights via Calgary and Vancouver.
I am a forever optimist because it seems a waste of time to be anything else. Vote DUKE, we’ve got some work to do!
First, I would like to thank Alex Cooper and The Revelstoke Times Review for giving me the opportunity to communicate my thoughts over the last few weeks. It’s been great to be able to communicate directly to the citizens of Revelstoke and have people coming and talking with me.
If I was running for re-election in four years, I would hope to trumpet my biggest accomplishment as I’ve re-opened the doors of city hall. I would have welcomed the citizens, committees, volunteers and taxpayers of Revelstoke back into the the open, honest, clear and direct communication that we have been sorely lacking over the last six years.
It’s critical to me that we continue to engage and involve the citizens of this fantastic community. We have a wonderful and diverse community here, we have people who are always willing to help. We need to draw on their experience as we begin to work as a team again. Not only as a team at city hall and city council, but as a team throughout the whole city.
We need to create efficiencies within all departments of the city to avoid more tax increases. We need to welcome feedback and draw on knowledge from our local taxpayers. Looking forward to the next four years, Revelstoke deserves better. I want to be a part of a team that works for ALL of Revelstoke. On the 15th, vote for Trevor English.
I would like to say that with a council and community working together as a team, we have overcome this financial crisis we faced at the beginning of my term in council. Although some people said it was not that bad, it was clear that going forward with this kind of debt makes it very difficult to provide services when you have to keep borrowing money to solve the problems. Reserves are being replenished and spending is under control and we are on a path to recovering from the problems we faced in 2014.
With a more business minded approach to our problems we have become known as the city that is open for business in B.C. and Canada.
Looking forward to be looking back.
While it is important to know where you have been, it is more important to know where you are going. So, I cannot see myself four years from now spending too much time touting past accomplishments, though hopefully we as a city will have moved in what most would see as a positive direction. I will pick three things that I think it would be nice to look at and say: “Gee, I am glad that’s done (or on the way to getting done).” These things are beyond the normal infrastructure needs on which we have no choice and the ongoing task of providing the right services for the right price;
1) It would be nice to be able to say that the community has accepted a plan for the golf course that most, if not all, feel is a good plan and a viable long term plan. It has been in limbo long enough.
2) I would like to be able to feel that all of the partners in the community are working together better than they ever have and be able to point to positive results of that work.
3) I would like to feel that the community has a handle on housing – affordable, seasonal and for seasonal working people.
There are many others: a start on brownfields, better transit and a friendlier Victoria Road to name a few. The question and space don’t let me say more.
Together with an active, forward-moving council, the community can achieve these results by 2018:
– Revelstoke population numbers increasing, not declining.
-Taxes kept under the inflation rate over the term.
– Commercial to residential tax ratio moved towards provincial average.
– Long-term debt reduction and reserve building.
– A fix to the Trans-Canada/Victoria and Fourth/Victoria intersections
– Successful poverty reduction results including early childhood development and housing improvements.
– Big Eddy water issues solved and completed.
– Significant progress on food security strategy implementation.
– Successful conclusion of park projects like pump track, forum roof repair, skatepark, Kovach Park upgrades, golf course management plan, trails plan implementation, culture strategy and Williamson’s Lake revitalization.
– Significant increase in market rental housing stock
– Headway on multi-stakeholder partnership for a Revelstoke-sized, forward-looking, digitally-connected higher learning and training campus.
– Broadband Internet solution started.
– Steps to goal of attaining Rocky Mountaineer stop defined, results closer.
– Attract innovative entrepreneurial businesses in tech, tourism, culture and health.
– Significant progress on age-friendly issues.
– A completed Made-in-Revelstoke vision and plan put into law.
– Tourism indicators up significantly.
– A successful economic action plan that is producing measurable results.
– Significant progress at RMR including Master Development Agreement steps.
– Achieved efficient city hall services compared with similar sized communities.
– A completed integrated resource management plan to balance resource and recreation use near Revelstoke.
– Significant infrastructure projects complete like force mains work, hydrant replacement, road repairs, and work on district water flow testing.
– Significant residential infill development in Arrow Heights, Big Eddy, all Revelstoke, and for commercial lots.
That’s my word limit! Together, we can achieve even more, Revelstoke.
In 2018, I hope to be able to say I was actively involved with the rest of council during my second term, and that we had worked as a team together with the citizens of Revelstoke, developing solutions that work for us here in Revelstoke.
In no particular order, I hope to see:
— Asset management in place for water and sewer infrastructure; leaks from Greely line solved and more Arrow Heights residents connected to sewer.
— Victoria Road/TCH intersection 80 per cent improved; engineering complete for Fourth/Townley intersection.
— Big Eddy water issues resolved, resulting in light industry boom; businesses and industry on Westside Road supporting snowmobiling and dirt biking.
— Columbia Park Elementary at capacity; also Arrow Heights due to affordable infill housing off Hay and Nichol roads (subdivision including a green space buffer and small playground). Thompson River University’s Adventure Tourism program attracting foreign and local students.
— Mount Begbie Elementary plans progressing incorporating retail with condos above; and a dog park; Mountain View development also progressing.
— Intergenerational neighbourhood centred around Kovach Park; walking trails from park to Arrow Heights.
— Downie running three shifts, partnering in biomass fuel system for fleet operations; Community Energy Corporation expanded, with backup boiler.
— Ski hill thriving, staff housing being built. Transit running to ski hill for staff and to hospital.
— Community Connections community gardens supplying vegetables to food via cooking program in partnership with the Legion.
— Resource use partnership between forestry and recreation users tackling issues in harmonious solution focused format.
If re-elected, I plan on focusing on our financial picture. We need to continue to work in a positive direction. The public, as we are acutely aware, believe this is an area of concern. We need to continue to look within each department and challenge them to find savings. This would also include addressing our tax structure and addressing concerns. We also need to continue to look at our deliverables and service levels. Simply, are we getting good value for our tax dollar?
I would be elated if four years from now we have improved our financial package considerably: less debt, less reliance on borrowing, and higher reserve and contingency funds. This IS achievable. It is however a goal that is also subject to opinion, and there would be many, that would gauge success. I think the key word would be affordability.
We have two areas that do not have secure water supply. These two projects would be completed.
The economy, both globally and in Revelstoke, has recovered. All the hard work done by the economic development branch, Resort Accommodation Association, Chamber of Commerce City of Revelstoke, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort has paid off. We are seeing development plod ahead at a steady and sustainable rate. Many local businesses have expanded operations. We have success in all areas of our economy. We have a new skate park and our golf course is operational.
This is my vision for Revelstoke and what I would hope we can accomplish over the next four year term.
In four years time as we opt for re-election, I trust the mayor and council of the day will be able to tout many accomplishments. I envision these to include that we were a council of inclusivity, who were able to bring all agencies in the community together to get involved in the decisions that faced our community. We welcomed the input from the citizens of our community, we listened and we incorporated their ideas into our planning. We exhibited trust in a way that all members of our community were very proud of those they elected to this office. We were able to stabilize taxes in a way that each and every tax payer were comfortable with. We were able to strategically plan our actions that truly reflected the needs of the community and actually carry out these needs as planned. Along with serving the ‘at need’ issues of the community, sufficient funds were placed into the reserves to serve our emergency needs for many years to come. Affordable housing is being continuously addressed with new units planned and developed yearly. We were able show that the vision of all Revelstokians was truly reflected in council’s decisions. We were able to work with all City employees in a manner that made them all proud to say that they were employed by the City of Revelstoke.
You’ll notice I used the word ‘we’ for truly ‘we’ worked as a team within council and within the community to get the job done.
Editor’s note: Karen Powers did not respond to the final question.