B.C. Election 2017: Candidates for Kamloops North-Thompson

4Barb Nederpel – BC NDP

Barb Nederpel is the BC NDP candidate for Kamloops North-Thompson.

What is your experience in the community of Sun Peaks? Are you familiar with some of the unique issues we face?
A 20 year resident of Kamloops, Nederpel has spent time in Sun Peaks, especially in the summer with her family.

“This last year though, for the first time ever, we did that walk to the Top of the World, and it was physically challenging but once you got to the top it was absolutely stunning and worth it. And since then we’ve taken visitors from out of town as much as we can. I’m hooked!”  

How would you address the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) which is set to expire and other tourism related funding?
Nederpel was unfamiliar with the RMI, and said she didn’t want to speak to something that she is not familiar with but said working with municipalities was important. She also pointed out the BC NDP’s platform does support tourism.

“Sun Peaks has already done such an amazing job at promoting tourism year-round, and we want to support those ongoing efforts in the best way possible. To do so we want to help with the international promotion of Sun Peaks, and how we’re going to do that is by sending tourism representatives on all of our trade missions to promote the region.”

Sun Peaks is looking for a doctor to man the new health centre this fall; how will you address the doctor shortage and encourage more doctors to live in the area?
Nederpel acknowledged it was a challenge throughout B.C. and Kamloops and pointed to continuing efforts to recruit physicians such as making post-secondary education more affordable and making it easier for doctors with foreign credentials to practise in Canada.

Most importantly for Nederpel is the BC NDP’s integrated team-based care model, which uses resources such as nurse practitioners to provide some primary care.

“And that’s a thing that will work very well in a place like Sun Peaks, especially because it’s such a growing community.”

With much of the election seemingly focused on the Lower Mainland, how will you ensure rural and other areas, such as Sun Peaks, are well represented on a provincial scale?
“I understand the sentiment to some extent, because that is the bulk of the where you see the media. But your local representatives, they’re the mouthpiece in the legislature, and they’re the ones that have equal voice and that vote within the legislature. And I have been a very staunch advocate for working people, for good jobs, and of course for strong public services like health care. And I have been doing that for years, from here all the way to Ottawa, and that’s just who I am, long before I even thought of becoming a candidate.”

Short-term and nightly rentals like AirBnb have impacted communities around the province; how do you think the issue should be addressed in this riding?
Nederpel said The BC NDP would ask short-term rental operators to contribute to tourism marketing programs, and also mentioned the creation of a beer, wine and spirits committee to encourage stores and restaurants to feature B.C. products.

Our local school is growing rapidly as families move to the area. How will you ensure students are taken care of and receive adequate support and funding as the community grows?
Nederpel said her party would like to revisit the per capita funding program currently in place, which according to her, short changes rural schools in the province. She also mentioned the BC NDP’s platform which allocates additional resources to education and identifies class size and composition as issues.   

Is there anything you would like to add?
Nederpel also pointed to general affordability being important for Sun Peaks and the small businesses, and promised to reduce corporate tax by half a per cent and to freeze BC Hydro rates and conduct a review.

“There’s small businesses there, but also you count on fairly local people to be the people that spend money in the community. So we want to make life more affordable for small businesses, and for people, so that people can spend their money there.”

3Peter Kerek – BC Communist Party

Peter Kerek is the BC Communist candidate for Kamloops North-Thompson.

What is your experience in the community of Sun Peaks? Are you familiar with some of the unique issues we face?
Kerek isn’t an avid skier but is familiar with the area from his time as school bus driver and from fishing and spending time at nearby lakes in the summer.

How would you address the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) which is set to expire and other tourism related funding?
According to Kerek, his party doesn’t support the idea that communities should be reliant on grants or specific programs which can be cut.

“If the need is there to have an infrastructure built or supported or repaired, then the need needs to be met, and there shouldn’t be a process of grants and playing one community against another, knowing that there’s many communities and limited funds. Our party doesn’t support that kind of opportunity for favoritism.”

Sun Peaks is looking for a doctor to man the new health centre this fall; how will you address the doctor shortage and encourage more doctors to live in the area?
Kerek puts the onus directly on the government to provide a doctor if there is one needed in the community, and said his party supports dismantling the current business model B.C. doctors use in the province in the short term.

“So we would rather see the government immediately, wherever necessary, construct or purchase a facility larger than walk-in clinics, but smaller than a hospital, that could be operated 24/7 if necessary.”

In the long term, Kerek said he supported eliminating tuition fees to make medicine a more attractive career and more education facilities outside of larger centres to encourage people to stay in smaller communities.

With much of the election seemingly focused on the Lower Mainland, how will you ensure rural and other areas, such as Sun Peaks, are well represented on a provincial scale?
“Part of our problem is the influence of money, campaign financing and the purchasing of politicians and parties, and so those parties become reactive to the needs of their donors. And a lot of that money is flowing through the Vancouver area, so they do get a lot more attention.”

Kerek pointed to the issue of raw log exports which to him illustrates the trend of smaller communities interests being sacrificed for those of the larger communities.

Short-term and nightly rentals like AirBnb have impacted communities around the province; how do you think the issue should be addressed in this riding?
Kerek said the issue of affordable housing is connected and his party specifically calls for the construction of 100,000 new and newly renovated social housing across the province and  mentioned it’s estimated that 2,000 units are currently needed in Kamloops.

“It’s not just a problem for staff at Sun Peaks, well we’ve heard lots of stories about staff down at Whistler for years. If the corporation that runs the hill can’t pay their staff enough to house them, maybe they should start housing them. They have accommodations there. It seems like a basic thing you could do for your workers who can’t find housing, is find housing. It’s really not fair to the working class who are trying to make a living up there.”

Our local school is growing rapidly as families move to the area. How will you ensure students are taken care of and receive adequate support and funding as the community grows?
Kerek pointed to the recent step of student to ratios improving, which he identified as a positive change, however he said education funding need to be a priority for  government.  According to Kerek, when “mega projects” like the controversial Site C and $3.5 billion Massey Bridge are easily funded, however lack of funding is blamed in education sector, it’s a matter of priorities.

“And one way to get people on board to privatize public services is to underfund them until they become bad enough that people with the resources in their bank account start demanding access to private services so that they can educate their children appropriately. This is the strategy that they used to privatize services in the U.K.”

 

2Dan Hines – BC Greens

Dan Hines is the BC Greens candidate for Kamloops North-Thompson.

What is your experience in the community of Sun Peaks? Are you familiar with some of the unique issues we face?
Dan Hines grew up skiing at Tod Mountain as a teen. Now he is involved in the community by acting as priest at St. Francis Chapel, and assisting with local weddings and memorial services.

Hines said he also has many friends within the community who keep him abreast of local issues and concerns.

How would you address the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) which is set to expire and other tourism related funding?
Hines said he believes tourism has not been treated as the priority it should be.

“It needs to be as the biggest sector,” he said. “The amount of GDP and employment is much higher than oil and gas.”

He said BC Liberals focus on resource extraction but the economy has been driven by tourism like mountain biking or skiing at Sun Peaks.

“I would like to see resort facilities receive adequate support because they are really vital.”

Hines also  pointed to other benefits of tourism like sustainability and the potential for growth.

Sun Peaks is looking for a doctor to man the new health centre this fall; how will you address the doctor shortage and encourage more doctors to live in the area?
“We certainly need to encourage the doctors to live in more rural areas,” Hines said.

To do this, he said if elected he would advocate for doctors to receive more support with student loan debt from medical school to encourage young doctors to live outside of urban centres.

“Sun Peaks also has a lot of appeal for a doctor with a family who wants an outdoor lifestyle.”

Hines also said he believes it’s important to provide more than a single doctor and create total primary care access that combines a physician with other medical professionals such as nurses and physiotherapists

“That’s going to be key… collaboration and integrated modes as a primary care access point.”

With much of the election seemingly focused on the Lower Mainland, how will you ensure rural and other areas, such as Sun Peaks, are well represented on a provincial scale?
“We need more balance put back in government,” he said.  “It’s a notorious problem built into politics, they pay attention where there are seats to be won.”

Hines used the BC Liberals and NDP’s promise to remove some bridge tolls in the Lower Mainland as an example.

“That was designed to win commuter ridings. The problem is rural communities will share the cost but may never drive on them. Meanwhile rural communities are ignored because they can’t reward a party with more seats in the legislature.”

Short-term and nightly rentals like AirBnb have impacted communities around the province; how do you think the issue should be addressed in this riding?
Hines said he wasn’t for or against sites like AirBnb and the share economy but the changes are already underway regardless so it would not be effective to resist or not allow them.

“We need to creatively respond,” he said. “It will primarily involve deep collaboration with all stakeholders. The first thing would be all sitting down together to identify the problems, then find where are they coming from? Who gets to make the decisions? How can we collaborate to make new ideas?”

Hines said the role of government should be to facilitate such discussions.

“That is one of my deep criticisms of the B.C. government. Planning to have facilitated conversations has decreased and less people in government are accessible.”

He added things like new technology, the internet and automation are not what society is used to and will require “big conversations” to address.

Our local school is growing rapidly as families move to the area. How will you ensure students are taken care of and receive adequate support and funding as the community grows?
“The Greens are focused on lifelong learning and investing in education above the current budget and supreme court ruling.”

Hines said his party will invest an additional $200 million in the first year and $1.5 billion by 2021 if elected.

“It’s chronically underfunded and we don’t agree with that formula (money per student). We need to find an adaptive, flexible, and creative way to look at those needs with a new funding formula that is sensitive and realistic.”

He said the current funding formula is difficult for smaller or rural schools.

Is there anything you would like to add?
“Resorts are really going to notice changes that will be significant like erosion, snow, and storms from climate change. It will affect access routes, hydro and stability. Science points to dramatic changes that we are willing to talk about. “

Hines said we are only seeing the beginning of climate change and it is the main reason he is running.

“I didn’t want to just sit, I wanted to get in the game and help.”

 

1Peter Milobar – BC Liberals

Peter Milobar is the BC Liberals candidate for for Kamloops North-Thompson

What is your experience in the community of Sun Peaks? Are you familiar with some of the unique issues we face?
Milobar has spent many days enjoying the resort with his family, who owned a condo in the resort for many years.

He said they ski regularly and his role as a chair of the regional district has allowed him to be involved in the development of the area before and after becoming a municipality.

“I am absolutely familiar with Sun Peaks and the challenges they face,” he said.

How would you address the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) which is set to expire and other tourism related funding?
Milobar said he was in favour of the RMI continuing in either its current form or a new version, depending on what “makes sense” for resort municipalities.

“I’m fully supportive of the tourism industry,” Milobar said. “I will advocate strongly for fair and equitable tourism funding. I will fully support the RMI the best we can. Much of my career has been in the tourism industry.”

Sun Peaks is looking for a doctor to man the new health centre this fall; how will you address the doctor shortage and encourage more doctors to live in the area?
Milobar said he understood it was a difficult situation for many but stood behind past strategies from the BC Liberals and would continue to support those initiatives such as dedicating $90 million over three years to bring ‘integrated team-based primary care services’ into more communities.

“It isn’t from lack of effort on anyone’s part,” Milobar said, joking the current government isn’t hiding a supply of doctors somewhere.

He believed Sun Peaks has an advantage in attracting a doctor because of the lifestyle offered in the area. He also voiced his support for communities having access to a primary care physician regardless of their size.

Milobar pointed to a $30,000 fund he helped create for municipalities to use in efforts to attract a doctor.

With much of the election seemingly focused on the Lower Mainland, how will you ensure rural and other areas, such as Sun Peaks, are well represented on a provincial scale?
Milobar claimed he has been the only candidate to speak to this issue in the riding and said he will take concerns from the every town in the area to the province.

“First and foremost people need to make sure they elect a local representative to go to Victoria and you need to elect somebody that will go to Victoria and tell Victoria what Sun Peaks needs, what Clearwater, Barriere and Blue River need. Because they are all diverse in what their needs are.”

Short-term and nightly rentals like AirBnb have impacted communities around the province; how do you think the issue should be addressed in this riding?
Milobar said he would work with municipalities and local powers to asses zoning issues.

“I would want it to be a level playing field that’s balanced with hotel owners.”

He added he doesn’t think setting nightly rates is the government’s place but there should be equal tax applied to hotels and rentals listed on sites like AirBnb.

Our local school is growing rapidly as families move to the area. How will you ensure students are taken care of and receive adequate support and funding as the community grows?
Milobar said if elected he will work alongside the municipality to advocate for local children.

“First and foremost the resort municipality and MLA need to work with the School District and look at ways to make sure education is being taken care of,” Milobar said.

He said it’s an issue on which he would work to represent all rural areas like Sun Peaks.

“Discussions need to start with the School District, there are lots of capital requests in the district so I would advocate for all regions.”

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