Spencer Coyne

Mayor of Princeton BC

Focus on Seniors’ needs

How does my platform help seniors?

With an aging population when we look forward as a community we cannot forget about those who built what we have inherited. For that reason when creating my platform I not only thought of those generations who we are building a better tomorrow for but ensuring that we are going to provide the necessities for our elders so they can stay in our community and can stay active within their own community. When I was considering things like infrastructure from sidewalks to public facilities I thought what do we have? What needs to be changed and what could be done differently? When working on my platform I tried to approach it with as much common sense as possible.

Like many communities we have some accessibility issues. From uneven sidewalks to lack of accessible parking or crosswalk curbs with raised lips and hard to access public buildings. When working on my platform these were all considerations I took into account when I was looking at things like sidewalk maintenance programs or long term planning in parks where we have a lack of accessibility paths for people with mobility issues. No one should have to not attend a Princeton Posse game because they fear that they won’t be able to get up into the stands or into the walkingmezzanine or even worse if they can’t get up to the front door. These are all issues and concerns that have played a part in the development of my positions on everything from Recreation to future development of the downtown.

This leads us into recreation. Recreation for seniors isn’t thought of as often as recreation for youth yet seniors are more active than ever. One of the things I want to see done is have the recreation department become more active again. I want to see activities planned and the Riverside Centre used for more things. The centre has a gym that sits empty most days, with an increase in the recreation department I would like to see activities directed not only at youth and after school programs but to seniors with low impact aerobics, yoga and many other activities that will not only allow for seniors to maintain a health active lifestyle but have the opportunity to be social.

Affordable housing is a big issue for Princeton and not only for families but for seniors as well. One of the first jobs a new council will need to do is look at finding ways to increase housing through a number of avenues including zoning and increase the ability for higher density in our downtown area.  This will allow for some apartments or even assisted living.  One of the plans currently is to build a new pool on the old Overweightea lot. Although I understand a lot of why this is happening I have not been convinced looking at the financials that this pool will work. What I propose instead for that area is a senior’s living complex of some sort on the property. This would be a great location close to downtown amenities, while allowing future growth of commercial down the road on the old Burr motors lot. This of course would mean that the pool would have to go somewhere else. Using this lot for housing rather than recreation puts community busing a block away, the local taxi is currently across the street and shopping is within walking distance. The lot is large enough that it would also allow for some green space that will enhance the living experience as well.

On the subject of transportation I strongly believe that access to health care within and outside our community is a key priority and as such a transportation link is a must. The next council will need to work to find transportation links to the Okanagan for trips to Kelowna if it is through the Regional District’s Penticton to Kelowna plan or another and we need a link to Vancouver. This will take some phone calls, negotiation and some hard works as we try to convince a carrier to come through Princeton or have a link up in Merritt as they travel through on their way from Kamloops to Vancouver. It is not impossible and I believe with the right people in place we can make this a reality.

Health care is so important for the community. Princeton is in a much better place than when we started only a few years ago but this does not mean that we can stop or put our guard down. We need to maintain the services we have and the doctor levels we currently have. We also need to work with Interior Health, the Ministry and if possible maybe Universities so we can become a training centre for rural medicine in BC. We need to think outside the box when it comes to the future of health care in Princeton. We have had dedicated doctors, volunteers and community members who continue to work to move us forward this is an area that the next council needs to continue to champion as we move forward.

Lastly I have committed in my platform to a number of committees including a Mayor’s advisory committee this is an all-encompassing committee designed to bring feedback and advice to the Mayor. There would be a seat at that committee to represent the seniors of Princeton. With the council portfolio positions I strongly believe that the Council should have a liaison between the organizations in town and themselves so that the Council understands the needs, wants and concerns of the community. One portfolio position will be a liaison to the Seniors Branch so that the concerns of the senior’s community of Princeton will be relayed to the council.

Invest in our youth

If I am elected as Mayor one of my top priorities equal to housing and infrastructure are Princeton’s Youth. We need more opportunity for community’s youth. In my platform I touch on two areas Summer recreation programs and the Child & Youth Committee. I believe we need a year-round option for our youth to be engaged and involved in not only recreational opportunities, but they need some sort of drop in program where we can combine outreach and awareness programs. We need a place where Princeton’s youth can meet and feel safe.

I strongly believe that we need to resurrect the Child & Youth Committee, CYC. This committee is a collaborative and inclusive organization that looks at Child & Youth issues more holistically than just a recreation program or a youth drop in program. By partnering with like-minded agencies, the CYC can bring drug & alcohol education and outreach at the same time as offering drop in activities or recreational opportunities.

Since the Town has an ongoing lease with the School District for Riverside Community Centre and its location to other recreational facilities I think that we could put a drop in centre for youth inside the Riverside Centre. This would also allow us to work with existing organizations like the Theatre Group and Princeton Arts Council to offer opportunities to Princeton’s youth in a way that we may not have considered before. If we can work with Interior Health we might be able to secure some mental health assistance in the facility as well where youth can meet or have the opportunity to make contact with counselling services. By having opportunities for our youth to congregate in a safe place we can use the opportunity for drug and alcohol education and outreach.

As a father of two young children I feel that we owe them everything we can do to give them the opportunities that they deserve this is their home too.

Tahsis’ ORV bylaw for Princeton

There has been a lot of talk about what has happened in Tahsis with their new ORV bylaw allowing Off Road Vehicles to be driven inside the Village. What Tahsis has done can be used as a framework for other communities looking to add OFF Road Vehicle bylaws to their books. Tahsis has worked within the confines of the existing provincial legislations to compile their bylaw.

This has allowed Tahsis to have a structured set of rules and regulations that are enforceable. Some of these rules include having 3rd party liability insurance, license plate and decal and all drivers must have a valid driver’s licence. They must follow all rules set out by the motor vehicle act. The Village also has a set speed limit, rules of yielding the trail, and penalties for failure to comply with the bylaw.

I am not necessarily saying that the bylaw that Tahsis has created will work for Princeton although it is a good place to start a community conversation around any future ORV bylaw or shared use of the KVR through Princeton.

Revitalization Tax Exemptions

In my platform I talk about creating Economic Investment Zones and using a Revitalization Tax Exemption to encourage investment into our Commercial Downtown. What does that mean and why would this be something that would be good for Princeton? The short answer is if done correctly creating Economic Investment Zones and using the Revitalization Tax Exemption we have an opportunity to encourage incentives to local business to invest capital into their buildings or to encourage new growth.

By creating Economic Investment Zones it allows the Municipality to create targeted areas for tax incentives that can stimulate and encourage construction of new buildings and renovations to existing. In 2010 Penticton city council created the Economic Investment Zone Program. Their program targeted four different zones: Industrial, Waterfront, Tourism, Sport & Culture and Commercial/Industrial according to the Province of British Columbia this initiative had 40 projects in the designated zones. The investment into the community has been over $70 million in construction and over 400 jobs created.

My proposed first phase of an Economic Investment Zone bylaw would be to create three specific zones in the commercial areas of Bridge Street and Vermilion Ave. By providing tax incentives to the heart of Princeton’s commercial sector and with some planning it would be my goal to create a sustainable downtown.

The second phase of an Economic Investment Zone would be to include Industrial, Highway Commercial, and the Airport. This is the greatest way for Council to provide a direct incentive to those who wish to invest into our community. There are not a lot of tools in the municipal toolbox that allows for tax incentives or new economic incentives. Through Section 226 of the Community Charter and the creation of a Revitalization Tax Exemption bylaw and the use of an Economic Investment Zone program Princeton can put on the table a real incentive package and a reason for developers to look at Princeton as a viable option to invest their money.

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