Shopping Carts – Homeless Wrongly Targeted

The City of Kamloops appears to be targeting the wrong people when it comes to theft of shopping carts.

Two nights ago (Sept 19) I came across dozens of shopping carts in front of the TRU Residence & Conference Centre.  

The carts come primarily from Superstore and Walmart and appear to be left there after being used by students to bring their groceries back to the Residence. 

 

The number of carts at just this one student location suggests the City has been picking on the wrong people when it comes to the ‘theft’ of shopping carts.  It’s easy to blame the homeless.  They can’t defend themselves and are an easy and visible target for misdirected and over zealous enforcement policies.”

Personally I feel this should be a learning moment for the City and suggest we move from this mistake to a more compassionate and helpful model when it comes to dealing with our homeless population.  

Why don’t we do as some other cities do and simply provide those in need with their own cart?

We could ask grocery stores to provide us with out-of-service carts, then look for volunteer organizations willing to restore these carts.  Make them more maneuverable by adding slightly larger wheels, paint them so everyone knows they haven’t been stolen, add a locking system and maybe add some form of personal ID for the owner.

We blamed the homeless for a problem which it now appears, they played a very minor role in.  Maybe it’s time the City apologized, showed some compassion and gave them legal ownership of their own personal cart.”

Photos by P Filisetti

One Year 0% Tax Increase – Naive or A Needed Conversation

I launched my campaign for Mayor with a proposal to freeze taxes for one year.  And while my opponent spent his time ridiculing the proposal and defending his six years of inaction, many others began thinking and wondering.  

Is it possible?  Could it be done?  Is there anything wrong with trying?  What’s wrong with asking?  And while everyone else joined the conversation, he continued to lament, “But it’s too complex for you the taxpayer to understand.”  

It was a don’t challenge me as I know more than you attitude that only served to reinforce an apparent lack of respect for all of us.  

There was a dismissive and condescending attitude that claimed it was naive to pick a number out of the air.  But leaders do, after much thought, pick targets.  It is called setting goals and putting your name to it.  Without a vision and goal you simply continue to go no where. 

I have been called simplistic and unrealistic for daring to set this one year fair taxation target.  For having the nerve to question past administration’s entitlement approach to to-refinance-or-notyour money.  All this, while my opponent continues to defend his years on Council by claiming no one other than himself can fully understand nor appreciate this supposed, very complicated process.  

He feels we have neither the desire nor qualifications for the kind of understanding that only he possesses.  I say, you deserve better than this patronizing approach to taking your money.

My goal of a one year tax freeze amounts to not adding $2.6 million to the total budget of $162 million.  

My opponent voted to spend more than twice that amount on that bottomless KDN real estate pit on 4th and Seymour proclaiming it was the right thing to do.  Yet he feels saving $2.6 million is impossible, simplistic and totally unrealistic.  Why is needless waste of taxpayer money okay but saving an impossibility?

Yes I would be a different kind of Mayor.  A Mayor who sets hard to reach goals.  A Mayor who listens.  A Mayor who respects your opinions.  A Mayor who is not a bureaucrat.  And a Mayor who isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions that need asking.

Where McQuarrie Candidate for Mayor Stands On The Performing Arts Centre

Knowing before the vote, not after

 

 

The spending referendum on the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) was defeated and our Mayor at the time famously noted, “there is no plan B”. But should there have been a ‘plan B’ or at a minimum, an option to rethink the idea at some later date?

Being Mayor is about leadership, vision and trying to build community ownership of a shared concept benefiting Kamloops now and well into the future.  As such, I’d like to start a conversation on PAC and plan B’s and I’ll get the conversation started by describing one vision I have for a future Performing Arts Centre.

I see it located on the North Shore, at the current Henry Grube site and anchoring the eastern end of a revitalized Tranquille.

Fronted by two rivers with a design that incorporates plazas, river walks and access to the beach, it could become the architectural and cultural icon of the City.

It would feature a theatre that will serve Kamloops for decades to come along with an outdoor amphitheatre for productions like X-Fest or maybe summer evening concerts by the Kamloops Symphony.  And for wintertime, an outdoor family skating rink would fit well with the concept.

I also envision a hotel partner to help share costs.  In fact at times, we could even use the theatre as a small convention centre.  

If I was your Mayor, I’d look to the arts community to lead the way, including a major fundraising campaign that would demonstrate commitment to the project.  In return, I’d like to see the City commit to finding that hotel partner along with one, hopefully two major corporate endowment partners.

Those are the foundational blocks and once we had letters of intent and costs well in hand, I’d be prepared to formally ask the citizens of Kamloops if this is a vision they would like to see become a reality.

Can you begin to imagine such a multi use PAC facility located in one of the most incredible locations in the City?  Imagine for a moment how this would launch a new revitalization for Tranquille and the North Shore.

As your Mayor, I would be so willing to champion this kind of community growth project.

Where McQuarrie Stands on Ajax

Knowing before the vote, not after.  

 

I feel the Ajax mine proposal is not suitable nor in the long term, economically beneficial for the future well being of Kamloops.  This position on Ajax has been consistent, in the public eye for years and will remain opposed and unchanged.

For over 6 years and in the vacuum created by lack of political will, citizens of Kamloops felt abandoned as they were pitted against each other over this divisive issue. This could have been avoided if there had been clear municipal leadership, a vision and a plan for Kamloops that had diversified and grown our economy over that time.

Instead those years were wasted and for most of them, many on City Council did nothing but wait and avoid answering the difficult questions. We had indecision, waffling, poor judgment and outright avoidance of the issues surrounding the mine.

Where was everyone when we needed leadership in determining a future beyond the short life cycle of the mine? What decisions and ideas were put forward? Who was taking ownership, responsibility and providing leadership?  Why negotiate a compensation agreement in principle when either party would have the right to walk from the agreement if a certificate was ever issued?

Resigning your position on council just before council’s crucial vote on Ajax was avoidance.  Telling people how you would have voted afterwards was following a trend, not leading the way.

So where do candidates for Mayor really stand on the Ajax mine? Is opposition to the mine simply an election time act of political convenience or a clear and steadfast belief?

For years, my stance has been clear and an unequivocal opposed.  You don’t have to guess or wonder if there are hidden agendas, or fence sitting opportunities with my position on the mine.

I take this stand because voters deserve to know before an election, not afterwards.

Whether you are voting for me as your Mayor or for someone else, you can at least do so honestly informed and aware of my position on Ajax.  And that shows you more respect, honesty and trust than you’ve received from some, over the past number of years.

The Press Release That Launched The Campaign

Bill McQuarrie Announces Mayoral Campaign

September 30th By-Election

Kamloops BC, August 15, 2017 – This morning, Bill McQuarrie, local columnist, experienced entrepreneur, technology company startup specialist and local businessman, announced his intent to run for Mayor of Kamloops in the September 30th by-election.

To mark the launch of his campaign, Mr. McQuarrie announced a bold and comprehensive initiative aimed squarely at helping the citizens and taxpayer of our City.

“This will be the start of a new way of thinking at City Hall,” stated McQuarrie. “In this case, a total change in the attitude that underlies our taxation and budget planning systems.”

Beginning with the new tax year, McQuarrie’s plan includes a commitment to see a 0% increase in property taxes for 2018.

“It is time”, stated McQuarrie, “that we stop asking the taxpayer, both residential and business, to solve the spending problems of the city. Like many taxpayers, I am frustrated with what has become the accepted norm of regular tax increases of 2.5% every year.”

“If elected Mayor, I will immediately abolish the concept of treating tax increases as an entitlement the City expects year after year.”

McQuarrie explained: “There has been a lack of respect and a failure to recognize our citizens as stakeholders and valued contributors to the success of our city. We need to become more efficient with their dollars by maximizing and leveraging the value of every single dollar given us.”

When asked about the impact this would have on City services, Mr. McQuarrie stated: “It is unfair to suggest to the taxpayer, as some have in the past, that a zero percent increase means reductions in service. What it really means is finding ways to put a greater emphasis on effectively managing expenditures. Please keep in mind, we are not the first city to do this and we don’t have to look any further than, Williams Lake or Nanaimo for examples. It’s not rocket science.”

Mr. McQuarrie feels the City should focus their available resources towards delivery of quality services and programs while looking for ways to eliminate items that do not have a direct benefit to City residents.

‘The City needs to take a more proactive and integrated approach that focuses on growing revenues instead of continually turning to the existing tax base for more money.”

Mr. McQuarrie feels we have some of the best department managers any city could have and that they will confidently and successfully rise to the challenge of maximizing returns on the hard earned dollars of taxpayers.

McQuarrie feels the results will be felt almost immediately and include:

  1. Accountability to the taxpayer
  2. An engaged and knowledgeable taxpayer
  3. Fully itemized budgeting with milestone reporting
  4. A more efficient and cost effective City Hall
  5. Better, forward leaning decisions on spending
  6. The ability to strategically target and focus on real opportunities for growth and development in both investment and jobs.

McQuarrie recognizes that no one likes taxes and accepts that they will never go away. But at the very minimum he feels we need to put in the effort to insure taxes are kept to acceptable levels.

“We can’t sustain city expenditures through unending raids on the taxpayer’s wallet. It’s a plan that is not sustainable, is unfair and needs to stop.

When elected Mayor, my first priorities will be to accept responsibility, do the job you have hired me to do and lead Kamloops into the exciting future it has earned.”