Early Years Partnership
Q 1: If elected, what will you do to reduce the rising vulnerability among young children in your community?
Unfortunately, all too often, candidates offer platitudes and philosophical stances and provide little in the way of concrete strategies. Programs that some schools are already providing are named the Breakfast Club. These programs provide vulnerable students with a nutritious breakfast to help them start their day. As a Trustee, I would advocate for these types of programs to be offered in more schools that have a larger proportion of vulnerable students.
Another strategy would be to provide funding for students that due to family hardship are not able to afford the costs of various programs that require a fee to participate e.g. extracurricular field trips. To be excluded because of lack of finances is contrary to the mantra of public education which includes equal access to all.
Q 2: If elected, what will you do to help increase the number of quality child care spaces in our community?
Q 3: If elected, will you endorse the $10aDay Child Care Plan?
I would endorse it with no reservations. Access to affordable quality child care is something of great value which has far reaching benefits for children and their parents.
Q 4: If elected, will you advocate for free access to public transit and recreation services for children and reduced transit fares for low-income individuals, families and seniors?
I certainly would endorse question 4. Too often, children in poverty do not have access to recreational sports because of fees and equipement costs. Organizations such as the YMCA already provide some free access programs for children that cannot afford memberships. I would certainly explore other youth organizations such as youth soccer, baseball and hockey in my capacity as a School Trustee to see if they could offer similar free of charge services. As for transit, I am in favour, but it would require negotiation between the City and BC Transit.
Q 5: The municipal government has a responsibility to avoid contributing to the problem of low-wage poverty. If elected will you commit to adopting a living wage policy requiring the municipality (or school district) to pay a living wage to both it’s employees and contract staff?One of the greatest tragedies in our society is the incredible gap between the rich and the poor. British Columbia leads all other provinces in this category. I would certainly support a living wage initiative.
Q 6: Homelessness and housing affordability is a regional issue that has “spillover effects” from one community to another. If elected, how will you work with the City of Kelowna to support the Journey Home Strategy at a regional level?
In reviewing the Journey Home highlighted 10 point strategies; there was one that specifically pursues a partnership between the organization and School District 23. This strategy would rely on district information to identify and support youth at risk at becoming homeless. This is an extremely worthwhile partnership that I would actively pursue.
Also, I would support the strategy to construct 300 units that targets people experiencing chronic homelessness.
Q 7: If elected, will you participate in and support the Central Okanagan Poverty Reduction Committee - both with financial and staff resources - to develop a local poverty reduction strategy? Please describe what you see as your City’s role.
As a Trustee, my role would be one of advocacy. The affordable housing situation in Kelowna is abysmal. The city, so far, has failed to set aside low income housing. As a result, rental housing is getting to the point that renters need to allocate the majority of their monthly income for rent leaving little for utilities, food and clothing. The working poor is one of the fastest growing demographic.
I would strongly urge our local officials to take a close look at Medicine Hat and their Thrive strategy that has made great strides in reducing homelessness and poverty. This remarkable reduction was facilitated through the combined efforts of City officials, developers, charitable organizations and the medical and education community.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to these questions.
Peter Pagliocchini Kelowna Trustee Candidate