The Phoenix Survey of Candidates

Kristen’s Questions
Kristen Friesen, of The Phoenix, sent all candidates this set of questions to answer.  Mine was done on the day it was received.

1. Do you support the District’s current plan for a new fire hall on 13 St? Why / Why not.

The main plank of my platform centers around taking care of the basics before we start spending dollars on things not related to care for the basics. So, a new fire hall would definitely fit into the basics! However, the district has a horrid record of taking and managing bids and contracts. I would want to have access to every detail about expenditures, and I’d want to work closely with Joe Creron to ensure that Peachland is getting the best bang for the buck.

2. Most of the affordable / attainable housing options in Peachland are for seniors-only. What are your specific plans for bringing more attainable / affordable housing options to Peachland for young people / families?

This is a great question! You cannot just say “affordable housing” without discussing the infrastructure around such housing. There is no point to having “cheap” housing and calling it “affordable.” The people who live in this housing have to be integral members of the community. This means that we have to do a whole lot of other things right in order to support affordable housing. It means business development and encouragement for people to shop locally. People need to be able to live and work, and grow here. If we are busy chasing pie-in-the-sky projects that have nothing to do with running Peachland, then we won’t be able to integrate affordable housing properly. So, I support it, but it has to be real, manageable, and beneficial to the citizens who occupy it.

3. Peachland is often looked at as a retirement town, but many young families live here – and only a small percentage have access to childcare here in town. What are your specific plans for bringing more childcare options to Peachland?

Another good question, and one that dove-tails into my previous comments about balanced growth and development. Nothing happens until you have your basics covered. If we are busy flogging the federal government’s “climate change” illusion, then we won’t have the money to take care of our basics. I won’t support any agenda that takes money out of your pockets that could otherwise be used to support creative daycare options.

4. What is your solution to the goose poop problem?

Problems are excuses for solution. For a little levity here, let form a new band in town and call it “The Peach Boys.” Our signature song could be: “Little Goose Poop.”

It might sound like this:

That said, goose poop is high in nitrogen, potassium, magnesium and calcium. If we had a collection system, we could utilize this product as an ingredient in a soil composting operation. This would make outstanding soil for growing in the spring. If you want to have even more fun, you could collect it, dry it, bag it and sell it on the market as “Peachland Gold” – nature’s perfect fertilizer. We could develop an entire tourist event around “Little Goose Poop!”

The fact is that the geese have been migrating for a thousand years. To go to war against them is futile. We need to find a way to make it work for us. A campaign like this would garner NATIONAL attention. It would bring us the opportunity to showcase Peachland to the world.

5. When are you going to fix the roads and get everyone in Peachland connected to sewer?

I like this question a lot too! And once again, ordinary citizens seem to have the same interests and priorities that I do. If we take care of home base FIRST, ahead of chasing “climate change illusions” then this issue would not be a problem. But to get that done, people have to stop electing councilors who take your vote, then ignore you for the next four years. I will provide a platform for your full participation in ongoing issues. Your voice is what drives me.

6. One subscriber wants to hear how candidates feel about art, all forms of it.

This community has more art talent than most people realize. My wife is a member of the art group that meets at the senior’s center. The talent there is phenomenal! I love art and I love color. I found a local photographer some months back who is outstanding at taking artistic wildlife and nature photographs. I’m helping her to create a book of her work to sell on Amazon Kindle. This can provide a long-term consistent stream of income. I’m still getting royalties from a book I wrote for Kindle back in 2000!

And once again, if we cover the basics and stop chasing illusions and things that don’t take care of home base, then we can help create a vibrant artist community.

7. According to this subscriber’s observations, often, three or four District vehicles – with one person in each – can be seen parked together while working on projects around town. She’d like to know if any candidates have noticed this & if so, what they’re going to do about it.

At the all candidates forum at the Community Center a few weeks ago, I was the only candidate that showed up. I spent a lot of time speaking with Joe Creron. Joe is a very capable CAO and definitely a solution finder and seeker. If we have issues here, as a councilor my hands on approach would soon identify them. So, working closely with staff, I’m certain if there are issues here, we can figure it all out.

8. EV Charging – This subscriber has done a lot of research: He says the District charges significantly, more for EV charging, on machines that are mediocre by today’s standards. Will you add more public chargers and will you mandate that charging stations for electric vehicles be part of all new / under construction multi-unit residential buildings?

Ev’s are not going to be successful in their current form. This is one of those projects that fits into the “other column” where you can shovel in some cash ONLY after we’ve taken care of business.

Using the current lithium battery is a very dirty and abusive process that is environmentally unsustainable. To produce one lithium battery for a car here in Peachland it takes 400,000 tons of mined earth. If you put that dirt into dump trucks, and line them up bumper to bumper, they will stretch from Peachland to Swift Current, Saskatchewan! Just for one battery. Lithium is mostly mined in 3rd world countries where they pay children 20 cents an hour. The average life expectancy of a lithium miner is 35 years. Are we ok with that?

Then you have the lithium processing. You have to put the lithium ore into evaporation ponds that are then filled with sulphuric acid. Now you wait for the acid to eat the ore and evaporate. When that is done, you have lithium brine that has to be collected and sent for processing. Each ton of lithium brine consumes $2600 in energy to process. That energy comes from coal-burning electricity plants. The CO2 that is released into the atmosphere is equivalent to the amount you’d release if you drove your gas powered car 365 days per year for 22 years. Are we ok with that?

I should mention, too, the evaporation pond situation. Are you okay with all those toxic chemicals evaporating into the atmosphere? This entire process is antithetical to sound environmental practices.

After all that, you have the fact that lithium batteries are only guaranteed for 3 years. So your new car is good at the beginning, but what if you want to sell it in year 2? Who’s going to buy it? The cost of new battery is $25,000. And if you decide to scrap the car, how are you going to afford the cost of recycling the car and the battery?

But let’s say you ignore all of the negatives and do it anyway. Every home that has a EV will need a 300 amp upgrade to their home. Transformers and hydro lines will all need to be upgraded in Peachland, costing millions! And all of this assumes that BC Hydro can supply the power. It can’t. Did you notice that California is now suffering blackouts and telling people to stop charging for several hours during the day?

If we pursue this agenda, then make sure you are okay with $10,000 property tax bills, and power blackouts during the winter.

We will eventually have electric vehicles, but they won’t be from lithium batteries.

9. The Ponderosa development – If elected, what will you do to see this project through to completion? As this subscriber says “I swear, if this mess was downtown and the councillors and mayor drove by it every day, something would have been done.”

Another great question, and a prime example of what I’ve been talking about through these nine questions. You have what you have because you elected people who, once elected, don’t care about you or your needs. There is no mechanism in place to ensure that your voice is heard. I’m going to change that, and traditional politicians will hate me for it.

The damage that has been done to Peachland through multiple terms of poor leadership will not be fixed in one term. It will take well into a second term to see real benefits. But we can get a strong start. And the only way that gets done is if you elected the right mayor. The only candidate capable of this task is Patrick Van Minsel. Yes, I was highly critical of him during the last election, but I watched him like a hawk, and he did very well. He is capable of doing an outstanding job, and doing it for multiple terms. I will be supporting him for Mayor.

Nick Walsh