• Hey Ryan, How’s council so far?

    Some Highlights of what I’ve learned so far on council:

    - The City of Kelowna is an immensely huge operation: 900 employees, roads, 400 million spent each year, each week we read between 10-20 staff reports on anything from developments, facilities, and bylaws. Some of them are public while some are “in camera”(private). Some great info here: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/6ba181ad#/6ba181ad/6 
    - The effect of downloading from the Provincial and Federal governments is probably the single biggest overlooked  issue effecting our community. With a couple Billion in infrastructure how we deal with that over the next 20 years will be our silent success or loud failure. The recently announced Civic Block review offers a good glimpse into this issue. What do we do with old infrastructure as it reaches the end of its lifecycle. As a person who lived in Scotland for 13yrs I find it interesting that our Canadian culture is that anything over 60yrd old is at the end or close to the end of its lifecycle.
    - While running you talk about “active citizens” but once in you realize just how influential those active citizens are. Examples include: 1) the 800 names in a petition to get Anne Mc Clemont upgraded led to the $5 million upgrade happening this year 2) pickle ball upgrades of $35,000 ( including $10,000 from the club) was approved after a massive lobby by their membership, staff support,and the fact it was the right decision. I was surprised that I got over 42 emails sent to my city inbox.  For more info on the budget check out my column on it: http://www.castanet.net/news/What-s-On/130633/How-much-is-that-road.

    - There are five news agencies that send reporters to Monday council meetings: castanet, Infotel, daily courier, capital news, and kelowna now. I think am1150 and others use the audio feed as a reference. Interestingly there are only three chairs in the media booth ( no Internet when that section was built).
    - While at the council table your main role is to ask questions and vote. I’ve been telling folks that being on council is the simplest most complicated thing I’ve done. Read the 400 page budget summary and ask a question or vote against the item you disagree with, it’s the item on page 359 (slight sarcasm) but truly being a councillor is effected by your focus. This past weekend our parks bylaw was on the agenda but for me personally it was the drone aspect that jumped out to me so that was where I spend the additional time researching and following up with our citizens and reading about other municipalities.
    - If you want to invite the mayor or a councillor to your event simply email jjohnson@kelowna.ca Jan is the Mayor/ Councillors secretary and will share the invite accordingly.
    - Council meetings on Monday morning  are often open to the public (while there is also an in camera /private portion as well) but surprisingly I’ve only once seen public in attendance. Our agenda is available on Thursday which sets the news cycle. It’s the reason why you often see staff quoted in the paper on Friday/Saturday often with further info on the project and councillors quoted more on Monday/Tuesday as we make decisions based on those reports.
    - Often what hits the news is often part of a lobby campaign that is led by one or two individuals: If you jump back to the election it was amazing to see one large interest even find a whole slate  (RDCO – kelowna mountain : read this Infotel story on it http://infotel.ca/newsitem/jonesie-kelowna-mountain-taxpayers-first-and-sharon-shepherd/it14380)
    - Collaboration is our way forward. There seems to be so much overlap in so many various segments in our community.  If every silo is acting in their best interest the community at large doesn’t get the best results but our ability to work collaboratively is truly what will “move kelowna forward”. This should probably be one blog post in itself but for today it’s just one of the points that’s became even more clear since I’ve been on council.
    - If you want that pothole fixed, report graffiti, or most other things you would want support from the City of Kelowna. I’d highly advice you check out our online service request system. It’s the most efficient way to get the action you want. The request is forwarded to the appropriate city staff and the more information you provide the easier it is for them to respond. For example a picture of a pothole gives them an indication of the size of operation needed to fix it. Here is the link: https://apps.kelowna.ca/iService_Requests/isr001.cfm
    Hopefully you learned something new about City Hall and it’s operations through my first blog post. At the end of the day the more active we are all working together to build a better city the more results we will create.
    You can always reach me via cell#250-878-1254 or email rdonn@kelowna.ca
    Ryan Donn
    Councillor, City of Kelowna