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Kevin Demers: A Top Candidate for City Council

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Hi I’m Kevin Demers, a community-minded local businessman who’s thrown my hat in the race for Vernon's December 4th city council By-election. A former oil field consultant from Alberta, my family moved to Vernon in 2015 to open up Hemp and Wellness, which quickly became a popular place for Vernonites to obtain their herbal remedies. We have two amazing teenagers who are passionate and active in our community, now in high school. Their future in Vernon is an ongoing investment, we want good things for our city. 
No stranger to hard work, I’ve built two businesses from the ground up in the last six years; I know I'll make a great city council member. I will focus efforts to positively impact Vernon's growth with initiatives to develop our downtown core.
I will make an effort to bring business and commerce in tune with the affordable living of high rises, bringing the downtown core into the 21st century.
I will work to pass budgets that improve infrastructure, existing facilities and that attract new business to Vernon. 
I will work with the Vernon Chamber of Commerce and City Bylaw to re-open local Businesses and Restaurants to their total capacity.
We will do this while keeping a clean environment in mind, growing Vernon to allow families to stay together as we move forward in this new way of living. 
I'm confident I'll do well to represent our community and look forward to working with the other accomplished members of Vernon's city council. 
A vote for Kevin Demers is a vote for renewed perspective and a brighter future for all Vernonites. 

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SENS (The Sustainable Environment Network Society) is hosting an all-candidates forum November 10th, that I regretfully cannot attend due to work. Below are the questions they’ll post on their page along with my response. Please email me with any questions.
1a. What have you already done to help all of us and make a difference to our community?
I’ve helped raise two incredible teenagers who are responsible young adults and who make a positive impact in their community. I set an example of honest hard work, mindfulness and dedication to community, environment, and business.
1b. What will you NOW do to make a difference and help protect our environment and human health?  If elected December 4th I will work hard to help discern our communities’ concerns thru viable projects that are managed efficiently.
2. How do you plan to ensure the rapid implementation of Vernon's Climate Action Plan? 
By diving into it and continuing the work with city management, the advisory committee and council to efficiently meet budget and implementation targets, maintaining a sustainable plan.
3. The Official Community Plan 2013 calls for the protection and preservation of green spaces and sensitive areas, a comprehensive parks system that provides green spaces for people and protects natural areas and habitats, the protection of agricultural land, and the revitalization of the Vernon's City Centre as the key redevelopment area in the city. How do you see the balance between that and opening up greenfield areas (land that had never been used before for building) for development? 
Analysis of environmental impact is first and foremost in these developments, Balance will be the focus when managing these projects while collaborating with the prepared departments and organizations that are brought to the table.
4. Keeping in mind the recent local climate impact of wildfires and floods, the city now has professional advice (eg, new Flood Mapping Study, recent Community Wildfire Protection Plan) on restricting development in areas identified as vulnerable to these threats. How would you balance these restrictions with the push by developers to add housing in some of these areas? 
It is important to work with developers to help meet restrictions while working primarily to manage pro-active initiatives that greatly reduce the impact of these threats before they become crisis.
5. The City’s adopted Master Transportation Plan emphasizes more trips to be made by walking, cycling, transit and carpooling (collectively known as active transportation) instead of in a single occupant vehicle (SOV). Do you have any suggestions or concerns about this plan? 
Theoretically, it impacts positively on our community’s carbon footprint, personal health, and interactions. It is important to manage a plan that doesn’t impede or restrict business while finding a balance that promotes willful participation. Consider what Vancouver continues to do with innovators like New Line Skate Parks, turning sections of walkways and byways into interactive plazas that promote “getting out” on alternative forms of zero-carbon transportation. A project worth exploring.
6. What do you see as the pros and cons of developing bylaws that require builders to meet the requirements of the BC Energy Step Code (a single provincial standard for achieving more energy-efficient buildings)? 
If elected, this is a project I’d hope to delve into more thoroughly. Briefly a pro being, you’re hopeful a regulated market brings a consistent product that effectively lowers rates and brings down cost. Briefly a con being, you’d want open and often reviewed policy with effort to avoid monopolies, dated policies and bylaws that can stunt innovation. Vernon’s climate is unique, and this policy should reflect that.
7. Many developers build large, expensive homes, distant from the town’s core, to make money – they’re twice the size they were in the ‘60’s, require much more ‘stuff’ to fill them, and don’t support the need to densify for smarter growth and to reduce car dependency as specified by our OCP. Families and those who grew up here cannot afford to stay and work here.  Businesses now can’t get staff and must adjust hours of operation or close.  What will you do to support affordable housing?
Firstly, I will work to stimulate funding that brings business and commerce to high rises downtown offering affordable living. We’ll bring the downtown core into the 21st century.

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