Bob Schewe has been in the trenches, just retiring from the Kelowna city bylaw department.
And he knows how the City of Kelowna works and doesn’t work behind the scenes.
That is why he is running for mayor on Oct. 20, and that is why he has targeted the homeless and street people situation as one of the key issues facing the city.
“People want genuine change,” Schewe says, “and I’m hoping they’ll look at my experience and know that I do know what I’m talking about. I love this community. It’s been great to me. There’s genuine passion there.”
Schewe has lived in the Okanagan for nearly 25 years and spent the last dozen in the Kelowna bylaw department as an enforcement officer. As a result, he is well aware of the homeless and transient situation downtown and other similarly affected areas in Kelowna. He believes the current administration has let it get out of hand.
Schewe comes to the table with answers, too. He says, as an example, Kelowna needs a loitering bylaw like Calgary has. He believes the unfortunate homeless who qualify and are willing to live within the community’s rules should receive assistance but those who are career petty criminals and their way of life are not welcome.
“I’m experienced with boots on the ground, first-hand dealing with these people,” Schewe says. “Anybody who knows anything about addictions or mental health and so on, we’re basically enabling this way of life on the street with some of the current policies. And that’s not right. It’s not really helping anybody. We are all human beings. You’re just prolonging their way of life, and they’re slowly killing themselves. I do know what works and what doesn’t work.”
Schewe says one of the first things he would do as mayor is push for the closure of the Cornerstone Shelter on Leon Avenue. A possible relocation, if proven justified, would be an industrial area well away from commercial businesses or residential areas. Small shelters would also have to scrutinized as to location. However, getting the qualifying homeless placed into housing as soon as possible must remain a social priority.
“We’re understaffed with RCMP per capita,” he says. “The city tries to get by with a minimal amount of staffing. You can’t do that with the RCMP. This is a very busy town.”
Schewe is also running for the affordability, livability as well as safety for all Kelowna citizens. To that end, one of his goals, if elected as mayor, would be to keep property tax increases at or near zero for the first two years. These are issues facing vulnerable, retired seniors and younger families, he says.
As for development and large project expenditures, he wants to see a slowdown in the rush to become a big city—with all the associated costs and big-city problems that come with that. Big expenditures and projects at the planning stage have to be more open to scrutiny by the public, existing property owners and businesses directly affected. “I’m not against development,” he says, “but projects have to be good for all our existing property owners, residents and businesses.”
Schewe says electing him as mayor will bring common sense to city hall and install a leader who will do what is right.
Schewe can be contacted directly with questions at [email protected].
This content was authorized by Bob Schewe, financial agent. 250-300-1137.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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