Penticton city council candidates 2022

Top row from left: Amelia Boultbee, Isaac Gilbert, Ryan Graham, Lindsey Hall, Andrew Jakubeit, Helena Konanz. Middle row from left: Nick Kruger, Wayne Llewellyn, James Miller, Katie O'Kell, Frank Regehr, Katie Robinson. Bottom row from left: Davinder Sandhu, Larry Schwartzenberger, Shannon Stewart, Campbell Watt.

Acting editor’s note: Welcome back to our Q&A series with Penticton city council candidates. Part 1 can be found here. Responses were limited to 100 words and appear unedited. Today’s question: Do you support the current council’s decision to build the lake-to-lake bike route?

CAMPBELL WATT

I support the decision knowing that the route is meant as an alternative form of transportation, not only for bikes, but as a safe way to commute around our city. This is even more important to me having a child that bikes and retired parents living in Penticton. Utilizing the bike lanes will increase available parking, increase affordability and be more friendly to our environment. Bike lanes are becoming more and more a staple of a community’s infrastructure and transit plans when considering design and I think it’s important we keep up.

SHANNON STEWART

Our city is a vibrant and active community with many opportunities to engage in healthy activities for work and play. Despite this, I feel that the existing bike lane structure was poorly planned and negatively impacted residents and business owners. In addition, it did not fully explore options to partner with other groups and organizations to better meet our community's needs. We can take the current efforts and look at restructuring them. I would like to maximize the recent financial investment and reduce the barriers that accompany the present system.

LARRY SCHWARZENBERGER

I support active transportation in the community. Penticton has a wonderful network of pathways, hike & bike trails, etc that encourage people to get outdoors and be active. I feel that the design of the current bike lane is problematic.  There are 30 uncontrolled turn options on this route from Lakeshore Drive to Duncan Avenue. Turning across the bike lanes, with bikes travelling North & South simultaneously, can create a dangerous situation. Upgrading the South Main to Government bike lane would have been a better option in my opinion.

DAVINDER SANDHU

I do not support the current council’s decision to build the lake-to-lake bike route because it is doing more harm than good, businesses in downtown not only lost already scarce parking but making it less convenient for their customers.  I personally like to see bike route and lanes in the city but only after engaging public in consultation process just like Canadian Horizons 1050 Spiller Rd. development proposal.

KATIE ROBINSON

Absolutely. After an almost 2 year public engagement, the majority of people agreed this was a good project. It adheres to both our Climate Action Plan as well as our Transportation Master Plan. It is a giant step towards addressing our climate crisis by reducing our carbon footprint & it promotes a fast convenient mode of affordable transportation for all ages and abilities, especially since the advent of e-bikes. Not to mention the benefits of a healthier community!

FRANK REGEHR

While procurement and implementation have presented issues that should be addressed, I support Council’s decision to build safe, protected bike lanes, based on community input during the OCP process, as well as public engagement conducted by the City.  Transportation hierarchy in cities is changing in favor of pedestrians, cycling and transit, with cars no longer at the top of the pyramid. The decision also recognizes and responds to increasingly well-documented climate change and quality of life concerns. Many comments about the bike lane project observe insignificant usage.  I expect in part due to a project only 1/3 built.

KATIE O’KELL

While I understand City Council’s vision with the bike lanes, the execution was lacking. The bike lanes should be in our back alleys. We could have reclaimed an under-used area of the city without impeding on parking spots or traffic flow. Moving forwards, I think it would be foolish to halt the bike lanes. 75% of a lake to lake bike lane is relatively useless. However in our immediate future I think there are better things for the City to spend money on. I feel that we should pause and re-assess before moving forwards.

JAMES MILLER

I was not on council when the project was approved but I did vote against the second stage, not because I don't see the benefits (physical and mental health, the environment, parking), but because of the timing. Penticton presently has a crime and opioid crisis and that needs to be the financial priority. The bike-lane plans are there for a more opportune time.

WAYNE LLEWELLYN

Bicycle routes are a trademark of progressive cities that requires balancing dedicated bicycle lanes with bicycle routes.  As a cyclist, I’ve ridden in many major North American cities. The extensive consultation process undertaken for Penticton’s route was great.  However, the consultation and engagement processes should have kept going through a series of other actions including providing an on the ground, physical ‘mock up’ of what they would look like in terms of traffic changes, to measure the impact on businesses and to help the public understand the full costs of various options before the money was spent.

HELENA KONANZ

I do support bike lanes in certain locations and believe we should encourage people to cycle as much as possible. But the lake-to-lake bike lane as it stands today has some serious issues that need to be addressed immediately. First, the project should not have been paid for through the electrical reserves. Second, the pinch point at Martin and Westminster Streets needs to be revamped, as the traffic congestion there created chaos these last few months. Finally, the signage along the route is absolute overkill and confusion and must be completely redone.

NICK KRUGER

Did not respond.

ANDREW JAKUBEIT

I like the concept of a protected bike lane and promoting cycling as Penticton is a very walkable and cycling friendly community; however not the current plan.  Council should have the used the cycling grant money to resurface the scenic KVR trail from Penticton to Summerland and along the channel Parkway.  This would have aligned with the valley wide "Rails to Trails" initiative, created a destination for cycling enthusiasts, provided a safe environment for people to get comfortable riding, and would have been an excellent partnership opportunity with the Penticton Indian Band.

LINDSEY HALL

I have spoken with many, many citizens about this. Based on their overwhelming responses about cost, safety, loss of parking, obstruction , I do not support the lake-to-lake bike route and would call for a stop to it’s construction within the terms of the contracts signed.

RYAN GRAHAM

I don't support that kind of spending coming out of a global pandemic! this community has far more important things where that allocation of that kind of investment could have been put towards... infrastructure, mental health, and addiction resources, Hiring more RCMP & Firefighters. Now as a father I think it's very cool and very forward thinking that we have a bike lane, but do I believe that kind of investment coming out of a pandemic with all the social issues, infrastructure, housing, crime going on in our community have been spent better 100%

ISAAC GILBERT

I support the decision to build the lake-to-lake bike route because it makes the city safer, accessible, and affordable. The bike route provides safety and convenience for cyclists, mobility scooters, and wheelchairs to travel from one end of town to another. It allows people who do not have driver licenses, including children and teens, to travel independently and access the city. Vehicle dependency is reduced when families can access the services they need through alternative methods. It will serve to improve our city the bigger it gets. It needs improvements, but it is a good start which our city needed.

AMELIA BOULTBEE

I did not support the bike lanes being built for the cost and at the time it was built. Bike lanes are a great idea in principle but the cost was too much to incur during a time our city was struggling, especially for our downtown businesses. There should have been a referendum on the issue and council should not have used 4.7 million from the electrical reserve funds to build the bike lane. We should finish the last portion of the route, but if I am elected I will ensure there is an audit of the bike lanes