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Kamloops council candidate suggests Uber to help seniors struggling with transportation

Kamloops municipal candidates participate in an all candidates forum on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at the Desert Gardens Seniors Community Centre.
October 15, 2018 - 5:27 PM

KAMLOOPS - Making the city more accessible for seniors and those with mobility issues was one of many hot topics at the Downtown Kamloops Seniors' Election Forum today.

All but three candidates — Chris Bose, Shawn Harnett and incumbent Ray Dhaliwal — showed up to the all candidates forum today, Oct. 15, at the Desert Gardens Seniors Community Centre.

The candidates for mayor and council were asked a variety of questions ranging from transportation issues, accessibility in the downtown core as well as how to improve snow removal services throughout the city.

On the topic of transportation for seniors, councillor candidate Dennis Giesbrecht brought up the idea of bringing Uber to Kamloops although the mobile app ride service is currently not available anywhere in B.C.

"I travel quite a bit and I've used Uber in other cities and it's fairly convenient," Giesbrecht says. "We already have Skip The Dishes, so if we are already doing the same thing for food, why can't we do it for people? I don't understand."

Giesbrecht, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2017 byelection, is now seeking one of two open councillor seats. He says the mobile app would help improve services to seniors who rely on taxis or the bus.

Councillor candidate Mike O'Reilly has a different idea for helping seniors get around saying there's a lot of pressure on the public transportation system.

"Seniors have to go places, they have to get to services... however their modes of transportation are so limited, so instead of forcing people to go to their services they can have their services come to them.

That might look like loosening zoning bylaws to speed the process of new businesses looking to set up shop in Kamloops, O'Reilly says.

"Putting in businesses that a senior might use like pharmacies, doctor offices, a little grocery store located near (seniors)," he says.

The candidates were also asked about their plans for improving snow removal services.

Incumbent councillor Donovan Cavers, who is also running for school board trustee in Kamloops, says he would look at expanding the city's operating budget for snow removal to better improve services.

"I raised a motion a year and a half ago and that was to increase the operating budget," Cavers says. "Right now Prince George has $7.6 million for their operating budget for snow removal and Kelowna's is $1.6 million, (Kamloops) is also $1.6 million but our climate is not exactly like Kelowna... so I think it should be a little bit higher."

Cavers also encouraged residents at the forum to call bylaw services when sidewalks in front of private properties are not being plowed.

"If people are not plowing than people need to call bylaw and let bylaw know so we can get forced into good habits early in the snow season," Cavers says.

To keep up to date with the Kamloops municipal election go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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