Local addictions specialist announces bid for Vernon mayor | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Local addictions specialist announces bid for Vernon mayor

FILE PHOTO - Darrin Taylor speaks at a town hall meeting hosted by the Activate Safety Task Force on April 5, 2018.
August 22, 2018 - 8:13 AM

VERNON - Darrin Taylor wants to be the next mayor of Vernon.

The certified addictions specialist and chair of Vernon’s Activate Safety Task Force announced his intention to run this morning, Wednesday, Aug. 22, after weeks of consideration.

In a news release, Taylor says he has been urged to run by citizens, business owners and members of council. He says he’s got a strong team of supporters from all walks of life, including women, seniors and community leaders. With their input he has identified issues ranging from attainable housing to public safety, and has developed strategies to address them, he states in the release.

"The new challenges that face us as a city require someone able to have open, honest conversations and make decisions that are sometimes difficult," Taylor says. "We simply haven't had that kind of leadership over the past few years. People who are familiar with the nature of the work I do have asked me to bring that skill set forward as mayor.”

Taylor currently owns Axis Intervention Services. His work as an interventionist requires him to face problems head on and produce remedies that work, the release says. His practice involves bringing together parties in conflict, having difficult conversations, and finding solutions that benefit everyone. He is widely known to bring both unwavering compassion and a sense of humour to an intensely challenging profession, according to the release.

If elected, Taylor says he will step away from his practice in order to put all his energy into “making Vernon the best that it can be.”

Taylor is currently Chair of the Committee for Development and Economic Sustainability at the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, and was recently Chair of the City of Vernon's Activate Safety Task Force. His public service has included Chair of School District 22's District Parental Advisory Committee, Vice President of the Downtown Vernon Association, and Volunteer Firefighter for Silver Star and Okanagan Landing. He is also active at his church and his children's school and is a volunteer boat captain at the Okanagan Quality Life Society, according to the release.

"Vernon has so much incredible potential," Taylor says. ”But without strong leadership we're simply not realizing it. Given the present slate of serious mayoral candidates, the decision for the citizens of Vernon really boils down to a choice between more of the same or positive change.”

Taylor says the City is on the right track on some issues, like infrastructure replacement.

"For years successive Councils and administrators simply let our pipes and wires degrade to the point that we were in a crisis. Largely due to the efforts of the present city chief administrative officer, the crisis was addressed two terms ago, and in a few more years of sustained effort our infrastructure will be renewed for another half century.”

However, other issues have been left unaddressed by council, Taylor says.

"One thing that's become clear to me over the course of meeting with and talking to people in Vernon is the degree of frustration felt by the public at increasing crime and what they see as the ongoing degradation of the city," Taylor says. "You don't have to look any further than social media to see the frustration in the City's failure to recognize and acknowledge the problem, let alone take action to solve it.”

But the larger issue, Taylor says, is what type of community Vernon residents want to live in.

“Are we willing to throw up our hands and say we can't do anything about needles, litter, and increasing crime? I think we have to do better,” he says.

Taylor says in the release that both affordable and attainable housing are important issues, and to the extent that municipalities can improve the situation, he plans to do what he can by continuing municipal development incentives for attainable housing and lobbying upper levels of government for more help.

"But that's not enough. If we want to attract young families, both professionals and tradespeople, we need to make Vernon a desirable place to live. That means building affordable recreation facilities as well as holding tax increases to affordable levels, and cutting utility bills, like water. It also means streamlining regulations and cutting red tape to attract good paying jobs and investment in our community. And of course it means making Vernon a safe, clean place to live.”

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Taylor spent much of his childhood in the Toronto area, and moved to Vernon in 1993. He is an avid skier and a “diehard hockey fan.”

“I chose to come to Vernon 25 years ago, and Vernon has provided my wife and I a great life," Taylor says. "As the father of school-aged children, I believe we have an obligation to pass on a thriving community to the next generation. I think we can do better.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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