In the six years he was editor of The Times Review Aaron Orlando learned a lot about what makes Revelstoke tick, and what is making it ill. Now the 41-year-old is seeking a seat at the Council table to see if he can help build a better and more balanced future for the community.
“As a Councillor, I want to be a voice for balanced decision making that takes into account the diverse interests that exist in this community,” he said. “I sense a momentum shift at council and strongly support a new emphasis on economic revival, but we need balance in any new policy directions.”
Like some other people who have decided to run for Council Aaron is certain that Revelstoke needs a sensible economic development plan and a strategy for attracting and retaining new permanent residents.
“Our numbers are down somewhat… but it’s an issue we are always going to have to work on,” he said in an interview at Conversations on Saturday.
The Vancouver native has specific thoughts about population retention that he plans to unveil as the campaign gets underway when nominations close on October 10, but he said it is an issue everyone has to work on. Housing options, more affordable housing and economic growth can all dovetail to improve out community’s ability to attract and retain new residents.
He thinks that Development Cost Charges and so-called cost-recovery measures may need to be reviewed and “reduced in a targeted way” in order to encourage new real estate construction.
“The key thing I’d like to emphasize is that these aren’t big government initiatives, these aren’t things that require a lot of staff time to… make some adjustments,” he said.
In his discussions with local residents Orlando has heard “again and again and again that it is extremely difficult and not a friendly process to start a new business or develop a property.”
The City needs to explore what is causing that particular perception and, perhaps, “put more resources into the Development Services Department.
In order to make effective decision Council needs better information.
“How long does it take, for instance, to get a building inspection? If I called tomorrow how long would that take? How long is it before the average construction project is filed with the City and closed with the City? How long do these things take? If we ask staff to track some of these things we might be able to get to the bottom of these issues.”
Orlando noted that he has begun hearing from people that there have been improvements in service. Not everyone is saying that, but some people are. Is this a sign that the City Hall culture is actually changing?
Perhaps, but a couple of things are certain: this campaign is going to be heavily focused on the economy and vision for the community. Orlando regards this as a dialogue the community needs to participate in but whoever winds up on Council needs to ensure that their perspective is balanced.
With the campaign for City Council just beginning it’s refreshing to speak with a well-informed and articulate candidate. It will be interesting to see what else Aaron Orlando has to say in the days ahead.
Aaron plans on using social media in his campaign. You can participate via his Facebook page: Aaron Orlando for Revelstoke City Council, located https://www.facebook.com/Aaron.Orlando.Revelstoke.Council.