Meet Williams Lake city council candidate: Jodie Capling

CANDIDATE: Q&A

Jodie Capling is the youngest candidate running for Williams Lake city council. At 35, Capling describes herself as a voice for environmentalists, and added she hopes to add more transparency and public consultation in decision-making by city council.

What is the solution to Williams Lake’s current housing and rental shortage?

There isn’t a single solution to this problem, but there are definitely ways we can improve the situation. The City could make use of inclusionary zoning, which could mandate developers to include 30 per cent, 50 per cent, etc. of units in new developments to be family-friendly and affordable. We could zone for increased density in single-family neighborhoods to allow more town houses, increasing transit and pedestrian/bike trails to help with increased traffic. Other innovative projects that we could look into emulating are the Montreal Grow Houses and Self-Builds in the Netherlands.

This issue is not unique to Williams Lake; the majority of B.C. is facing similar issues. I would like to see Williams Lake be innovative and also try to get involved in pilot projects or housing initiatives the provincial or federal governments may propose in response to this growing crisis.

What are your thoughts on the proposal to burn rail ties at Atlantic Power?

I have some very serious concerns about burning railroad ties at Atlantic Power. These are some of my concerns and it is by no means an exhaustive or complete list.

• The actual burning of the ties and whether the correct temperatures and proper scrubbers can be maintained in good working condition.

• The storage of the ties before they are burnt and the storage of the ash after the burning process. My concerns here are about smells and air quality. I’m also concerned about leaching or slippage and the possible danger to Williams Lake River, which is a salmon bearing stream and a tributary of the Fraser River.

• There is also the process of grinding the ties before they’re burnt and I would be concerned about possible air-quality issues.

• Another big concern of mine is the amount of water that Atlantic Power uses from our aquifer.

• The reputation of our town is of concern and how it could be compromised. If I were looking for a community to raise a family in or if I were a retiree and looking for a community to live in, I doubt a town that burns rail ties would be my first choice.

What measures by council do you think would help diversify and strengthen the local economy?

This is an area that I would need to learn more about. I think the revitalization of the downtown core might be a good place to start.

With the change in climate and increasing threat of wildfires, what strategies would you support to make the community safer and more resilient?

I think the completion of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan for Williams Lake and surrounding areas is a great step towards increasing our community’s safety and resiliency. I feel that ensuring the plan is actually implemented is the most important step for fire safety in our community. Establishing a good working relationship with the Forest Enhancement Society (FES BC) and the new Community Resiliency Investment Program (CRI) will be essential to obtaining the funding necessary to implement the plan in and around Williams Lake.

An interesting development related to this is a movement towards holding fossil fuel companies financially accountable for the costs of adapting to and recovering from climate change impacts. If this is something that Williams Lake residents are interested in, I would like to add Williams Lake to the BC Municipalities that are pursuing corporate climate justice. This is a way we can explore how to recover a share of local climate costs.

Considering we always rank in the top 10 for crime severity, do you think Williams Lake is a safe place to live for everyone?

Based on the ranking it would appear that there is room for improvement in lowering crime in Williams Lake. I think the RCMP are doing their best in a very tough job and if I were elected, I would want to work with them, and other stakeholders, to hear their ideas about lowering crime.

What would you do to protect and/or enhance the city’s air quality?

The previous Williams Lake Airshed Management Plan expired in 2016 and I would support updating the plan. The city’s planning department can have a large impact on air quality based on the permits it issues, zoning etc., so I would like to see the city planners involved in the new plan and following best practices for air quality management.

What ideas do you have for the proposed trail and amenities on the RC Cotton Site that would preserve Scout Island as a nature sanctuary and wildlife viewing area while giving residents more access to the lake?

The current council has worked very hard to get access to more lakefront for the community, which is wonderful! I would like to see trails along the lakeshore that connect to the River Valley Trail and eventually to Scout Island. Good access to lakeshore and water recreation, with minimal impact on the ecosystem is a balance that I would like to see in the development of this area. Washroom and changing facilities, as well as adequate parking will enhance the lakeshore experience for our community. I believe that any development in the area must be assessed for environmental impacts (including increased boat traffic), and in particular, for impacts on bird habitat.


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