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Affordable housing a major plank in Ritcey’s run for Kamloops council

Jesse Ritcey is the latest to announce that he is seeking a seat on city council in the Oct. 15 civic election

Jesse Ritcey is running for city council in the Oct. 15 civic election, leaning on housing, safety and kindness as the pillars of his campaign, which he launched on Wednesday (Aug. 24) in Peterson Creek Park.

Ritcey is an active community member involved in the Kamloops Naturalist Club and the Kamloops Food Policy Council, for which he serves as president.

He is also a Kamloops Pride board member and said, if elected, he would serve as the first openly gay city councillor.

Although he initially considered volunteering for other council candidates, Ritcey ultimately set his sights on a council seat for himself.

"After closely watching decisions the current council has made over the past four years, I believe that some perspectives are being missed. Some voices aren't being heard," he said in front of friends, volunteers and media at his campaign launch.

One of those missing voices is that of a renter like himself Ritcey said.

“Traditionally, we've elected property owners, some people with multiple properties. I believe this is one of the reasons why the importance of sufficient affordable housing stock and the cost of rent don't get talked about enough," he said.

Ritcey took issue with the 10-year tax exemption issued by the city to redevelop hotels and motels along Columbia Street and with the city's purchase and subsequent emptying of the Northbridge Hotel, which Ritcey called a renoviction.

He said those moves did not adequately consider the importance of maintaining affordable housing.

"I fear they will push families into homelessness, worsening many of the social crises we're already experiencing," he said.

Ritcey is looking to keep housing affordable across the board, noting he favours a housing-first response to homelessness.

"We can do things like build more units with cheaper rents if we use zoning powers to relax density and parking restrictions on all projects along transit routes," he said.

On crime, social issues and safety, Ritcey acknowledged that anger is boiling over for some in the community. But, he added, being angry is not a solution.

"Some of the rhetoric we've seen and heard on the issues is irresponsible, or even dangerous,” he said. “There are tragic examples in Kamloops and elsewhere of what happens when we fail to recognize the value of every person living in our community.”

Ritcey said crime will need to be addressed, but argued the approach should be thoughtful and informed by social science.

Having followed council by reading agendas and attending public hearings, council meetings and committee meetings, Ritcey said he is already familiar with how the system works and the limitations of his role, should he be elected.

For further information and to contact Ritcey, go online to ritceyforcouncil.ca, email jesse@ritceyforcouncil.ca or find his page, Elect Jesse Ritcey, on Facebook.

Who is seeking office?

As of Aug. 24, by KTW’s count, the following people have declared an intention to run for either mayor or council in the Oct. 15 civic election:

Mayoral candidates:

Ray Dhaliwal

Dieter Dudy

Reid Hamer-Jackson

Sadie Hunter

Arjun Singh

Councillor candidates:

Dale Bass

Nancy Bepple

Corally Delwo

Dennis Giesbrecht

Kelly Hall

Caroline King

Darrel LaRiviere

Scott McDonnell

Margot Middleton

Daphane Nelson

Katie Neustaeter

Mike O’Reilly

Shantel Renner

Jesse Ritcey

Bill Sarai

Darpan Sharma

Randy Sunderman

SD73 board of education Kamloops candidates:

Heather Grieve

Jo Kang

Kathleen Karpuk

Darrel LaRiviere (he plans to run for both council and school board)

John O’Fee

Others seeking office can contact KTW by email at editor@kamloopsthisweek.com. The deadline to file nomination papers is 4 p.m. Sept. 9. Deadline to revoke one’s candidacy is 4 p.m. on Sept. 16.

Are you eligible to run for office?

To be eligible to run for office you must:

• be 18 years of age or older on general voting day;

• be a Canadian citizen;

• have been a resident of British Columbia for at least six months immediately before filing nomination documents;

• not be disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment from voting in an election in B.C. or from being nominated for, being elected to or holding the office, or be otherwise disqualified by law;

• collect the signatures of 10 people who are eligible to vote on Oct. 15.