SUNNY WAYS. Collins Dictionary defines it as “an upbeat and conciliatory political approach”.
That just about sums up the City of Kamloops 2019 annual report that came out a couple of weeks ago and was approved by Council this week. Our city has never looked better. The 112-page report presents page after page of glowing reports on the City’s performance, matched with photos of Kamloops’ many stunning vistas. There’s no trouble in paradise, at least according to the report.
For example, the annual report lists the number of hours (2,302) provided to the City by auxiliary police. No mention in the report though that throughout the province, an ongoing dispute between the RCMP and Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General has seen the numbers of hours plummet (in Kelowna hours dropped from 11,000 in 2018 to 2,067 hours in 2019). That’s a big difference in the number of hours. But sunny ways means only the 2,302 hours is given in Kamloops’ report.
The report lists 134 tournament capital events (up 25 per cent from 2018). Great for the individual tournament, such as the FireFit Regional Championships, or the BC Athletics Jamboree. But every tournament causes a venue shutdown to regular users.
What about the listing of hours that swimming pools, indoor track, and public skating were closed to the public because of the tournament events? How can City Council balance the needs of individual users with the venue usages of large tournaments without this type of information. Sunny ways.
The report on IT services talks about the 900 users of their system, 350 servers and 70 corporate applications. No mention of denial of service attacks, risk of ransom wares or cyberattacks. Cities across the country, from Cranbrook to Stratford to Toronto have been attacked. But Kamloops’ report makes no mention of threats. Sunny ways. When the City’s IT department comes hat in hand asking for more money to protect citizens’ data, will council understand the current and future threats?
What we don’t say is as important as what we do say.
In 2019, the BC Coroners Service reported 26 deaths from opioid overdoses in Kamloops. This year, already, there have been 25 opioid deaths in our city, and since 2010, there have been 218. No wonder Dr. Bonnie Henry continues to talk about the opioid crisis in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Hard to believe, there is no mention of the ongoing opioid crisis in the City of Kamloops annual report. Sunny ways.
Kudos to the City for having a page of the report dedicated to strategies to ending homelessness. On another page of the report, the report states that housing assessments were up 7% in 2019, with an average value per home now $461,000.
Homelessness and housing affordability are strongly linked, but in the City’s report there is no link made between the two. Sunny ways that housing prices are going up but no mention of the downside of low-income citizens squeezed out at the bottom of the housing market.
The City of Kamloops annual report is great to flip through to spur pride in where we live. There are many amazing initiatives happening. The city is growing and flourishing. The photos in the report show the spectacular beauty we call home.
But if you’re looking for meaningful discussion on the challenges the City is facing, from policing to housing to addictions to cyber threats to over-demand for sports facilities, you won’t find it in the City of Kamloops annual report.
Sunny ways indeed.
Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.