Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

richardtaylor1973
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Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by richardtaylor1973 »

While in the audience for Thursday's forum (hosted by Kelowna Gospel Mission at Habitat) I was very surprised by one of Mayor Shepherd's statements.

While referencing her last term as Mayor she stated that she had "Presided over economic growth in the City, in the face of a global recession".

Having studied Economics at the University of London, I have a pretty good idea what 'economic growth' means and how it is measured.

This definition from Investopedia says it well: "The growth of an economy is thought of not only as an increase in productive capacity but also as an improvement in the quality of life to the people of that economy."

Normally at a national/provincial level this would mean an increase in GDP. That is a little tricky to pin down for a City. So we tend to look to other indicators.

Indicators that would seem to be most relevant at city level would be:

    Net migration rate: is it increasing or slowing down.
    Average household income in real terms (i.e. after cost of living adjustments).
    Unemployment rate.
    Housing starts.
    Business licenses issued.

Looking at available empirical evidence, be it quantitative or qualitative, it would appear that Mayor Shepherd told the audience at Thursday's forum an outright lie.

    Since 2008, net migration has HALVED
    Average income in real terms appears to have dropped (exact stats are varied & not entirely up-to-date)
    Unemployment rate has DOUBLED
    Housing starts have tanked
    Business licenses have slowed down

On Thursday, I requested that the Mayor provide some sort of explanation or statistical support for this statement. No response so far.

Do any of her supporters that may be reading this have any clue what she is talking about? If so, I'd like to be enlightened.

If not, perhaps you should re-consider your support for a candidate that appears to be broadcasting a rather massive untruth.

Richard Taylor | Twitter: @rtaylor
Last edited by richardtaylor1973 on Oct 27th, 2011, 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Logitack
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by Logitack »

richardtaylor1973 wrote:While in the audience for Thursday's forum (hosted by Kelowna Gospel Mission at Habitat) I was very surprised by one of Mayor Shepherd's statements.

While referencing 'her achievements' (not 'those of council' - 'hers') during her last term as Mayor she stated that she had "Presided over economic growth in the City, in the face of a global recession".

Looking at available empirical evidence, be it quantitative or qualitative, it would appear that Mayor Shepherd told the audience at Thursday's forum an outright lie.

    Since 2008, net migration has HALVED
    Average income in real terms appears to have dropped (exact stats are varied & not entirely up-to-date)
    Unemployment rate has DOUBLED
    Housing starts have tanked
    Business licenses have slowed down


please provide sources for your conclusions given above. thanks.
richardtaylor1973
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by richardtaylor1973 »

please provide sources for your conclusions given above. thanks.


The 'quantitative evidence out there' that I refer to includes reports from the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, The City of Kelowna, CMHC (including reports on CMHC stats issued by local realtors), Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, CBD Network & BC Stats as well as various reports in the more reputable local media.

Examples:
http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/stories.php?id=339705 http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/44887/Okanagan-unemployment-rate-rises http://www.investkelowna.com/resources.html
[url]http://www.bclocalnews.com/okanagan_similkameen/kelownacapitalnews/business/125374788.html
[/url]
[url]http://www.century21.ca/assurancerealty/Blog/Housing_starts_set_new_record_for_Kelowna_BC_in_2007
[/url]

The qualitative includes my own observations as a member of the business community as well as feedback from various city, regional district and non-profit sector officials.

What, I can't find (and what I'm challenging her or he supporters to show) is anything that indicates any truth in the mayor's statement.
richardtaylor1973
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by richardtaylor1973 »

[Our Mayor (and her team) are apparently so uncomfortable with addressing this that they removed my post (with the same question) from her Facebook page.]

CORRECTION. It's there - just rather hidden away.
Last edited by richardtaylor1973 on Oct 23rd, 2011, 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
thehansenbrothers
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by thehansenbrothers »

Sheppard and council took Kelowna thru the biggest recession of current time. And in my opinion, faired wery well considering.

Gray and coucil lived thru they HAY day....faired well.

Considering the two distinct economic eviroments, I would say Sheppard excelled.

Did Gray not just bail on his businesses the mintue the going got tough? I for one do not believe anything in thier (K963) story about old shareholders. If Walter is young enough for mayor, why did he run away from his business in bad times.

WHen the going got tough, the tought sold out.
wilde
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by wilde »

Richard...Very good points you make and I am sure you will not get any rational response.
I suggest the most tragic issue is that public trust in our city administration has collapsed in many areas.
The folks were I live do not believe that the city administration even knows or cares that we exist.

Many of us old geezers understand the need for a balance between development and continuity in planning,
but the Mayor appears to want to paint anyone who wants effective and efficient growth as bad people.

While some cities commit to development approval or rejection in 8 months, Mrs Dithers and her clan can take 4 years or more.
Good thing I'm old and retired because I won't be around long enough to see it end!
richardtaylor1973
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by richardtaylor1973 »

thehansenbrothers wrote:Sheppard and council took Kelowna thru the biggest recession of current time. And in my opinion, faired wery well considering.


That may be the case. But if by 'fairing well during a recession' (to paraphrase) you mean Kelowna experienced a lower than average decline' - that isn't 'economic growth'.

It seemed misleading & dishonest from our Mayor. Her statement was that she "Presided over economic growth in the City, in the face of a global recession" (and I'm quoting as directly as I can without a recording).

Generally I've not thought of Mayor Shepherd as dishonest. Just that her judgement & leadership is lacking. Hence I was surprised by this statement.

If it were in any way true, I'm sure all on council as well as the City, the Regional District and especially the Economic Development Commission would be shouting it from the roof tops.

But it's not. It's BS.
richardtaylor1973
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by richardtaylor1973 »

wilde wrote:I suggest the most tragic issue is that public trust in our city administration has collapsed in many areas.


If not THE most tragic, certainly ONE of the most. The human costs can't be ignored - increased unemployment and families being torn apart due to family members having to go elsewhere for work.

Personally I wouldn't be able to vote for Mr Gray either due to his mixing of religion & politics and issues with the B.C. Human Rights Commission.

But one of them will be in. I just hope there is enough change on council (four or five) to get us moving forward again.
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by grammafreddy »

wilde wrote:Richard...Very good points you make and I am sure you will not get any rational response.
I suggest the most tragic issue is that public trust in our city administration has collapsed in many areas.
The folks were I live do not believe that the city administration even knows or cares that we exist.

Many of us old geezers understand the need for a balance between development and continuity in planning,
but the Mayor appears to want to paint anyone who wants effective and efficient growth as bad people.

While some cities commit to development approval or rejection in 8 months, Mrs Dithers and her clan can take 4 years or more.
Good thing I'm old and retired because I won't be around long enough to see it end!


I think there's a huge difference between effective and efficient growth and selling out the year-round people and the public lakeshore to the developers who only want the lakeshore to build their mega projects on and f the rest of anything or anyone.

What industries - long term and sustainable - did Gray bring to Kelowna? Other than construction jobs in the real estate boom years, what else did he attract and what is still here providing decent jobs for folks? Sure, he sold us all out so his buddies in law, real estate and rich condo property developers on the lake could make their bucks, but what's left from his reign?

I don't think any municipality in BC is thriving right now - and that it is wrong to blame a council for lack of jobs when the economy tanks and new industries are not happening anywhere much across North America. But when a council has been part of the boom times and hasn't used that advantage to attract sustainable jobs then, well, that's kinda saying Gray and his henchmen on council (and on city hall staff) are kinda a bunch of duds - one-horse pony shows.
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richardtaylor1973
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by richardtaylor1973 »

Would really appreciate this thread staying on topic and not turning in to a Gray v Shepherd debate.

The question I'd like to get to the root of is this:

In what way has Kelowna experienced economic growth since 2008?

If the answer to that question is none, then it should be noted that our Mayor lied to a public forum on Thursday.
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by EdCase »

Kelowna's economic stagnation has been around a long time and has its roots in a local economy based strictly on real estate speculation and low value-added commercial enterprises. Walter Gray certainly did nothing to change this as this is the only business environment he understands and feels comfortable with. Economic development activities aimed at growing and attracting technology-based businesses were starved for funds and our youth have had no choice but to leave for greener pastures.

Mayor Shepherd inherited this situation together with a deteriorating economy. Could she have done more? Probably, but she has been hobbled by councillors like Blanleil, James and Hobson who want no part of a vibrant, diverse community.
F23
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by F23 »

Dear Richard- this is Sharon's response as posted on her facebook page- you are also welcome to contact her directly through her website for futher clarification, other questions, etc. at sharonshepherd.ca.


In the forum this is one sentence of what I stated:

"The city has become a leader in sustainability, improved transit, expansion of multi-use pathways and park space, social housing and achieving economic growth in the midst of a global recession."

Achieving economic growth means that growth continues in our community. The 2010 development statistics presented to council in June 2011 absolutely show that residential development is down. There is definitely improvement from 2009 to 2010. In fact, I am very aware that a number of multifamily developments have been put on hold because there are too many units presently for sale through the real estate market. However, growth is still occurring in other sectors including industrial and institutional development which had the most square feet added in 10 years in 2009. Building permits in 2010 valued $357,726,126. In 2010 because of partnerships with other levels of government and stimulus money made available there were over $200 Million of new infrastructure including road resurfacing, sidewalk construction, Dayton overpass, and RapidBus transit system, park improvements all construction projects adding to the economy.

The Economic Development Commission (EDC) reported to council just this past week and they stated that our population growth is up, the labour force is up, unemployment rate is down, tourism room revenue is up, no change in business bankruptcies, consumer bankruptcies are down and yes building permits and business licences are down. In fact if you read A5 of The Daily Courier on October 18th the article mentions this council presentation and states: "Key indicators suggest Kelowna economy is weathering the economic downturn better than most places in North America..."

The YLW airport continues to generate significant economic impact in BC and in describing economic impact it is described as "a measure of the spending and employment associated with a sector of the economy, a specific project, or a change in government policy or regulation. " Three types of economic impacts are measured which include direct, indirect or induced. I view the economic impact as significant as we are still maintaining our status as 10 busiest in the country with plans continuing for accomodating 1.6 Million passengers.

Finally, just announced recently Kelowna achieved 13th in Canada and number 1 in BC as a top entrepreneurial city. Certainly the goal would be to work towards being in the top 10 and recent entrepreneurial workshops are engaging the community.
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grammafreddy
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by grammafreddy »

richardtaylor1973 wrote:Would really appreciate this thread staying on topic and not turning in to a Gray v Shepherd debate.

The question I'd like to get to the root of is this:

In what way has Kelowna experienced economic growth since 2008?

If the answer to that question is none, then it should be noted that our Mayor lied to a public forum on Thursday.


Staying on topic ... did she say increased growth or just growth? According to the real estate stats (that the RE people like to toss around) we had a drop and then we have somewhat rebounded and are now zooming right up and glory be! Things are soooo good here right now - come one, come all!

However, here in the real world where I live, we experienced a huge boom all over BC and now we have a drop in economic stability and economic growth in sectors other than RE. We boomed when the markets south of us tanked big time and some people (who know how dots connect) did predict the coming of tougher times here in the Okanagan and in BC's resource-based economy - which it did.

I don't think she lied - Kelowna has had some degree of economic growth in some sectors - and unless you want to split hairs, RE is still changing hands, folks are still buying into the local market and renos are up and new SFH construction is stable. Since they overbuilt in inferior quality condos (courtesy of you-know-who's reign) the condo market was saturated and has stagnated and there have been few new builds in that ballpark.

Major project development ( including the Aquilini's "24" project on Bernard and at least 6 others I know about) have asked council not to go ahead with their final approval vote because they have not pre-sold enough units and, if council had voted on their approval (which council was going to do), they would have been legally forced to proceed with the actual construction of their buildings.

People and families came from other places to make their fortunes in Kelowna's boom times in construction following the OM fire in 2003 when over 200 homes were needed immediately - which created a massive local shortage of labour and materials [laws of supply and demand kicked in here] and other related industries (like home decor stores, plumbing and electrical and concrete businesses, lighting and fixture suppliers, etc). A lot of these people and businesses have been hurt but that's what happens in "boom and bust" times. That's why they call it that.

That's the trouble with boom times - people think they will last forever - and they never do. Then they get pee'd off when they find themselves out of work or with reduced hours or income. Then they blame council for something that was never in council's control in the first place because the boom had ended but Gray was nowhere in sight to blame so they blame the current mayor. :127:

And that's the trouble with electing one-horse pony shows like Gray - he and his council and city staff should have been marketing and pandering to more than the construction-related industries and businesses for long-term stability and they did not.
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by EdCase »

richardtaylor1973 wrote:Would really appreciate this thread staying on topic and not turning in to a Gray v Shepherd debate.

The question I'd like to get to the root of is this:

In what way has Kelowna experienced economic growth since 2008?

If the answer to that question is none, then it should be noted that our Mayor lied to a public forum on Thursday.


It is highly disingenuous of you to suggest that the motive for this thread is any other than a Gray v Shepherd debate, except you would prefer the focus to be strictly on Shepherd. There has been growth in our tech sector with companies such as Club Penguin (Disney), Vineyard Networks, Vericorder and others bringing new high value jobs to Kelowna, so it is fair for the Mayor to say there has been economic growth since 2008; she did not lie. However, they and others are being hampered in their growth by their inability to attract and retain the talent they need: they will not stay in or move to what they regard as a cultural and social backwater. UBCO and OC have experienced similar problems is attracting faculty.

During Gray's tenure, Kelowna's economy was built on unbridled real estate speculation and low value-added commercial ventures: Shepherd has tried to bring more balance to the economic and social development of our city.
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Re: Mayor Shepherd & Kelowna's Economic Growth (or Decline)

Post by grammafreddy »

EdCase wrote:
richardtaylor1973 wrote:Would really appreciate this thread staying on topic and not turning in to a Gray v Shepherd debate.

The question I'd like to get to the root of is this:

In what way has Kelowna experienced economic growth since 2008?

If the answer to that question is none, then it should be noted that our Mayor lied to a public forum on Thursday.


It is highly disingenuous of you to suggest that the motive for this thread is any other than a Gray v Shepherd debate, except you would prefer the focus to be strictly on Shepherd. There has been growth in our tech sector with companies such as Club Penguin (Disney), Vineyard Networks, Vericorder and others bringing new high value jobs to Kelowna, so it is fair for the Mayor to say there has been economic growth since 2008; she did not lie. However, they and others are being hampered in their growth by their inability to attract and retain the talent they need: they will not stay in or move to what they regard as a cultural and social backwater. UBCO and OC have experienced similar problems is attracting faculty.

During Gray's tenure, Kelowna's economy was built on unbridled real estate speculation and low value-added commercial ventures: Shepherd has tried to bring more balance to the economic and social development of our city.


I agree and want to add ...

The companies that did start up here and which since have closed or moved on did so because of real estate prices and lack of workers applying for their jobs. UBCO and the health-related fields find people are not applying because RE prices are stupidly high still. Seriously ... no 2-bedroom 1930s 800 sqft house on a miniscule lot is worth over $350,000. Hell, it isn't even worth $150,000.

The call centres couldn't get employees and the safety products company had trouble, too.
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