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Finding our YIMBY. Reflections on affordability, housing and the way forward


On October 3rd we will gather for the first On Point: A Series of Upside Down Town Halls hosted in support of Imagine Kelowna. Our opening topic will be: Affordability

When: Monday October 3, 2016
Where: The Laurel Packing House, 1304 Ellis Street, Kelowna, BC
Tickets are FREE, RSVP via Eventbrite

Affordable housing dominates headlines — Is affordable housing really affordable? How do we cool the jets on a hot housing market? Residents question impact of housing project on property values.

These are all provocative questions, but how do we move beyond the headlines? How do we move from NIMBY to YIMBY?

NIMBY — Not In My Backyard — is the phenomena of citizens supporting something in principle, but when it comes to suggesting that same thing in their neighbourhood, it is met with severe opposition and push back. Let’s face it, we’ve probably all had NIMBY moments. YIMBY — Yes In My Backyard — is the opposite — it’s about determining what we can say yes to as a community in an inclusive way. Instead of saying no, let’s figure out the conditions required to embrace change and say YES.

Our starting point for the evening is to provide a greater understanding of the entire spectrum of housing. It is complex, ever changing and impacts the social and economic fabric of our community. What is our collective vision when it comes to housing in the Okanagan? We need to say yes to something. What will that be?

Please join us for a casual evening of local beer, wine, food, music, and art — where we will hear from industry experts and you — community members interested in the future of Kelowna.

Our Guest Presenters

Ashley Ramsay

Urban-Systems-Ashley-RamsayBefore growing Yeti Farm Creative from one permanent employee to nearly fifty, in one short year, Ashley had spent over a decade as a producer for a long list of children’s animated properties. She has, played an instrumental role in developing the animation industry as it is today, in the Okanagan region, through her positions as Officer at the Okanagan Film Commission and Community Manager with Accelerate Okanagan, BC’s top tech start-up accelerator.


Latif Kacuri

Urban-Systems-LatifLatif is a Labour and Employment Specialist and settlement worker with Kelowna Community Resources Immigrant Services. In Kosovo, he worked as a senior inspector in a research institute. In 1999 the war forced him to flee to Macedonia. In 1999 he came to Canada as a refugee. He first settled in Nova Scotia before making his way west to Kelowna.


Laurence East

Urban-Systems-laurence-eastLaurence grew up in a village in India and moved to the Middle East and Europe as a teenager. A product of boarding school, Laurence found adventure in China, Tibet, India and all over South America, but managed to pick up postgraduate degrees from the University of London and Harvard along the way. Today he calls the Metro Community home; a street level church in Kelowna, where he serves as lead Pastor.

Laurence’s passion for justice issues led to the launch of Child of Mine and East Meets West Orphans Foundation, two organizations that care for children and the alleviation of poverty in the developing world. Along with his
wife Sarah and their three multi-culturally confused kids, they have been a part of the Metro Community from its inception.

Today Metro serves as the home of the street community in Kelowna, and has birthed a handful of social enterprise endeavours, benefitting the low-income community and helping prepare people to step out of the welfare trap and back into employment.

As part of the founding group of ‘Changemakers’, Laurence enjoys gathering and resourcing social innovators and entrepreneurs, here in the Okanagan. He also sits on the Board of Panahpur, in the UK, the advisory panel for social finance and innovation to the British Government and the G8 Global Summit, most recently responsible for the launch of the Social Capital Stock Exchange in London.

Randal Shier

Urban-Systems-Randal-ShierRandall is currently the President of Mission Group Homes where he oversees the securing of investment, design and planning, development, sales and marketing of residential communities in Metro Vancouver and the Okanagan, BC. Prior to joining Mission Group Homes as a partner in 2004,Randall was a leader in several prominent Vancouver development companies. Among his many career accomplishments are building over 2,500 multi-family homes and several major commercial projects. Randall earned a degree in architecture from the University of Southern California. After graduation in 1982, he moved to Vancouver and three years later became a registered architect. In 1986 he left architecture and began his development career.

Randall serves on the boards of the Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation and the Urban Development Institute

*This event us part one of a series of four FREE events entitled On Point: A Series of Upside Down Town Halls. It is brought to you by Urban Systems Ltd. and in support of the City of Kelowna’s community-centred initiative, Imagine Kelowna.


Imagine Kelowna is about our future. It is our collective vision for our community.

How can we move from vision to reality when shaping the very city we work and play in? Mayor, Council and City staff will do their part – they will use our vision to inform investments, efforts and decisions within our community. Awesome. That’s one piece of the puzzle. But we, as community members, have a part to play as well.

On Point: A Series of Upside Down Town Halls is your invitation to participate in building the future of Kelowna through four evenings of open dialog amongst community members. Together, we will discuss relevant topics and create connections that deepen our community.

We can be provocative yet balanced by inviting better conversation. On Point is about sharing diverse stories from interesting people and mixing facts with opinions, emotions and feelings.

What are the timely and gritty topics that need greater attention in the Okanagan?

Affordability – What does it mean for us to house a diverse workforce that represents our diverse community needs? (Monday, Oct 3, 2016)

Economic Development – What does economic resilience mean for our region, our community? Are there tough choices ahead that frame our economic future? (Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016)

Climate Change – Should we foster greater responsibility towards our environment, our climate? Perspectives about the villains and heros in our climate story. (Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016)

Transportation – Are we stuck, literally? How are we getting around… and getting along in the process? Do we need a new relationship with transportation and mobility in our region? (Thursday, Dec 8, 2016)

Please join us for one or all four of these FREE evenings throughout the Fall at The Laurel Packinghouse.

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