Basran quietly fights back against challenger Dyas at election campaign kick-off | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Basran quietly fights back against challenger Dyas at election campaign kick-off

FILE PHOTO - Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and his campaign manager Wayne Pierce at a reception announcing his reelection bid, Thursday, May 24, 2018.
September 28, 2018 - 11:35 AM

KELOWNA - From union members to giants of the local tech industry, Mayor Colin Basran’s supporters rallied at Summerhill Estate Winery last evening.

About 200 people gathered last night, Sept. 28, in small groups on the winery's lawn, sipping wine while waiting for Mayor Basran to speak at his re-election campaign kick-off.

Basran appeared 15 minutes behind schedule to give a nine-minute speech followed by a call for volunteers and donations. One campaign organizer told that 300 people had been expected.

Basran opened with a somewhat joking comment about the Costco controversy his chief rival Tom Dyas created. Dyas last week accused Basran and the city of not doing enough to keep Costco in Kelowna rather than having them relocate to West Kelowna.

Basran said his family owned the land where Costco is located before it was sold to the person who later sold it to Costco and “helping create some headlines that, maybe, we didn’t need last week. But it’s all good because we’re looking after it.”

That elicited a few chuckles and a couple of minor attempts at applause.

Dyas has also attacked Basran’s leadership ability, specifically going after him over his handling of the citywide water management plan.

“My experience has taught me that most decisions are far more complex than black and white,” Basran said. “There are always competing interests. Any decision leaves some folks unhappy with the outcome. But, I believe, leadership is not about making people happy or telling you what you might like to hear in order to get elected. Leadership is about doing what is right for the entire community.”

Which elicited absolutely no response from his supporters.

Club Penguin co-founder Dave Krysko, who was there to support Basran, sat on the Journey Home task force on homelessness along with Dyas and was a bit surprised by Dyas’ attacks.

“He never voiced any of those opinions in our meetings,” Krysko said. “I thought he supported the plan.”

Basran did not present an election platform at the rally last night.

He did spend a few moments highlighting what he and council have achieved in the last four years, such as a booming economy, sustainable development, 3,000 new rental housing units and connecting with educational and health institutions.

Basran briefly touched on goals for the next term, such as completing the Highway 33 extension to Enterprise Way, parks in Rutland and Glenmore, along with proposed redevelopment of Parkinson Recreation Centre and expanded ice rinks at the Capital News Centre.

His praise for the RCMP, firefighters and emergency health services elicited what was probably the loudest of only a couple of cheers from his supporters.

A group of Kelowna firefighters attended in bright yellow T-Shirts that proclaimed: “Kelowna Firefighters Support those who Support us.” But there was no mention of Basran by name.

Also in attendance, but much more low key, were members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1722, representing Kelowna’s transit workers.

Local transit union president Scott Lovell said Basran and the current council have been the most progressive on environmental and transit issues in the last 20 years. He noted that an international transit conference held in the city two weeks ago praised Kelowna council for being the most aggressive in the region for the last four years in improving transit.

Basran’s closing comments drew the loudest cheer from the crowd.

“You’ve all heard me say it and as long as I’m your mayor, I will continue to shout it,” he said. “I will always imagine and work to make Kelowna an inclusive and accepting community for people of all genders, faiths, races and sexual orientations. Because our diversity is what makes us stronger.”

Expect to see people lining Highway 97 in the city on mornings to come waving Basran signs, while other supports plan to show up at the Farmers' Market and Kelowna Rockets hockey games.

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