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It’s back to work for local politicians next week

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Mayor Colin Basran
November 02, 2018 - 2:02 PM

KELOWNA - After around four weeks off between meetings, Central Okanagan politicians will be heading back to their various council chambers next week.

These will be largely ceremonial inaugural meetings where all mayors and councillors will be formally sworn into office for a four-year term.

The big event will be the swearing in of Kelowna city council by Judge Lisa Wyatt at an hour-long Monday evening, Nov. 5, ceremony with former B.C. TV news anchor Tony Parsons as the master of ceremonies. Once sworn in, Mayor Colin Basran will give his inaugural address of the new council term.

In taking office for his second term, he’s come off a re-election campaign where he was criticized for not doing enough to combat crime downtown or being open to community input. What he says on Monday will likely address some of those challenges.

When contacted by, Basran refused to comment on what he will say in the address. As mayor, he is just one vote on council so the official direction for council as a whole will be drafted in the coming weeks.

“It is with some council input,” Basran said of his upcoming speech. “I probably won’t be speaking on anything that isn’t going to be a priority of council going forward.”

The last council set six primary goals at the start of its term:

  1. Clean drinking water was moved forward with the South-East Kelowna Irrigation District being taken over by the city and an $80 million upgrade to that system but three other major irrigation districts are resisting any further amalgamations.
  2. Building vibrant urban centres has stalled a bit with the brakes being temporarily put on the proposed Capri-Landmark Centre due to concerns over the re-alignment of Sutherland Avenue.
  3. Ensuring a healthy, safe, active and inclusive community has led to the creation and the ongoing work of the Journey Home strategy and an upcoming report from former RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon on further actions to be taken.
  4. Delivering a balanced transportation network has been helped by the opening of John Hindle Drive to connect Glenmore with UBC Okanagan but a shift in future spending away from roads and more to bike paths and “active” travel has sparked controversy.
  5. Acting as a catalyst for business was boosted with construction of the Innovation Centre but there are fears Costco will relocate to West Kelowna.
  6. Providing strong financial management may be something this council believes it has done, but tax increases that are about twice the rate of inflation for the past four years have some citizens upset.

The swearing in ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5, at the Mary Irwin Theatre in the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Next on the list of inaugural meetings will be Tuesday, Nov. 6, for West Kelowna at 1:30 p.m., Lake Country at 7 p.m. and Peachland at 7 p.m. All meetings are in their respective council chambers. Each meeting will include appointments to the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, which will hold its inaugural meeting on Thursday, Nov. 8.

The Central Okanagan school board launches its new term on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Not all politicians had a four-week break between meetings as Peachland council met Oct. 23 and the Board of Education met Oct. 24. Plus there were orientation meetings for new councillors – many attended by incumbents – and other training sessions.

With Remembrance Day falling on Sunday, Nov. 11, the statutory holiday will be on Monday, Nov. 12, the politicians won’t get down to the real work of governing until the week of Nov. 19.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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