Kelowna mayor’s Trump card may have backfired in Chamber debate | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna mayor’s Trump card may have backfired in Chamber debate

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran at a reception announcing his reelection bid, Thursday, May 24, 2018.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Mayor Colin Basran
October 09, 2018 - 3:15 PM

KELOWNA - Mayor Colin Basran was a clear favourite in today’s Kelowna Chamber mayoralty forum until one of his final comments.

Given the luck of the draw, Basran was the last to give a closing speech, following directly on the heels of his biggest rival, Tom Dyas who promised to relocate City Hall, provide a ranch for the homeless and switch from the RCMP to a municipal police force.

“And you’re going to do all that and spend less money?” was Basran’s immediate retort.

Then he went on the offensive.

“Making unrealistic promises and saying anything to garner votes, leaving it all to be figured out later, with no clear vision, is not the way to run our city," Basran said. “This Trump-style of politicking threatens to undo all the good work we’ve done together and for what?”

That elicited groans some of the more than 200 business people at the noon-hour forum today, Oct. 9.

Prior to that, almost everything Basran said sparked enthusiastic applause – and even a few cheers – from the audience.

The forum was sponsored by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Urban Development Institute and Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

Dyas was president of the chamber for two years, ending last spring.

Throughout the hour-long forum most answers were low key and predictable.

Dyas started off by thanking Basran and City Council for their “dedication and service over the last four years.” Then he went on the offensive.

“I have found that, as a city, we are drifting in a direction,” he said. “But I’m uncertain who is steering the ship under our present leadership.

“As president of one of the largest organizations in this city, this chamber, I went into the mayor’s office to offer solutions to address major issues affecting our community,” he continued. “I was unable to get the mayor engaged. Meetings that were booked to address these issues were abruptly cancelled."

This is the type of attack Dyas has repeatedly launched in his bid to unseat his former friend.

In his closing comments, Dyas gave himself credit for leading the team that successfully lobbied to bring the Memorial Cup to Kelowna in 2020.

He announced plans to relocate City Hall and the Water Street fire hall (but he didn’t say where they might go) and replace them with a performing arts centre and convention centre. He added that he has a community partner who has offered a ranch for the homeless “where they will receive shelter, healing and hope” and that the city should form its own independent police force.

While Dyas received reasonably strong applause, it was not much different from fellow contender Bobby Kennedy with his call for bringing in new revenue through things like a proposed Capitalizing on Cannabis tax.

As for Bob Shewe, the fourth candidate, he elicited only polite applause and focussed mostly on street people downtown. He broke them into two categories, the one half who want to live in Kelowna and are willing to follow the laws and need support, vs. the petty criminals for whom it has to be “made clear that they are not welcome here.”

Next up for the mayoralty candidates is an arts and culture forum at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 10, at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

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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