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Newly elected Kamloops mayor ready to get to work

Mayor-elect Ken Christian
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
October 02, 2017 - 4:56 PM

KAMLOOPS - Mayor-elect Ken Christian will be ready to hit the ground running when he officially takes over the office he earned the right to represent following a landslide victory in Saturday's Kamloops byelection.

Christian, and his decades of political experience, will be joined by two people on council with no political experience.

Ray Dhaliwal and Kathy Sinclair were elected to council along with Christian on Saturday, Sept. 30. They'll be sworn in on Oct. 16.

"I think the reason they were both given the nod by the public is they both ran very strong campaigns," Christian says. "And I feel those that didn't, their message wasn't heard as widely in the city."

"I think Kathy Sinclair had a very strong campaign team and a very thorough campaign, and Ray Dhaliwal has a wealth of business connections in Kamloops that I think he used and he campaigned very hard."

Christian says he thinks Dhaliwal's business experience will make him "a refreshing voice on council."

Reflecting on his own victory — despite winning by more than 6,000 votes — Christian says he never saw himself as the front runner. He chalks the win up to a strong team effort and the community wanting somebody with experience running their city.

"It was representative of what the campaign committee did and I think we reached out to every neighbourhood in Kamloops," he says. "We had a message about using my experience in this last year of a four year term to keep Kamloops on a steady course and I think that resonated with the voters."

Christian will take over the mayor's chair on Oct. 16 and his first order of business will be the approval of the City's major planning document Kamplan, calling it "way overdue."

Kamplan will be on the agenda for the first couple of meetings, he says, then it will go to the public hearing process.

Christian says they'll also be dealing with the city budget.

"The budget process has already begun so we need to get up to speed on what has already been done and make ourselves familiar with the issues right now."

Christian notes the biggest issue he was asked about while on the campaing trail was the Ajax mine proposal, which he says is odd considering it is outside the jurisdiction of the City of Kamloops.

He says voters also brought up the the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the shortage of doctors in Kamloops and the demolition of the former Daily News building.

"I heard a lot about crime prevention and the opioid crisis, and I heard a lot about homelessness and some of the issues we have dealing with affordable housing."

Christian says he doesn't believe the City should own or operate housing, but he does feel it can liaise with the federal and provincial governments to see if grants are available.

"We have a role to play in terms of zoning, we a have a role to play in terms of carriage houses and basement suites or legal suites, and I think there are some things that we can do in terms of development cost charges and development variance permits that will help non-government organizations build and operate housing."

Kamloops has a general election coming up in 2018, but Christian won't commit to running for the mayor's job again saying he isn't looking that far ahead.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

Find past stories on the Kamloops byelection here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Mike McDonald or call 250-819-3723 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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