“This feels so good.”
That’s how newly re-elected mayor Colin Basran described a hard-fought election win, which he attributed to his campaign team and supporters.
“Many times when I have been really low, they pick me up and they say, ‘get out there. You are the only candidate with experience who knows what they are talking about,’” Basran said to the crowd at the Curious Cafe on Ellis Street, shortly after 9:45 p.m., when it became clear that he was next mayor of Kelowna.
READ MORE: BASRAN RE-ELECTED
“And I am so proud to have them by my side each and every time and they would go to the wall for me and I am blessed with the best campaign team, absolutely, in the business.”
Basran said that he thought that other candidates ran amazing campaigns and, one way or another, did the best they could to get issues heard, noting “the things they shared will make this city better.”
“That being said, I am so excited to work with this new council. I am so excited all the incumbents got in because we we get along so well because we did amazing things together,” he said.
READ MORE: LAKE COUNTRY ELECTS BAKER
While Basran earned 18,118 of a potential 32,132 votes. Tom Dyas earned 9,518 votes. It was a clear win over someone who once was Basran’s friend, and entered this race having to answer questions about his decision to run against someone he previously supported.
Dyas’s campaign gathered at the Kanata Hotel, and once the votes were tallied and he made time to speak to media, he said he believed he could repair the close friendship he enjoyed with Basran prior to the campaign.
“In business, numerous times I have competed against individuals who are friends. Sometimes you win the business deal, sometimes you don’t. In sports, I have competed in championship games against individuals who are friends, and we are still friends to this day,” he said.
“I believe the mature aspect of it looking forward — yes there will be some communications going forward that will be little rustier than they were before, but I believe in time the issue we debated in this campaign will generate something good for the community’s benefit.”
In the race, Dyas told voters leadership was lacking and that’s why he decided to run for mayor, Basran pointed to a healthy local economy, strides made on issues such as homelessness, infrastructure improvement, inclusivity and the arts over the last four years as signs the city was moving forward under his leadership.
READ MORE: PEACHLAND ELECTS GOUGH
Basran ran on his record, and that of council, over the last four years, while Dyas repeatedly accused the city of not listening to residents or business, something he, a former two-term president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, vowed to change.
He proposed moving city hall and the Water Street fire hall out of the downtown core and using the land city hall currently sits on as the site of a new performing arts centre. He did not say where the money would come from to buy the land required, or build the new buildings, just said discussions needed to start.
He also said he would reopen discussions about creating city police force to replace the RCMP and said he has had talks with a local private family trust that wants to build a “ranch” on the outskirts of Kelowna to house the city’s homeless and treat those with addictions there with “wrap-around” support services.
Transportation could be provided to ferry ranch-residents to and from downtown to avail of any additional services they would need, said Dyas
For the other two men in the race, Bob Schewe and Bobby Kennedy, the issues of street crime downtown (Schewe) and the city capitalizing on the recent legalization of cannabis with a “city cannabis tax” to raise revenue (Kennedy), were most often given top priority on the in their campaign presentations.
Downtown safety and how to address it, was the a top issue in both the mayoral and council races.
Dyas, Schewe and Kennedy said they felt the situation downtown is getting worse and laid the blame at the feet of Basran and the current council. Basran defended what the city has done to try and address it by saying more resources have been provided—and need to continue to be provided—to the RCMP and city bylaw officers, and the city’s Journey Home strategy to address homelessness will also help.
But Dyas, Schewe and Kennedy all said they felt the Journey Home strategy, while worthwhile, did not address the issue of homelessness or associated crime and addiction services in the short term.
Council will be comprised of Maxine DeHart, Gail Given, Luke Stack, Mohini Singh, Brad Sieben, Charlie Hodge, Ryan Donn and newcomer Loyal Wooldridge.
To report a typo, email: