Tom Dyas. —Image: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Former Kelowna chamber president appears ready to launch mayoral bid

Tom Dyas has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning

It appears Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran is about to get a high-profile challenger in the upcoming Oct. 20 civic election.

Former two-term Kelowna Chamber of Commerce President Tom Dyas has called a news conference for Wednesday morning and is expected to announce a mayoral bid.

Speculation has been growing over the last few weeks that Dyas would enter the race, and when asked about it late last week, would only say he had been approached by several people and was considering a run.

But he said he was more concerned about the upcoming bid by Kelowna to host the 2020 Memorial Cup hockey tournament, which is due to be presented this week. Dyas heads the the Kelowna bid committee.

A source with knowledge of Dyas’s decision to run, said he would it official this week after the Memorial Cup bid presentation was finalized.

The same source said former Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan planned to run for a seat on council alongside Dyas. But Cannan, who told the Capital News he was seriously considering a run for a councillor position, said he has ruled it out citing business and family obligations.

Dyas was one of the most visible and vocal chamber presidents during his two consecutive terms in office, many times commenting on provincial and city issues, as well as presenting on behalf of the chamber when provincial and federal committees came to town. As past-president of the chamber, he remained a spokesman for the local organization that represents more than 1,200 businesses.

When asked about running for mayor, he said the issue of downtown safety was one cited often by the people who were urging him to run. They, like a growing number of people in the city, are concerned about what is happening downtown, especially when it comes to drug use and the homeless, and appear to hold the current council responsible.

Dyas plans to make his announcement in Rutland’s Roxby Square on Wednesday morning.

In addition to Basran, who was first elected in 2014, candidates Joshua Hoggan, Bobby Kennedy and Bob Schewe have also filed nomination papers to run for council’s top job.

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