With the race to be Kelowna’s next mayor coming down to the final days, the four candidates in the contest stuck to their respective scripts Monday during the latest mayoral forum.
Incumbent Colin Basran trumpeted his record and the record of city council over the last four years.
Challenger Tom Dyas said he would open lines of communication between the community and city hall, something he claims has been lacking.
Retired bylaw officer Bob Schewe said the city needs to address downtown issues and show those on the street perpetrating petty crime, dealing drugs and “preying” on others they are not welcome in the city.
Bobby Kennedy said the city needs to capitalize on cannabis legalization to generate more revenue.
Saying the city is “at a crossroads,” Basran said voters have to make a decision about the future.
“Will you embrace my my vision, a vision of an innovative, progressive and welcoming Kelowna, or will you choose to look away,” he said.
He claimed under his leadership, the city’s economy has grown, issues such as homelessness and street crime are being addressed and the city has become more inclusive than ever before.
But Dyas took issue with Basran’s leadership claims, saying when he looks at city hall, he’s “not sure who is steering the ship.”
He continued his focus on his contention that leadership is lacking at city hall and said he’s the man to restore it.
“It’s time to take our city back and place your faith in a mayor who will listen,” he said. “It’s time for an era of new leadership.”
The two men have differing views of how to move the city forward, with Basran quick to cite details of what has been done to address issues, while Dyas has continually talked about the need to consult more with all sectors of the community.
During his campaign, Kennedy, who owns and operates a skateboard shop on downtown Kelowna, has advocated for a city cannabis tax.
In the past he has illegally sold marijuana in his store and was asked about that Monday at the forum at UBC Okanagan. He was asked why voters should trust him as mayor not to break the law again.
He said the illegal pot sales were the only time he has broken the law and he defended his action saying he was only trying to help people.
He called the sales “political protest,” adding he took the issue to the B.C. Supreme Court is a bid to support those who need cannabis products.
“I’ll stand up for the people any way, every day,” he said.
The civic election is Oct. 20.
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