Colin Basran addresses supporters at The Curious Cafe Saturday night after being re-elected mayor of Kelowna for a second term. —Image: Marissa Tiel/Kelowna Capital News

Re-election of Kelowna incumbents seen by winners as endorsement of status quo

Returning Mayor Colin Basran says social issues, housing and transportation are his top priorities

For Colin Basran, his re-election as Kelowna’s mayor and the re-election of all seven of the incumbent councillors who ran in Saturday’s civic election sends a clear message—voters are happy with the direction the city is moving in and they want it to continue.

“The message was sent loud and clear by voters. While there may be issues (to be addressed), there are some really great things happening, so lets keep moving forward with that momentum,” said Basran.

“It’s hard not to see that an an endorsement of what council is doing.”

Basran said it was clear social issues, housing and transportation were the main issues on the minds of the voters and they will be his immediate priorities.

The city has already started work on those issues with a raft of housing development applications before the city, social housing being built and more under discussion with B.C. Housing, a new city transportation plan in the works and renewed attention to crime and safety issues in the downtown core, as well as city calls for funding for support programs to help with addiction among the city’s homeless.

The city has also implemented its new Journey Home strategy to address homelessness.

The new council, consisting of Basran, and returning Councillors Maxine DeHart, Gail Given, Luke Stack, Brad Sieben, Charlie Hodge, Mohini Singh and Ryan Donn, as well as newcomer Loyal Wooldridge, will be sworn in Nov. 5 at the Rotary Centre For The Arts at 7 p.m. A reception will follow. The entire event is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, Basran received just under 57 per cent of the vote, easily outdistancing himself from his closest challenger Tom Dyas. Dyas received 29 per cent of the vote. The two other men in the race, Bobby Kennedy and Bob Schewe who placed well back with eight and four per cent respectively.

Basran lead by a 2:1 margin over Dyas the entire night, and called his win, and the margin of victory, “really gratifying.” He admitted he was nervous prior to the close of the polls but once the numbers stated rolling in, said those nerves quickly dissipated.

It was a pumped up Basran who arrived at his campaign’s election night party, high-fiving, hooping ad hollering as he entered.

But for those trying to follow the election results on the city’s website as the numbers rolled rolled in, it was difficult. The site, using a new application platform, experienced plenty of problems as it crashed repeatedly, skipped back and forth between result numbers and at one point, displayed three different totals depending on what mobile phone provider service was being used to connect to the site.

As for the mayoral campaign, which turned nasty on social media as it pitted Basran against his former close friend Dyas, the incumbent said he felt during the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce mayoral debate in the second last week of the campaign, that he would win.

“The a-ha moment for me was the chamber debate,” he said. “I felt I was on top of my game. I felt like I knew my stuff and it was really evident that there was only one mayoral candidate with experience and the knowledge to continue leading this community.”

The results of the election—which saw a 30.4 per cent voter turnout and just over 32,000 ballots cast—were verified by city election staff Monday.

Despite a concern about vote counting at the poll sin Rutland from mayoral Bobby Kennedy, chief election officer Karen Needham said everything was done properly.

Kennedy, would not comment about his concern when he attended the vote verification along with Dyas, and councillor candidate Amarjit Sign Lalli Monday.

The verification by city staff upheld the result arrived at Saturday night.

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