Rookie Kelowna Coun. Colin Basran has made it official—he wants to be Kelowna’s next mayor.
Basran, 36, held a news conference Tuesday morning on the rooftop terrace of a downtown restaurant, with Okanagan Lake as a backdrop, and made the announcement, ending months of speculation.
Last December, he told the Capital News he would consider running for mayor this November if current Mayor Walter Gray did not run. Gray, 76, announced last month he would not seek re-election.
But while Basran is the first mayoral candidate out of the gate, he said because he still has six months left as a councillor, all he was doing was announcing he will run for mayor. He declined to give any specifics about his platform or what he wants to achieve as mayor, other than to make Kelowna a great city for both young and old.
“At this point I’m not releasing a platform,” he said.
But he said he was excited to embark on what he expects to be an “amazing journey” over the next few months.
The first-term councillor, who works as a realtor and is a former television news reporter, said he announced early to “end the speculation” about whether he would run.
His fellow first-term councillor Gail Given has said she is considering a run for mayor in November and former mayor Sharon Shepherd expected to enter the race, but has said she has not made up her mind yet.
Meanwhile, long-time city councillor Robert Hobson has said he is strongly leaning towards not running after 26 years on council and has said it would take something very serious to move him away from that position.
On Tuesday, the crowd on hand to hear Basran announce his political intentions included several local business people, some of whom are key players in the local high-tech sector. Basran has been a strong proponent of that sector and Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin, now part of the Disney Corporation, praised Basran for being “engaged” when it comes to the tech sector.
He also described him as someone with a vision for the future of the city.
“I think he can be a change-agent for our community,” said Merrifield in his introduction of Basran.
The city’s first mayoral candidate of 2014 was born and raised in Kelowna and his family has lived in this area for nearly 100 years. He is married and has two young children.
In announcing, Basran said he wants to see a better future here for both his children and his parents, one he is confident can be achieved if Kelowna lives up to its potential and continues to embrace technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
And he said he is ready to jump into the mayor’s race “with both feet.”
He said he announced early, in part out of superstition—when he ran for council three years ago, he was the first councillor candidate to announce—and also because he wants to “get the ball rolling.”
As for his lack of political experience, he said he thinks others may focus on that, but he’s not worried.
“I know my potential political opponents, my detractors, will focus on the things that I’m not, but I can only control the things that I am,” he said. “And what I am is someone who was born and raised in Kelowna, whose family has been around a long time. I’m a father of two young children and I want to have a great city for them to grow up in.”