Business groups call for collaboration in Kelowna’s efforts to deal with crime

Issues downtown are something business groups want to weigh in on.

Kelowna business groups have a few concerns about how the city is going forward with plans to enhance safety.

“The Kelowna Chamber appreciates that some action is being taken by the city but is concerned that some of (former top cop, Supt. Bill McKinnon’s) recommendations aren’t being adopted as originally proposed,” said Nikki Csek, president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, in a news release.

McKinnon was hired by the city last year to look at what could be done to make downtown safer, and after six months on the job, he delivered 21 recommendations to city council.

The report was first presented to council in December, however they did not immediately endorse his recommendations, instead, it asked city staff to look at how they could be implemented.

“Now, we only have a few that council appears to have been asked to support. We’ll be trying to seek some answers from City Hall over the next week or so and hopefully ensure that the business community isn’t being excluded from discussions on issues that are impacting them,” Csek stated.

Csek added she didn’t know why the chamber hadn’t endorsed a key recommendation that called for the city to take a leadership role in bringing together all stakeholders, including those businesses being impacted by increased crime and vandalism.


“Other communities have had success when all stakeholders are invited and when an elected official takes a leadership role,” she said in her statement.

“Kamloops, for example, had a multi-stakeholder action team that was led by their previous mayor that greatly helped in addressing some of the issues impacting their central business district.”

The Downtown Kelowna Association offered a similar view in a press release they issued the same day.

The DKA also reviewed the Public Safety Liaison Report presented to council on April 8, saying they too were upset with the fact McKinnon’s recommendation to create specific multi-stakeholder committee to help address the social impacts of the opioid and homelessness crisis was yet to be formed.

“The DKA is calling for to see the city lead a committee involving stakeholders — including Interior Health, RCMP, City Policy and Planning, Bylaws, BC Housing, URBA, DKA, Chamber of Commerce — to work collaboratively to come up with actions to deal with the social impact of the opioid and homelessness crisis.

The DKA said that such a multi-stakeholder committee will be critical to the success of the city’s efforts to address the social issues facing our downtown core.

While McKinnon felt the city needs to take more of a leadership role in addressing the multitude of issues that contribute to crime downtown—including addiction, mental health and homelessness—the former veteran police officer warned the city could not “arrest its way out of this (current situation downtown).”

“This is our community’s top priority,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.

“The results may not be coming as fast as we like, but these are things based on best practice, research and evidence and certainly appreciate the path that we are on. We are continuing to address as many of these things as possible to continue to see results ultimately for the safety and betterment of our residents.”

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Caged: Kelowna Falcons suffer 6th straight loss

The Falcons look for revenge Saturday night after a 15-5 loss

Pirko found guilty in the 2014 second-degree murder of Chris Ausman

A Kelowna jury found Steven Randy Pirko guilty of the second-degree murder

Grievance dismissed: Kelowna bus driver loses case after texting on job

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

UPDATE: Dog bitten by rattlesnake in West Kelowna “going to be OK”

The dog, Bella, is recovering after being bitten on a hike at Rose Valley Trails

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sun and heat continue Saturday

Environment Canada forecasts highs of 30 C throughout the Okanagan Saturday

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Give Hope Wings fundraiser launches Saturday from Pitt Meadows

Flying marathon will benefit low income Canadians needing flights for medical treatment

Vernon seeks additional fetal alcohol syndrome support B.C.-wide

“We are making a difference but we could make even more of a difference”

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Gambler 500 hits Okanagan back roads

Hundreds of off road enthusiasts are rallying in the South Okanagan this… Continue reading

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read