Ryan Donn said serving as councillor for the City of Kelowna is no longer a part-time job.
“People are wanting their elected representatives to have more time than the system can allow for it,” he said. “There is a big desire to connect with the political system that I don’t think I’ve felt before.”
Finding the balance between his role on council, a full-time position with the District of Lake Country as cultural development coordinator and raising a young family is challenging, he said.
“And social media was the cherry on top.”
In a post made on June 25 on his official councillor Facebook profile, Donn said he was considering closing down his social media profiles all together “as it’s almost impossible to connect with folks and respond to everyone as I have often done in the past.”
Instead, he temporarily shuttered the messaging application and encouraged individuals to connect with him through email, phone calls or by scheduling an appointment. He also announced he would begin hosting a monthly “coffee with a councillor” event to meet with locals.
“Sharing opinions on social media is almost impossible,” he said, “but sharing facts is almost controversial at this point.”
With tensions rising in the community of Rutland surrounding Heath House and the McCurdy supportive housing project slated to be built, Donn said his inbox was flooding with complaints and questions from concerned residents.
“What I’ve learned is it’s impossible to respond to that level of emotion online and have a reasonable conversation,” he said.
Donn said he hopes the opportunity to meet with people face-to-face will allow for constructive conversation.
His first event is scheduled for July 24 in Rutland—the location is still to be determined.