Kelowna mayor Tweets up a storm during online townhall

Mayor Colin Basran's thumbs were put to the test Thursday as he used his mobile phone to tap out answers to dozens of tweets sent his way

Mayor Colin Basran’s thumbs were put to the test Thursday as he used his mobile phone to tap out answers to dozens of tweets sent his way  for the city’s first Twitter town hall.

Given the 140 character or less restriction inherent to the medium, it’s not like the questions or answers were particularly in-depth, but they did cover everything from water and pavement to community engagement.

“I’d really like to see a city where organic activity and gathering thrive. There’s so little art downtown #imaginekelowna,” wrote someone using the Twitter handle @viraguita.

Basran answered with “council also continues to help fund great art organizations & events. A vibrant arts/cultural scene is important for Kelowna.”

One user asked what the mayor thought of online voting, as a means of youth engagement.

That was something Basran remarked he’d be interested in, although changes are in the purview of a higher level of government.

Dozens of friendly exchanges filled the hour and there was only one thing missing when all was said and done.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, and in this day and age, with internet trolls you think the worse, and I am actually smiling right now,” he said.

“We got really engaged people.”

Basran said there will likely be another town hall in the future, although he couldn’t say when it may happen.

For the next 18 months, however, the city is engaging in the Imagine Kelowna project, which is all about gathering resident input on what people want this city to be. Comments from the Twitter town hall will be collected and fed into that project.

“It’s an important engagement process for people to participate in,” Basran said. ” It’s going to help shape this city’s future decision making.”

To see the rundown of tweets, go to the City of Kelowna Twitter page.