Meet incumbent mayoral candidate Colin Basran as he sits down to answer some important questions, and a just for fun question, before the election on Oct.15.
(The following has been transcribed from video: sic)
If elected what would you like council to accomplish over the next four years, what is your vision for Kelowna?
My vision for council for the next four years is to continue to build a progressive community where everybody can find their place. I want to build a community where, regardless of the color of your skin, who you choose to marry, how much money you have, and who you worship, you can find your place here in our city. I know certainly there are some challenges right now. We’re the fastest-growing city in Canada. So that creates some certainly unique but I think really good challenges for us to continue to tackle. But at the end of the day, what I would like to accomplish is for Kelowna, to continue to grow in an environmentally, resilient, and fiscally responsible way.
As mayor, how would you like to see council and staff manage future growth and development in the city?
My vision for the community has always been that we need to grow differently than we have in the past. So I have been a firm believer in limiting urban sprawl and directing as much growth as we can to our urban centers and the core area neighborhoods that surround those urban centers. We need to do that for two main reasons.
One, because we know that if we continue to sprawl geographically, it’s bad for the environment. We also know that sprawl development is detrimental or difficult because it’s a fiscal increase to how we run our municipality. The further we sprawl, it means the more services we have to provide and more infrastructure that we’re responsible for maintaining.
I’m also really excited about how that growth looks because what I want to do is connect those urban centers with good frequent transit, active transportation corridors, and amenities so that it then allows people to live in neighborhoods where they can utilize all those services go to work and get around differently if they so choose. But it also means those who are coming into our community from the suburban neighborhoods have to battle less traffic.
However, I do appreciate that we still need some traditional single-family homes, and that’s why in our new Official Community Plan, the suburban neighborhoods that are already under development will be allowed to build out to their full capacity.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2021 Kelowna had the worst crime rate of any census metropolitan area (per 100,000 residents) in Canada. If elected, what could you and council do to address crime?
First of all, the most obvious one is we’re going to continue to invest in police resources or boots on the ground. However, we all know now that just strictly investing in RCMP officers does not fix or make our crime issues go away. We need to invest in the health care supports that will help those individuals, particularly those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, who are frequent offenders, get the help that they need to truly rehabilitate.
So one of the things that’s important is to continue to advocate to the provincial and federal governments for the changes required to make sure that when individuals are arrested, there is a path for them to deal with their underlying mental health or addiction issues. So we need to certainly have consequences for people who commit crimes, but we also need to have the corresponding health supports so that they can get access to mental health and addiction treatment, as well as housing so that they don’t just end up on the street.
Who is your favourite Okanagan celebrity and why?
I do have a favorite Okanagan celebrity, somebody who in the last number of years I’ve become friends with and that’s Kelsey Serwa. She is a two-time Olympic medalist in our community who comes from a family that’s been here for a really long time. If you spend any time with Kelsey, you just can’t help but get caught up in her really positive attitude. It’s infectious. She’s also been a huge promoter of our community not only of Kelowna but of Big White. She’s brought great recognition to our community through her accomplishments, athletically, but now she’s working towards some schooling in which she’ll be able to give back to the community even further as a physiotherapist and help train and work with the future athletes of our community. She is just an absolutely amazing human and somebody who I’m really proud to know.