Members of the current Kelowna city council—(back row, left to right) Coun. Charlie Hodge, Coun. Mohini Singh, Mayor Colin Basran, Coun. Ryan Donn, Coun. Gail Given and (front row, left to right) Coun. Maxine DeHart, Coun. Brad Sieben, Coun. Tracy Gray and Coun. Luke Stack. Basran, Donn, Stack, Singh and Gray have all indicated they plan to seek new terms in October’s civic election. —Image: City of Kelowna

Majority of Kelowna council incumbents running for re-election

Mayor and four councillors seeking re-election, while four other councillors yet to announce

With 3 1/3 months until B.C. municipalities hold civic elections, some Central Okanagan council incumbents are making their intentions known about seeking re-election.

But others are more circumspect, preferring to play their political cards closer to the vest. And, in a few cases, some say one thing, while doing something else.

The Capital News recently asked all incumbents on the Kelowna and West Kelowna councils about their political intentions concerning the impending Oct. 20 municipal election.

Since the 2014 election, the current Kelowna city council has attempted to live up to Mayor Colin Basran’s election pledge to make Kelowna “open for opportunity.”

Unlike previous Kelowna councils that were viewed by many to be either entirely focused on business or social issues but not both, the current council has attempted to do just that—be a socially minded, pro-business council.

Council’s Journey Home strategy to address homelessness, as well its healthy housing strategy, Imagine Kelowna visioning exercise, a push for more social housing, and moves to get developers to build more purpose-built apartment complexes have shown council’s social side.

Continued approvals for a plethora of condo towers, support for projects like the Innovation Centre downtown, expansion and improvements to the airport and other economic development initiatives have shown its business side.

As for the incumbents, Basran has already publicly announced his bid for a second term.

Two veteran incumbent councillors, Luke Stack and Gail Given, even joined him on stage at his announcement last month to endorse his candidacy.

Stack says he plans to seek re-election, while Given could not be reached for comment as she is away until July 16.

Coun. Ryan Donn says he will run for re-election, while Coun. Tracy Gray and Coun. Mohini Singh both told the Capital News they are not ready to disclose their intentions, although Gray already has a website up called votetracygray.com on which she is seeking donations for her re-election bid.

Singh, who said she is “leaning on running,” has an election sign for herself on her Facebook page.

Coun. Brad Sieben said he has not decided yet if he will seek a second tern. He expects to make an announcement in August.

Coun. Charlie Hodge has said he’ll make his intentions known in September while Coun. Maxine DeHart said she is planning an announcement in the “near future.”

In response to the Capital News asking about their re-election status, Kelowna incumbents said:

Mayor Colin Basran: “As announced, I will be seeking re-election as mayor. I am running again because I am really proud of the work council has done over the course of the term to build a vibrant, dynamic and progressive city. I want this momentum to continue over the next four years and will keep working to make sure that Kelowna is a place that everyone can call home and feel like they belong.”

Coun. Luke Stack: “I will be seeking re-election this fall to Kelowna city council. If elected, this will be my fourth term on council. I was first elected in 2008, re-elected in 2011 and once again in 2014. My priorities for this upcoming term will be to maintain stability on council. I want to encourage steady, healthy civic growth, expand and replace aging recreation facilities and, as always, promote affordable and rental housing.”

Coun. Ryan Donn: “Serving Kelowna this term has been an honour I’ll always treasure. I’ve dedicated myself to learn the intricacies of our issues and the complexity of our journey forward. Many know I’m also passionately committed to bringing the public along for the ride through social media. I believe that educated, informed and engaged citizens are key as we grapple with our next steps. I’m running and asking Kelowna for the opportunity to continue serving you day by day for another four years. We are building a vibrant community for all and we’re honestly just getting started.”

Coun. Mohini Singh: “At this stage, yes I am leaning on running for re-election. We have accomplished a lot this term and there is still a lot to do. Kelowna is experiencing tremendous growth and it doesn’t appear it will slow down. I want to ensure we have a seasoned council that understands the dynamics and is well versed in the needs of our city. I am passionate about ensuring our city is the best mid-sized city in North America. The issues that I really would like to work on include social issues, affordable housing, a healthy agriculture sector and the creating a vibrant inclusive community which reflects the best of the Canadian multicultural spirit.”

Coun. Tracy Gray: “I will let my final decision be known as we get closer to the election. For now, I’m focused on serving the public and fulfilling my responsibilities.” (She has a webpage up—votetracygray.com—indicating she is running for re-election.)

Coun. Brad Sieben: “At this time I have not yet made a decision whether I will run again. I’ll likely come to a decision sometime in August.”

Coun. Maxine DeHart: “At this time I am presently discussing the election with my family, friends and team and will be making a decision in the near future.”

Coun. Gail Given: Wasn’t available to respond.

Coun. Charlie Hodge: No response. (He has said previously he plans to announce his intention at a party he is planning for September.)

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