Kelowna city council hits the ground running

And it’s members gear up to make some hard choices

Talk about baptism by fire.

While his eight Kelowna council colleagues have weathered the storm of public pressure when it comes to controversial issues in the past given they were all re-elected, new guy, city Coun. Loyal Wooldridge, is about to learn the true meaning of the old adage in politics: “When it comes to elections, be careful what you wish for.”

Unlike his council colleagues, who, in Shakespeare’s words, have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in bruising public hearings of the past, such the relocation of the Visitor’s Centre onto the lakeshore, approval of Westcorp’s yet-to-be-built 36-storey hotel downtown and rezoning land in Rutland for for a building to house graduates of a drug and alcohol treatment program, Wooldridge has it all to look forward too.

And he gets to start with a controversial one—a proposed supportive housing project on Agassiz Road.

That controversial project has residents of the area upset about the close proximity the planned housing to the residences of hundreds of seniors.

Council’s deliberation on the issue will be the epitome of what re-elected Mayor Colin Basran meant when he told his councillors after the Oct. 20 civic election to be prepared to make some tough decisions during the upcoming four-year term.

On Monday, after the nine members of council were sworn into office, Basran pointed to decisions about where to place supportive housing called for in the city’s Journey Home strategy to address homelessness, as some of those difficult decisions.

But, he added, that’s what council members are elected to do—make the tough choices for the betterment of the entire community, not just the directly affected few.

When council approved the rezoning for the Freedom’s Door project in Rutland — the housing for recovered addicts mentioned above — Basran, who was raised in Rutland conceded his vote in favour may cost him friends. But, he felt as an elected member of city council it was his responsibility to vote for a project that was needed in the community and that would help people who live in the city.

It’s a lesson Wooldridge says he’s ready to learn. A day after his election, he was surprised to see how much correspondence had piled up in his city hall inbox.

Such is the life of a city councillor in a growing, busy city. Working for the people may be admirable, but it’s often not easy.

They may love you at the ballot box, but approve a development they don’t like, raise their taxes too much or fail keep roads in decent shape and its a short hop from “congratulations on your election” to “throw the bums out!”

Of course, it hasn’t got to that point for any member of council yet. The nine members were just sworn in for their upcoming four-year term a few days ago.

But the public is fickle when it comes to politicians.

And the phrase “what have you done for me lately” is one Wooldridge is going to start hearing. He just has to ask his seven colleagues.

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.

Just Posted

New Kelowna city councillor takes his seat

Loyal Wooldridge joins eight returning members of city council at first public meeting

Making jokes from Hollywood to Lake Country

Comedian Dino Archie will be performing Saturday night at the Creekside Theatre

Be a Santa to a Senior program hopes to brighten Okanagan Seniors’ holiday season

Participants can visit their local London Drugs to take fulfill wish lists

More affordable housing brought to Kelowna

The new 33-unit housing development will be for families

Find me my furever home

Meet Moon a 16-year-old senior gentleman at the Kelowna BC SPCA

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

South Okanagan man wielding an axe convicted of break and enter and assault of a police officer

Steve Joseph Godbout was convicted of several charges in Penticton provincial court

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Most Read