Kelowna mayoral frontrunners offer different view of the city’s future

Colin Basran and Tom Dyas battle it out as the civic election goes down to the wire

Running for re-election is always a two-edged sword.

On one hand, an incumbent can tout his or her record. But that record can be challenged—and, in some cases, may need to be defended.

Depending on the level of public support for an issue, how the incumbent voted can be seen as either a positive or a negative. And that can make him or her the hammer or the nail.

That’s the position current Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran finds himself in as the clock ticks down to Saturday’s civic election.

In 2014 when he was swept into office representing a new, younger, more vigorous face at city hall, Basran promised a city “open for opportunity.” And for the most part, over the last four years, Basran has delivered.

In many ways he represents a cross between the man and woman who came before him as mayor, Walter Gray, viewed by many as a pro-development mayor and the ultimate member of Kelowna’s Old Boys’ Club and Sharon Shepherd, viewed by just as many as anti-development and too focused too much on social issues. Both perceptions were wrong. But popular characterizations are rarely fuelled by fact.

In Basran’s case, he was a seen a fresh new voice on the local political scene—despite having already served one term as a city councillor. Representative of a growing and changing city he was a guy who talked about sustainable development, addressing social issues with a heart, inclusion and creating a city where acceptance and encouragement—for everyone—would be the norm.

Fast forward four years and he’s the political veteran fending off the challenge of three others, including Tom Dyas, a former close friend and past two-term president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.

Dyas says he’s running because he feels city hall is lacking leadership and city hall is not listening to residents.

His campaign mantra, “we can do better,” has become a verbal bludgeon he regularly uses to strike his former friend.

On the campaign trail the two could not be more different.

Basran, armed with stats and the knowledge of what the city has done over the last four years, has been upbeat, energetic and engaged. Dyas, equally as engaged, has come across more measured, less precise in what he would do with the exception of consulting more and listening to the concerns of both individuals and groups in the community.

Privately, people in both camps complain this election campaign has become downright dirty, with personal attacks waged on social media, not by the candidates themselves but by their supporters.

On Saturday, Kelowna voters will decide who will be the city’s next mayor, and in doing so will indicate if they like the direction Basran has led the city or if they feel Dyas is right, and their voices have not been heard. Or could vote for one of the other two men in the race, retired city bylaw officer Bob Schewe or local businessman Bobby Kennedy.

This may not be the “crossroads,” Basran has described it as being, but the election is an important milestone for the city going forward.

That’s why it’s vitally important as many voters as possible participate in the upcoming civic election.

This is your chance to have your say about the type of city you want to live in.

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.

Just Posted

UBC Okanagan men’s volleyball falls to WolfPack

The Heat’s Brennan Goski closed his career to graduate in spring

UBC Okanagan Heat volleyball players close out career

The 3 volleyball stars will graduate in spring

Coyotes baseball team opens season in Las Vegas

The team will play 14 games in 12 days

A new name for Rutland? A social media post sparks debate

It seems the name of the Kelowna neighbourhood is a hot topic

Okanagan College boasts second LEED Platinum award

The college earned it’s second award for the new trades building in Kelowna

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Summerland’s Justin Kripps wins bobsleigh world cup event

Canadian team picks up their first four-man bobsleigh win on the world cup circuit

Most Read