The Urban Development Institute (UDI) will go ahead with a planned mayor's debate despite the fact only one of the eight candidates will be participating.
UDI had scheduled a debate between front runners Colin Basran and Sharon Shepherd Thursday afternoon, however, a decision by Shepherd to forgo any debate that did not include an invitation to all eight candidates left UDI with three choices.
Cancel the event, go ahead as planned or go ahead with an invitation to all eight.
UDI decided to go ahead as planned with no changes to the format.
In a statement Tuesday, the UDI expressed disappointment in Shepherd's stance concerning the debate.
“It is regrettable that Mrs. Shepherd has changed her mind and decided that she no longer wishes to participate in this event after having previously accepted the invitation. While we respect her position on inclusiveness with other mayoralty candidates, this particular forum does not lend itself to having all eight mayoralty candidates present," says UDI Okanagan chair, Andrew Bruce.
Furthermore, UDI shares Mrs. Shepherd’s previous public comments that a preceding term of three years on council is imperative as preparation for the mayor’s chair. This is why our invitation is limited to the two candidates who have past council experience: current Councillor Basran and past Councillor and past Mayor, Sharon Shepherd. We will keep the invitation open to her if she is willing to reconsider and speak to our industry as we would really like to hear from her.”
Bruce says the UDI is not dismissing the democratic process by inviting just two candidates.
"We also note that there are a number of public forums that are providing all of the candidates an opportunity to share their platforms. We must cater to our membership and follow the direction of the board.
The UDI intends to move forward with the scheduled event on Oct. 30 at the Coast Capri Hotel and if Mrs. Shepherd chooses to not participate, Colin Basran will be given an opportunity to share his platform with the UDI membership and to answer questions from the attendees."