Liveable Kelowna has released a list of six candidates it believes will best meet its objectives for the next four years.
Describing themselves as a non-partisan group formed with a goal of injecting "new life" into Kelowna council, Liveable Kelowna endorsed the six candidates from questionnaires sent to all 37 mayor and council candidates.
Council candidates endorsed include Bal Grewal, Davis Kyle, Gord Lovegrove, Elaine McMurray, Peter Truch, and Loyal Wooldridge.
Wooldridge is the lone incumbent to receive their endorsement.
"Unfortunately, the current voting system favours incumbents and name recognition," says group spokesman and local pediatrician Tom Warshawski.
With four of the six city councillors seeking re-election a fourth consecutive term, or more, Warshawski says the only way to "avoid a rerun of the last four years is to vote together for these six exceptional candidates and think twice before casting a vote for any other."
"The six endorsed candidates display leadership, competency and a commitment to fully understand the issues brought to council, and to listen to community input, whereas most incumbents have failed to make the case as to why they deserve another term," according to Warshawski.
The group claims the current council "failed" in its mandate of guiding the city through the next phase of growth as envisioned by Imagine Kelowna.
He further states council continually ignores the recently adopted OCP in favour of large towers and suburban sprawl.
If elected, he says, the six candidates would form a majority on council, ensuring it functions in a responsive, effective and sustainable way to make the city more liveable for all.
Liveable Kelowna consists of residents who first came together in 2021 to oppose the expansion of the McKinley Landing development over concerns related to urban sprawl and the environment. Besides green policies and climate action, they say their focus is on ensuring community voices are listened to and that long term planning is followed through on.
In a previous interview, Warshawski said the group's push for the curb of urban sprawl and countering the “explosion” of high rise buildings in the community are not mutually exclusive.
“We have to densify, it has to be done wisely,” Warshawski said, suggesting council should stick to its Official Community Plan more, pointing to the UBC Okanagan tower that will exceed 40 storeys in a zone originally planned for just 26.
“These buildings all work in a system together,” he said, adding that building towers outside of long term planning “changes wind patterns, it changes heat patterns, it makes the city much less livable.”
Liveable Kelowna says it did not endorse any mayoral candidates as none met the endorsement criteria.
Click here for information on the endorsed candidates and all the completed questionnaires.