Kelowna's mayoral candidates squared off Wednesday at Okanagan College

Mayor candidates face off

Contributed Mayoral candidate debate: Wednesday, September, 28th

All five of Kelowna's mayoral candidates squared off Wednesday night in their first live debate at Okanagan College.

The debate kicked off at 7:30 p.m. with questions from students at the college and UBC Okanagan.

A majority of the questions focused on issues such as transportation, affordability, food security and Kelowna's future.

The first question of the night was on transportation and the strike looming on October 5.

When questioned about the strike Mayor Basran said he has written to the Minister of Labour to have him reconsider the decision not to legislate back to work.

Tom Dyas says as mayor he would look at getting city buses into industrial areas to help deal with traffic on city roads as well as ensure students at the university would have accessible routes to and from school.

When asked about the approach to affordable housing, Basran said he would expand the rental incentive program to provide more missing middle housing designated for families.

Basran added the need to continue to invest in the Housing Opportunities Reserve Fund, which allows the city to partner with B.C. Housing on supportive housing and complex care housing for people on the streets.

Dyas also shared the need to focus on what he sees as the lack of middle housing. Dyas says he would reduce barriers within the municipality to start to build back townhomes and secondary suites.

When asked how the city would expand in a sustainable way David Habib shared his ideas to lower or completely reduce development cost charges for properties to help professionals such as RCMP officers, nurses and doctors continue to make Kelowna home.

Mayor Basran raised a challenge flag on Habib's answer, arguing that lowering development cost charges too much is not possible. He said lowering DCC's means someone else will be left to pay for the infrastructure the city needs to grow.

Dyas also challenged Basran's comment on DCC's. He says the issue stems from variances for someone who is paying regular development cost charges despite having a much taller building while contributions to city infrastructure fall short.

Dyas finished second to Basran in the last mayoral race back in 2018.

While Basran and Dyas took centre stage, businessman David Habib, builder Glendon Smedley, and business woman Silverado Socrates also made their best pitch to a sold out crowd.

Local government elections take place across B.C. on Oct. 15.

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