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One-on-one interview with mayoral incumbent Colin Basran

Basran: One-on-one

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran believes this year's race for the city's top elected job comes down to one thing.

Leadership.

As he seeks a third, four-year term as mayor, Basran believes he has that.

"At the end of the day it comes down to leadership and great relationships with higher levels of government," Basran said during a one-on-one interview with Castanet News.

"The issues facing our city require partnership and collaboration. They're not things our city can solve on our own, particularly when it comes to crime, social issues and affordability."

"Through my experience as your mayor the last eight year, these relationships are very strong, and are starting to bear fruit."

Despite these, Basran has come under fire as the city deals with historically high homelessness, a crime rate at, or near the top nationally and sky-high rental and for purchase housing prices.

However, Basran credits lobbying efforts he, this council and the Urban Mayor's Caucus which he co-chairs, in enacting some change within the system at the provincial level.

He points to new complex care beds recently promised by the province and new recommendations announced last week to "fundamentally change the justice and health care system as it pertains tom repeat offenders."

"We know in the City of Kelowna, 15 individuals last year were responsible for more than 1,000 touches with police. We know a majority of those have mental health and addiction issues.

"The easy answer for some is longer jail terms...let's get harder on consequences.

"I am a firm believer in consequences...however, if they have an underlying mental health or addiction issue, how does locking them up mean they will come out of jail rehabilitated?"

Basran also applauds recommendations that violent repeat offenders will be involuntarily held off the streets and more resources for Crown prosecutors who continue to carry a very heavy work load.

"A number of things we advocated for are going to be changed," he said.

"We can't do the same things we have."

Basran also acknowledged the city is in need of housing of all types as the city grows in unprecedented numbers.

He defended the city's plan of creating high-density neighbourhoods within the five urban centres and including other types of infill housing around those urban centres.

Basran also said he intends to reach out of council candidate Ron Cannan after a verbal confrontation at the mayor's campaign kickoff, where the Daily Courier reported Basran swore at and told Cannan to leave.

"Could the incident at my campaign kickoff been handled better, of course it could have. Do I have some regrets, absolutely I do."

"At the end of the day, I'm human, I make mistakes. It's certainly not the example I want to set."

Basran concluded saying issues facing the city require strong leadership and collaboration with higher levels of government, something he says he has proven over the last eight years he can deliver.

"Empty threats and promises are not going to get us through this."

An edited version of the interview is available at the top of this story, while the full length version is available below.



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