I attended the (Kelowna) mayor’s debate Oct. 4 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
(Full disclosure, I have made it pretty clear that I am voting for Tom Dyas this time around after voting for Colin Basran in the past.)
At the debate, (incumbent) Basran made the assertion, as he has before, that he has built relationships with provincial representatives and other mayors that a new mayor couldn’t possibly replicate. Basran consistently talks about his work as co-chair of the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus.
I admit, I don’t know a lot about this group’s work beyond what I read on the website, but it seems to be an alliance of the 13 largest cities in the province. These mayors work collaboratively on the all-important challenges cities face, such as mental health (substance use and treatment), transit, housing etc. This makes sense. Thirteen heads are better than one.
The way this seems to be presented by our current mayor is almost as if this work is a “bonus” he carries out for our city. I’m going to assume though, that it is actually part of his job description and is required of him. He is paid to do it. I’m also going to assume there are travel, hotel and meal expenses to cities like Vancouver for these meetings.
This type of travel is sometimes referred to as a perk of the job.
I’m not begrudging any of these expenses, don’t get me wrong. It’s part of running a city. Cities working together on initiatives and concepts is logical. It stands to reason these mayors are generally on the same page and become friends because they have the same goals. This is likely why some of these mayors appear in Basran’s campaign videos, suggesting (residents) of Kelowna should vote Basran.
I don’t know if some of the other mayors are in each other's campaign videos, but why not? Support your buddy right?
What about the mayors closer to home though? What about the mayors and (First Nation) chiefs of smaller, “less significant” cities in the Central Okanagan, such as West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and WFN.
Smaller yes. Less significant? Not when you consider the fact these centres are our neighbours and not when the average tourist doesn’t know, or care, where Lake Country or West Kelowna borders stop or start. It’s all the same to them and it should be the same to Basran.
I pay city taxes in Kelowna but consider West Kelowna, Peachland, WFN and Lake Country my home as well.
I don’t know where these cities rate on our mayor’s priorities but I think they should be at the very top of the list, ahead of the other big 12 based on population.
Our mayor did mention these neighbours at the debate. Unfortunately he was throwing them under the bus in the process.
When Dyas talked about Kelowna’s crime rate, Basran’s response was to blame West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and the WFN when he said Kelowna’s crime rate was lower when these areas were factored out.
I’m guessing that caused some ears in those areas to perk up, as no doubt the occasional council meeting there discusses crime from Kelowna crossing over into their neck of the woods.
I don’t know if Basran has the same tight relationships with our neighbouring mayors that he does with those closer to the Lower Mainland or not. But I do hope next month, our mayor—whether it be Basran or Dyas—will work with our neighbours on crime because to me, we should all be in this together.
Let’s make our alliances closer to home our first priority.