The Future of Kelowna Consortium is endorsing Mayor Colin Basran and two new candidates, Gord Lovegrove and Loyal Wooldridge, for City Council for the 2018 municipal election. No incumbent councillors are specifically being endorsed. That is the conclusion of the group comprised of representatives from ten community-minded organizations that participated in the development of a questionnaire and extensive evaluation to provide voters with information to make an informed choice when they cast their ballot.
“The consortium is comprised of a group with a diversity of issues that matter to them including: planning and future growth, affordable housing, transportation, and fiscal responsibility. This led to an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of individual candidates. Some who were perceived strong in one area had fatal flaws in others,” says Robert Stupka, the consortium organizer and a member of the KLO Neighbourhood Association.
The consortium is supportive of many of the initiatives launched by the previous council, and while the group found many of the candidate’s responses fairly positive, certain actions made it impossible to endorse incumbent councillors.
Examples included the emergence of a Growth Scenario 2.5 that was not part of public input, weakened climate action below provincial targets, misaligned actions that encourage peak car use and congestion, lack of revenue models for amenities in areas impacted by growth, and the deferral of key initiatives in the weeks approaching the election.
The new council will need to make very difficult decisions in order to address these serious issues. In the wake of the significant population growth expected, without bold action backed by evidence, not politics, things will get worse and erode Kelowna’s livability.
“In our evaluation, we agreed on the issues of concern, but struggled to find nine strong candidates that could tick all of the boxes. You need to trust a councillor’s vote on all issues, not just one,” says Stupka. “In the end we endorsed the mayor and two new candidates, as one vacancy and past voting patterns indicate that probably two seats at most will be up for grabs. The one or two new councilors will have a large impact on what policy gets passed in the upcoming term.”
“Mayor Basran ticked the most boxes and his leadership is critical toward having the initiatives supported in our MOU implemented. We endorsed two potential new council members, Gord Lovegrove and Loyal Wooldridge. They are highly motivated and have relevant competencies. In Gord, we have a wealth of knowledge of how to deal with congestion and build cities for this century without compromising what we love about Kelowna. In Loyal, we have a business owner who has a significant grasp of local issues, is from a generation that needs more representation on council, and has presented a holistic platform.”
The consortium is confident that Gord’s and Loyal’s voices will enhance the discourse within council in support of initiatives that ultimately lead to the improved livability, equity and sustainability of Kelowna for generations.
The consortium encourages voters to review the responses to the survey posted on the Future of Kelowna Consortium Facebook page, as well as to other published candidate surveys, in order to make an informed decision and vote only for number of candidates they can fully support.
The consortium comprises of: the K.L.O. Residents Association, Kelowna South-Central Association of Neighbourhoods, PLAN Kelowna, Kelowna Area Cycling Coalition, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna People’s Alliance and Global Empowerment Coalition of the Central Okanagan, Kelowna Renter’s Union.