Last night's civic forum in Kelowna was long and not for the weak. In all 35 of 36 candidates showed up. 31 for Council and 4 of the 5 candidates for Mayor.
Sharon Shepherd continued to outline the differences with the current Mayor "I have taken the risk and made a decision to not stay status quo," I am promoting responsible growth, I am promoting targeting crime, I am promoting more citizen involvement."
Walter Gray not to out done claimed everything was great in Kelowna, we need not worry, he would look after all of Kelowna, " ... the sky is not falling. Things are going very well in Kelowna. Growth is on track as forecast and prescribed in the Official Community Plan." One of the growing businesses in Kelowna has been the sale of newspaper advertising. Why you might ask, the city and developers have to buy ads to let people know there will be a change in the Official Community Plan (OCP), referred to as the "Occasional Community Plan" by council candidate Brad Dunlop. Just look at the papers, how many ads have you seen indicating a change in the OCP.
Shepherd has often been alone on council, being the person speaking up for many people while council takes a bulldozer through the Official Community Plan to meet the needs of developers and ignores the wishes of citizen groups. "It's Time for Change," she repeated, citizens must be consulted and involved in the decisions and restore faith in the planning process.
One of the best lines of the night came from Brad Dunlop, candidate for council who has hit on the often neglected issue of Transit. Dunlop referred to Walter Gray's statement that everything is running well adding "Its time we put the wheels back under the buses." Dunlop has put transit among the top issues to be addressed if he is elected.
An indication of voter interest in an election is the advance polls. Generally it is accepted that a large voter turnout is a good sign for those challenging those in power. 876 people cast ballots this time out, an increase of almost 200% over the 2002 election when only 300 voted in the advance poll.
tags: Kelowna, BC, City Politics, Okanagan