Basran Optimistic about City's Future

Mayor Colin Basran gave the annual State of the City address to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

He spoke confidently about the City’s bright future and thanked former City Manager Ron Mattiussi, for the hand he had in kick-starting a lot of the projects he would touch on later in his speech.

He outlined Kelowna’s growing community, plans for urban densification, cultural vibrancy, environmental protection against wildfires and flooding, airport expansion, and growth of small businesses.

Basran noted, “council remains committed to making Kelowna an inclusive city where people of all backgrounds work together to meet our collective challenges.”

But with positives of population growth and economy expansion come issues of homelessness, public safety and lack of police resources.

“48 per cent of residents believe community safety as worsened in the last three years,” Basran told the Chamber.

The city is working with Journey home to ensure a coordinated system of care for people at risk of homelessness. Over the course of their five year plan, they expect to help over 2,000 people find a place to call home.

In just over a year, approximately 130 people have already been moved into supportive housing

“There’s work to be done upstream. To start to deal with some of the causes of those who faces chronic prolonged homelessness. These people are dealing with substance dependency, mental health conditions or are women and children fleeing violent situations.”

He says it takes a lot of collaboration between agencies to make significant change happen.

On a more personal update, Mayor Basran recalled the strain that was put on his family during re-election last year.

“The election and the campaign were probably one of the worst experiences of my life.”

Although he didn’t’ go into detail, he expressed the relief he felt when the election was over.

“The most important lesson I learned through this was that it’s really cool to be the mayor in a city you were born and raised in, but far more important than this job is my incredible family.

 “I finally have my priorities straight and my family is my top priority.”