Mayoral candidates discuss platforms

At the Coast Capri Hotel yesterday, all four Kelowna mayoral candidates - Incumbent Colin Basran, Tom Dyas, Bobby Kennedy and Bob Schewe- got a chance to unveil their campaign platforms.

Dyas had a list of promises including relocating City Hall and replacing it with a performing arts and convention centre. He also cited a couple of major issues Kelowna is currently facing.

“Homeless are spreading out to all parts of the community, and crime rates are now at one of the highest for a city of our size in Canada,” said Dyas.

To deal with these issues, Dyas suggested a ranch for the homeless, and replacing the RCMP with a municipal police force.

Colin Basran did not disagree the city is facing some tough issues.

“I’ll be the first to admit that there’s room for improvement,” said Basran. “Homelessness, sense of safety, transportation, and housing are pressing issues that we face as a growing community.”

However, Basran said a city police force is not a top priority - and relocating City Hall is not fiscally responsible - since millions have been spent on renovating the building.

Basran also took exception to what he called a "say what you want to hear to get elected" style of politics.

Bob Schewe, a retired city employee, said he's uniquely qualified because he knows what works and what does not work at city hall, and also proposed removing homeless shelters from the downtown.

“The other issue is, of course, with the petty criminals that roam our streets,” said Schewe. “They steal from us; they take whatever isn’t nailed down. With the shoplifting and the anti-social behaviour – it has to be made clear that they’re not welcome here.”

And business owner Bobby Kennedy proposed tapping into the marijuana craze to raise money.

“One of the ways for this is to introduce what I call a City Cannabis Tax, or a CCT,” said Kennedy.

He also suggested a light rail transit system to link the valley from Penticton to Vernon.

We head to the polls October 20th - advance polls open today.