Chamber of Commerce to host Kelowna mayoral debate

The four people running for mayor in Kelowna will take part in a debate on October 9th. Global News

They’ve already traded barbs online, on air and in print. Next month, they’ll do it face to face.

On Friday, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce announced that it will be hosting a mayoral debate on Tuesday, October 9th at the Coast Capri Hotel. The event will start at noon, with organizers stating all four candidates have confirmed they’ll take part in the question-and-answer session.

The four are incumbent mayor Colin Basran plus candidates Tom Dyas, Bobby Kennedy and Bob Schewe.

“We’re looking forward to a lively and informative event,” said Carmen Sparg, president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. “There are a number of issues that candidates are speaking out about, and these forums always give us a chance to hear viewpoints firsthand.”

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Of all the civic election races in the Okanagan, Kelowna’s mayoral race is by far the most intriguing, mainly because it involves two former friends. Prior to Dyas joining the race on September 12th, it appeared winning a second term as mayor was all but a formality for Basran.

Now it’s a slug-fest, with Basran and Dyas being the top two contenders.

Earlier this month, Dyas threw the first punch, stating Basran isn’t doing a good job in trying to keep retail giant Costco in city limits. Various reports state that Costco is eyeing a move from its current location, at Highway 97 and Highway 33, to Westbank First Nation lands.

Dyas says the loss in property tax revenue would be upwards of $450,000. As mayor, Dyas said he’d go out of his way to accommodate Costco.

“In my discussions with Costco,” said Dyas, “I would be asking them what they are wanting of this community and doing my best at accommodating what they are looking for.”

Basran quickly replied, stating “we met with Costco representatives many months ago.”

“I think what this is, is somebody who is running for mayor just looking for headlines. The fact is that we have met with Costco representatives to say that we want to keep them here and we’ve instructed our planning staff to work with them in order to find locations that may be appropriate for them to relocate.”

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Of note, Phil Ashman, the regional dean of Okanagan College, will moderate the October 9th forum. The forum will also take questions from the audience.

Also, the Chamber of Commerce said that a number of council candidates will be there, adding though they won’t participate in the forum, attendees will have an opportunity to speak with them.

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