Civic election: Ron Cannan running for Kelowna city council

Get to know Ron Cannan

Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to city council candidates in both Kelowna and West Kelowna to help voters get to know those putting their names forward. Between the two cities, 45 people are running for city councillor.

All candidates have been given the same questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. Responses will be published daily in the weeks ahead. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is here and is being updated daily.

Election day is Oct. 15.


Kelowna candidate: Ron Cannan

Why would you make an effective city councillor?

Experienced, accessible and proactive. Good listener, entrepreneurial and collegial. Only council candidate that has worked with all levels of government and have excellent contacts across the country. Nine years as Kelowna Councillor plus over nine years as MP for Kelowna-Lake Country. Secured funding for passport office, Innovation Centre and more. I like to help connect people and to get things done (not just do a study or another report). I have the time to commit to the responsibilities and will serve with integrity. Family, friends and community are a priority! A team player, open minded, common sense consensus builder.

In your view, what is the number one issue facing the city today, and how would you deal with it knowing city hall only has so much power?

Crime capital of Canada, mental health, homelessness and lack of attainable housing opportunities are somewhat interconnected. Housing first for persons with addictions/mental health has proven successful in Finland and other countries. Expand complex care model with wrap around services. Visit my website for more details. Young and old alike are unable to afford the cost of housing. Now, the macro answer to addressing this problem is ‘build more housing’. However, we need to do that in an intelligent and well thought out way. We need to connect neighbourhoods and focus on transit-oriented development to help lower overall housing costs. Provide hope for the hopeless!

It could be decades before a second bridge is built across Okanagan Lake. How do you deal with Kelowna's transportation bottleneck in the meantime?

Currently, Kelowna’s land use decisions have added to the Harvey Ave parking lot by encouraging sprawl development. West Kelowna and Lake Country residents are using Kelowna’s roads/services and not paying taxes. We need a regional transportation and growth management plan that has “teeth” and accountability measures. Visit my website for more transportation ideas such as improving transit and exploring a true rails with trails corridor. I don’t believe in coercion, only in offering the best possible alternatives. I would rather provide residents excellent alternatives to driving & have them make the choice of not driving themselves. Advocate for Uber!

Do you think Kelowna is growing too fast?

Kelowna is a beautiful City & people want to move here! I want our city to continue to attract families, professionals, entrepreneurs and good hard working people to come live here. However, I do feel as though we could be growing smarter. Our crime rate & homeless is skyrocketing plus housing is unaffordable for many. Unfortunately, as a result of a combination of mismanagement and poor planning, our city is not growing in a smart way and we cannot keep up. We have a serious infrastructure deficit! Our roads, water & sewer systems plus our public transit are lacking and in need of serious updating!

How would you make Kelowna more affordable?

By bringing new ideas & ways we can work with private & non profit organizations like Knights of Columbus and Society of Hope Housing Societies. Construct non-market/market rental, more co-op housing and provide zoning breaks for carriage homes. Improved & affordable transportation choices including reliable and expanded transit. Also, Kelowna residents deserve a local government that operates without waste. Our city bureaucracy has significantly increased over the years, as have our taxes. Suggest a thorough review of city operations to ensure that our city is operating as efficiently as possible. We can’t keep doing the same things & expect different results. That is insanity. Time for change!

If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?

Unfortunately, $1 million doesn’t go as far as it once did. Since Kelowna is the crime capital of Canada I would start by allocating funds towards resources we need to combat crime. Re-open community policing stations ,stronger support for block watches, citizen patrol, RCMP Auxiliary, work closer with the Chamber, DKA, URBA & Residents Associations. Advocate for more crown prosecutors, lobby to change “catch and release” legal system, empower by-law officers (similar to Alberta) to address petty crime & free up police to deal with more serious criminal activity. Less emphasis on parking violations and more emphasis on safety & security of people!


Kelowna group endorse six candidates they feel will inject new life into city council

Liveable Kelowna like six

Liveable Kelowna has released a list of six candidates it believes will best meet its objectives for the next four years.

Describing themselves as a non-partisan group formed with a goal of injecting "new life" into Kelowna council, Liveable Kelowna endorsed the six candidates from questionnaires sent to all 37 mayor and council candidates.

Council candidates endorsed include Bal Grewal, Davis Kyle, Gord Lovegrove, Elaine McMurray, Peter Truch, and Loyal Wooldridge.

Wooldridge is the lone incumbent to receive their endorsement.

"Unfortunately, the current voting system favours incumbents and name recognition," says group spokesman and local pediatrician Tom Warshawski.

With four of the six city councillors seeking re-election a fourth consecutive term, or more, Warshawski says the only way to "avoid a rerun of the last four years is to vote together for these six exceptional candidates and think twice before casting a vote for any other."

"The six endorsed candidates display leadership, competency and a commitment to fully understand the issues brought to council, and to listen to community input, whereas most incumbents have failed to make the case as to why they deserve another term," according to Warshawski.

The group claims the current council "failed" in its mandate of guiding the city through the next phase of growth as envisioned by Imagine Kelowna.

He further states council continually ignores the recently adopted OCP in favour of large towers and suburban sprawl.

If elected, he says, the six candidates would form a majority on council, ensuring it functions in a responsive, effective and sustainable way to make the city more liveable for all.

Liveable Kelowna consists of residents who first came together in 2021 to oppose the expansion of the McKinley Landing development over concerns related to urban sprawl and the environment. Besides green policies and climate action, they say their focus is on ensuring community voices are listened to and that long term planning is followed through on.

In a previous interview, Warshawski said the group's push for the curb of urban sprawl and countering the “explosion” of high rise buildings in the community are not mutually exclusive.

“We have to densify, it has to be done wisely,” Warshawski said, suggesting council should stick to its Official Community Plan more, pointing to the UBC Okanagan tower that will exceed 40 storeys in a zone originally planned for just 26.

“These buildings all work in a system together,” he said, adding that building towers outside of long term planning “changes wind patterns, it changes heat patterns, it makes the city much less livable.”

Liveable Kelowna says it did not endorse any mayoral candidates as none met the endorsement criteria.

Click here for information on the endorsed candidates and all the completed questionnaires.

Kelowna council adopt some changes to city's tree protection bylaw

Tree protection endorsed

Kelowna city council has adopted some changes to its tree protection bylaw around slopes and protected riparian areas.

However, changes affecting residential areas and developments across the city will have to wait at least another year.

According to environmental co-ordinator Jennifer Miles, the amendments adopted Monday seek to either correct terminology in the old bylaw to align with newer bylaws such as the Official Community Plan and updated zoning bylaw, or reflect no-net-loss best practice principles for environmental protection.

Miles says a specific change to a smaller minimum tree size will increase the number of trees considered protected by the current bylaw, 8041.

"Bylaw 8041 specifically applies to lands identified by the OCP as being within the riparian management areas, usually between 10 and 30 metres of the high water mark. It also applies to steep slopes exceeding 30 per cent grade," said Miles.

One amendment is a requirement to provide evidence a tree within these areas is hazardous. She says tree cutting applications would not be accepted for non-hazardous trees.

While staff already emphasize this when receiving tree cutting applications, they have never had the backing of a bylaw.

"The second amendment is the requirement to replace all trees.

A third change is a requirement to better protect trees in the non-disturbance areas.

"The amendments proposed to help achieve action to, and move the city along in the direction provided by council to improve our tree protection tools."

She adds that, in an effort to support expansion of the tree canopy, a new formula that matches the ;province's replacement requirements has been adopted.

"This formula is based on the size of the tree removed. The larger the tree, the more replacement trees are needed to compensate for its loss."


Civic election: Greg Dahms running for Kelowna city council

Get to know Greg Dahms

Castanet News has distributed a questionnaire to city council candidates in both Kelowna and West Kelowna to help voters get to know those putting their names forward. Between the two cities, 45 people are running for city councillor.

All candidates have been given the same questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity when needed. Responses will be published daily in the weeks ahead. An interactive database of Okanagan candidates, including previous questionnaire stories, is here and is being updated daily.

Election day is Oct. 15.


Kelowna candidate: Greg Dahms

Why would you make an effective city councillor?

As a parent and long time resident in the Okanagan, I have witnessed many of the problems we are facing like higher cost of living, homelessness and urban sprawl. Having run a local business with two locations in Kelowna I created new jobs, protected our environment through recycling and up-cycling as well as worked closely with our local SPCA shelter to raise funds and awareness for the safety of animals.

Over the past few years, I have had the pleasure of speaking with many of our local residents and asking about their concerns and possible solutions to the problems facing Kelowna today. I believe my willingness to listen, learn and take action, as well as my business and community background, make me a strong choice for city council.

In your view, what is the number one issue facing the city today, and how would you deal with it knowing city hall only has so much power?

There are many issues facing Kelowna today from crime and homelessness to the lack of reliable public transit, safety and traffic congestion. However, after speaking with many local residents, affordability and safety are fast becoming the most important issues. We need to look for a results-based approach to these problems and work with other communities across British Columbia to demand that the provincial and federal governments change their policies regarding crime, homelessness, and affordable housing.

It could be decades before a second bridge is built across Okanagan Lake. How do you deal with Kelowna's transportation bottleneck in the meantime?

Some of the suggestions that residents shared with me are to work with city engineers to find a way to eliminate the light at the entry to the bridge on Abbott Street to help streamline the flow of traffic on and off the bridge. To focus on our transit system and create more routes and make it more reliable. In addition we could work with developers to create amenities in hillside communities so residents would be less reliant on driving. The possibility of better timing for our traffic lights might also help to reduce traffic congestion.

Do you think Kelowna is growing too fast?

No and Yes. We are growing based on the fact that Kelowna is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and we are now on a world stage thanks to our climate, tourism and social media. But the way we grow will be more important than how quickly our population increases. At present, our utilities are in good order, however if we do not plan today for tomorrow’s growth our present systems will not be able to keep up with demand and the costs will skyrocket. We need strong infrastructure in place today in order to keep up with Kelowna’s forecasted pace of growth. We require solid, sustainable planning for our road system, transit, beaches and parks (for both pets and people), playing fields, arts and entertainment, commercial space, industrial space, community gathering facilities, housing, etc.

How would you make Kelowna more affordable?

From the city level we can start by spending our tax base wisely because how we utilize our tax dollars today will impact affordability in the future.

Applying for grants and creating tax incentives to build more rental and affordable housing.

Create recreation centres with affordable fees and inexpensive programs for youth, seniors and residents of Kelowna.

Look at ways to attract businesses that offer higher wages, create new jobs, in order to retain our local workforce.

Work with Tourism Kelowna to promote shop local to help local business create a strong local economy.

If you had $1 million to spend on anything in the city, how would you spend it?

I would look at ways to invest the money back into our community. $1 million is not considered a lot today but it certainly can go a long way to help some of our community programs, like Strong Neighbourhoods and the Block Connector program or our Downtown On-Call and Clean Team which do a lot to help keep our downtown safer and cleaner.

Kelowna resident hoping to impact the community with a pinecone

Trading in a pinecone

Madison Erhardt

A longtime Kelowna resident is hoping to make a large impact on the community by taking a pinecone and trading it in for something bigger and better.

Stephanie Horman says she picked up a pinecone from her kid's school yard last week and and decided to see what she can trade it in for by the end of September.

"First it was a pinecone that traded for a 3D printed dragon, that was traded for a basket of fresh picked Okanagan fruit, which went for a basket of non-toxic cleaning products. Next was a trade for a variety pack of unique alcoholic beers, which was traded for a wake board and life jacket. The next trade was for a $1,000 shopping spree at Hillberg & Berk."

She has just recently traded it for a three-night stay at an Airbnb and two tickets to Big White.

Horman says she was inspired by the paperclip challenge.

In 2005, Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald traded his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of 14 online trades over the course of a year.

"Whatever I get for the final trade, I am donating back to charity or back into the community in some way. So please, if you have a trade that is amazing, shoot me a message, I would love to hear any trade."

Those interested in trading can email Horman or send her a message on Instagram.

"I have had people wanting to know when I am doing the next one because maybe they had something to trade, but it is not quite at the price point that I'm at right now. I have had people from Germany, from down in the states who want to be a part of this."

"I gave myself a time limit this time I wanted to keep it Okanagan based and community based here in Kelowna so I will definitely be doing it again just to see how big we can make this go," she added.

Kelowna council approves Phase 2 of large Hiawatha development

Next phase of Hiawatha

There will be plenty of activity at the former Hiawatha Mobile Home Park in the coming months.

Monday, Kelowna council approved a development permit for the next phase of the project featuring three buildings, including a 17-storey tower near the front of the 18-acre property on Lakeshore Road.

Two other 10-storey buildings closer to the back of the property, near the townhouses which are presently under construction, are also part of Phase 2.

Along with the development permit, council also gave its approval for a site Master Development Agreement (MDA).

Planner Dean Strachan says the MDA includes a number of technical components relating to when specific offsite works and infrastructure work will be required to be complete.

"What this MDA does is ensures council has the certainty of when things will happen that are attached to specific phases of the development," said Strachan.

He says much of the work triggered by this agreement center around the 17-storey tower.

"The roundabout, the bridge, major infrastructure pieces are triggered as part of this development permit."

Construction will begin once Edmonton-based Westcorp, the developer of the project, receive a building permit.

Open burning season delayed in the Central Okanagan

Open burn season delayed

The start of open burning season is being delayed in the Central Okanagan.

Fire chiefs say an ongoing high fire danger rating means they will not issue any opening burn permits until risk subsides.

Normally when the fire hazard allows, open burning permits run from October 1 through April 30 for eligible property owners in the Central Okanagan.

Burning is only allowed on days when both the air quality and venting indices are good.

The Central Okanagan Regional District says they will announce a start date for opening burning sometime in the future.

Campfires are allowed in the region, with the exception of the City of Kelowna, where they are banned year-round.

Interior Health issues drug alert for Central Okanagan in wake of deaths

Drug poisoning alert issued

Interior Health says they are taking a series of overdose deaths in Kelowna very seriously.

"From the Interior Health perspective, we are concerned about increased overdose deaths in the Central Okanagan. But not only in Central Okanagan, we have indication of increased deaths across other parts of British Columbia as well," said Dr. Silvina Mema, medical health officer, on Monday.

The health authority issued a drug alert Monday after five people died from toxic drugs in the Kelowna and West Kelowna area on Saturday alone.

Mema says despite the deaths, the hospital and paramedics have not seen an increase in the demand for "overdose services." There was also no increase in overdoses at local homeless shelters.

While the health authority took days to issue their own alert following the RCMP, Mema says the deaths suggest something could be circulating in the community that could be more lethal than usual.

She said two of Saturday's victims may have been using the buddy system except that they appear to have taken the drugs at the same time.

"We need to make sure that people are using substances in a staggered way if you are with a friend. Don't use at the same time, because both can be affected by an overdose and then there is nobody to respond," Mema said.

Mema noted that the overdose victims were not homeless.

"These are not outdoor overdoses like homeless individuals or that type of thing. These were inside. We also have evidence that this could be due to inhalation not injection," she said, adding they believe these drugs were inhaled indoors.

"There is a misconception that drugs are inhaled or smoked are less dangerous or less risky than injection and that's not true. Deep inhalation can be lethal as well. Particularly indoors with no ventilation."

The drug supply in Kelowna, like the rest of B.C., is incredibly toxic and tainted with high concentrations of opioids and other substances like benzodiazepines.

"And potentially new drugs that we don't know about, that make them exceedingly toxic."

"Recreational users, people who are using for the first time, or haven't used in a long time, those people are at much higher risk. And it is possible that the deaths on Saturday affected people in this situation, people who are not everyday users or regular users, people who are either using recreationally or have a relapse."

'The Sheepdogs' announce Kelowna tour stop

The Sheepdogs in Kelowna

Canadian rock band The Sheepdogs are touring again and Kelowna is one of their stops this winter.

The Sheepdogs, from Saskatoon, formed in 2004 and were the first unsigned band to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

The four-time Juno Award Winners are launching a 50-plus date tour across North America this fall including over 20 dates in Canada and a stop in Kelowna on January 17, 2023 at the Kelowna Community Theatre at 7:30 p.m.

The Sheepdogs unveiled their latest single “Find the Truth” this past spring, and it showcases the Canadian rockers’ signature harmonies. The band says the new music they created was in a response to the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic. The group started recording again during the pandemic, getting together and jamming.

The Sheepdogs have been nominated for ten Junos and have won four of the coveted trophies, including for Rock Album of the Year.

Man charged after vehicle crashes through Kelowna homeless encampment

Charges in tent city crash

Madison Erhardt

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.

Residents of tent city along Kelowna's Rail Trail say tensions are high after Sunday’s incident.

“For a guy to be dragged that far there must have been a lot of hate or hatred towards that or us or this as an entity,” one resident of the encampment said Monday morning.

Tyler Grant Manchur, born 1992, has been charged with one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm and one count of driving while prohibited, according to court documents.

Community advocate Heather Friesen says Sunday’s incident highlights the importance of the need for housing,

“I see even more fear to be unhoused now in the Kelowna population. I see more trauma and I see it having a massive ripple effect with the people who do the work to support the people who are unhoused because I am already getting messages.”

The man who was dragged by the truck for about 100 feet while inside his tent is expected to survive his serious injuries.

“There has been people targetted. People have been beat up and civilians arrests and I understand there is a lot of theft going on, but that is just life,” the tent city member added.

“We need every single politician in this city whether you are federal, provincial or municipal to start using your platforms to speak out for vulnerable people because this is unacceptable,” Friesen added.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.

Charges have been approved in relation to an incident at Kelowna’s Rail Trail homeless encampment on Saturday night.

Tyler Grant Manchur, born 1992, has been charged with one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm and one count of driving while prohibited, according to court documents.

His Facebook page says he resides in Kelowna but is originally from Alberta. The truck involved in the incident was bearing Alberta plates.

He is scheduled for a bail hearing today.

Police declined to comment on the matter pending the hearing.

The man who was dragged by the truck for about 100 feet while inside his tent is expected to survive his serious injuries.

ORIGINAL 10:25 a.m.

The driver of a truck who drove through the homeless encampment on Kelowna's Rail Trail has not yet been charged, police said Monday morning.

Just after midnight on Saturday night, a black Dodge Ram drove through the city-sanctioned encampment, struck a tent and dragged it more than 100 feet along the Rail Trail before coming to a stop.

A man inside the tent survived, but he was taken to the hospital with significant injuries, according to police.

"It is still under investigation. Our general investigations service are leading the investigation along with traffic," said Kelowna RCMP spokesperson Const. Mike Della-Paolera on Monday morning.

Police say residents of the encampment made sure the driver of truck remained at the scene until officers arrived.

Della-Paolera says there are a number of difficulties involved in the investigation.

"The challenge is two-fold. We have very transient people that we have to track down and then we have transient people who were witnesses that are not necessarily police friendly so we have to navigate through that. It is an on-going investigation."

Insp. Beth McAndie of the Kelowna RCMP said alcohol appeared to be a factor in the incident and the driver of the truck was arrested at the scene.

In a previous press release Sunday, police used the term "accident," but there was no mention as to whether police believe the driver of the truck purposely drove through the encampment.

Della-Paolera confirmed Monday the term "accident" was used in error.

"It is an investigation of a motor-vehicle incident. All our investigations are of motor-vehicle collisions. It was a collision that occurred and that is how we phrase it. We don't use the word accident normally," he said.

Police have asked anyone who witnessed the crash to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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