Fixing Kelowna’s issues will likely be like consuming an elephant

One bite at a time is how you eat an elephant.

That’s according to city councillor-elect Ron Cannan who topped the polls in Saturday’s civic election.

Cannan, of course, is paraphrasing South African human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, who once wisely quipped: There is only one way to eat an elephant: A bite at a time.

While Tutu was referring to gradually dismantling the daunting apartheid system in South Africa, Cannan is citing Kelowna’s metaphorical elephant — the intertwined mess the city has with crime, addiction, mental health and homelessness.

“All our challenges cannot be solved all at once,” said Cannan, who served two terms on council previously, 1996-2005.

“It will be like eating an elephant. You have to do it one bite at a time.”

</who>In Saturday’s civic election for city councillors, Ron Cannan got 16,995 votes, more than any other of the 31 candidates.” class=”img-responsive”  data-src=” Ron%20Cannan.jpg” style=”margin: 5px;”/></p>
<p>While previous city councils have tried valiantly to address the crisis, homelessness and the crime, addiction and mental health issues associated with it have never been worse.</p>
<p>“We need a different approach because what we’re doing now isn’t working,” said Cannan, who also served as Conservative Kelowna-Lake Country MP, 2016-15.</p>
<p>“We have to start with getting power and water to the homeless (camp) and then go from there.”</p>
<p>Kelowna’s new mayor, Tom Dyas, who defeated incumbent Colin Basran, is also up for the challenge.</p>
<p>Dyas campaigned on a platform of change, new leadership and making Kelowna safer, secure and more affordable for everyone.</p>
<p>With his previous political experience and name recognition, Cannan garnered more votes than any of the other 31 challengers for 8 council seats.</p>
<p>He racked up an impressive 16,995 votes, representing approval from 49% of the people who voted for councillors.</p>
<p>Cannan will be joined on council by incumbents Loyal Wooldridge, Mohini Singh, Luke Stack, Charlie Hodge and Maxine DeHart and newcomers Rick Webber and Gord Lovegrove.</p>
<p>With such commanding support, Cannan could have conceivably run for mayor and won.</p>
<p>“Democracy is interesting,” said Cannan.</p>
<p>“I was asked by several people to consider running for mayor. But it didn’t make sense for me to get in that race and split the vote with Colin or Tom. So, I decided I would run for council, knowing I could work with either Colin or Tom.”</p>
<p>However, as it’s turned out Cannan will be working with (Tom) Dyas, which Cannan will probably find preferable.</p>
<p>During the campaign, it was well publicized that Cannan and (Colin) Basran had words at Basran’s party announcing his run for mayor at Red Bird Brewing.</p>
<p>Basran’s event was invite only and Basran asked Cannan, who wasn’t invited, to leave, possibly using language as harsh as ‘f&*# off.’</p>
<p>Since then, Cannan and Basran have met and come to terms.</p>
<p>“I wish Colin the best and I appreciate what he did for this city for 11 years (four years on council and 8 as mayor),” said Cannan.</p>
<p>“It’s a sad day when you’re voted out and it’s hard not to take it personally. I too was democratically retired (when he wasn’t re-elected as MP in 2015), so I know how it feels.”</p>
<p>Cannan and new mayor Dyas supported each other in campaigning and are both for a value-for-money audit at City Hall and the Central Okanagan Regional District.</p>
<p>“We need a third party to have a look at efficiencies in how the taxpayer dollar is spent, especially with a recession likely coming up,” said Cannan.</p>
<p>Kelowna is also split on high-rise development and rapid growth.</p>
<p>Cannan is for “smart growth” in which infrastructure can keep up with development and densification according to the official community plan, which he calls an “evolving document.”</p>
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