Colin Basran

Name

Colin Basran

Jurisdiction

Kelowna

Running for

Mayor

Party or Slate (if applicable)

N/A

Funding

Do you know how much your local government invests in the arts? Would you commit to advocating for an increase in that cultural investment for arts, culture, and heritage in your community, within the capacity of your elected body?

We currently invest $2.9 million annually into arts and culture in our community. Over the past three years, this has meant an increase of $400,000. We need to ensure our tax dollars are spent in a responsible manner and will continue to monitor and make adjustments as arts and culture grow in our community.

Advocacy

If elected, will you take an active role on behalf of your local government in championing the growth of arts, culture and heritage in your community? Why?

I and Council currently take an active role in supporting the growth of arts, culture and heritage. This can be noted by the increase of funding over the past 3 years and participation in programs like ArtsVest which has created partnerships and funding opportunities by connecting arts organizations with the business community. I will continue to be a champion of the arts and look forward to implementing our updated community Cultural Plan.

Education

Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages and are three times more likely to get a degree. Will you commit to making the arts a critical component of every child’s education? If so, how?

City Council does not make decisions regarding the delivery of education in our community. However, I will continue to advocate for funding by our Provincial government for the arts in education. I have also participated in events and promoted arts-focused schools in our community and will continue to do so.

Cultural Growth

How will your local government maintain or grow its investment in cultural programs in your community?

We are in the process of collaborating with our arts and cultural organizations to update our community Cultural Plan. This plan will provide a roadmap on how to continue to foster cultural programming in our community over the next five years.

Cultural Spaces

Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural spaces for artists and arts organizations? If so, how?

Space for artists is a challenge in our community. We must ensure our current facilities are being utilized to their fullest capacity through better coordination and collaboration. During my term, we did an on-line survey and 8 Focus Groups that over 200 local artists provided information about where they work and the challenges they are encounter in accessing the space they need. We also asked them to provide ideas for change. With the updating of our community Cultural Plan we will use the information gathered along with continuing dialogue and engagement to uncover new solutions we can implement to increase the availability of space for our local artists to thrive.

Cultural Tourism

How do you propose to improve cultural tourism in your community?

Helping our local talent is vitally important. Some of our best promoters are our local performing arts organizations like Ballet Kelowna, Opera Kelowna and the Okanagan Symphony. When they perform shows abroad and patrons see how talented they are, it increases Kelowna’s reputation as a vibrant and thriving City.

Under my leadership, City Council has instructed staff to look at ways of advancing the construction of a new, iconic performing arts Centre downtown. This too will help promote Kelowna as a community that sees tremendous value in the arts and attract performers.

I plan to promote cultural tourism by continuing our strong relationship with local stakeholder organizations like Tourism Kelowna, ARTSCO and other arts organizations. Together, we can attract events like the recent Break Out West music festival.

How do you propose to attract or retain artists and cultural workers in your community?

We must ensure that our artists and cultural workers are supported and able to make a living. That means buying tickets to shows, promoting events, and making consistent grant funding available to assist in their growth. It means continuing to work on creative ways to open up affordable space for them to operate and showcase their world-class talent. It means making certain that we have world-class performance venues and amenities.

Key Issues

What do you feel is the single most important issue relating to arts, culture, and heritage in your community, and what action will you take to address it?

I believe the biggest barrier is access to affordable space for artists to be able to create and exhibit their world-class talent. Currently, have a link to "Spacefinder" matching spaces to artists and performers in need on our City of Kelowna website. I look forward to addressing this issue further through the ideas and initiatives in our forthcoming updated Community Cultural Plan.

Participation

How do you personally engage in the cultural life of the community? (e.g. involvement on committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)

I promote the arts every opportunity I can, whether through speeches at events, issuing proclamations or via social media. I attend arts and cultural events regularly and sometimes even participate in them myself - either by acting or singing, at both of which I am mediocre!

Additional Information

If you'd like to provide voters with additional information about your stance on arts, culture, and heritage issues in your community, please use the space below.

As the fourth pillar of sustainability for our city, we strive to integrate culture and the arts into all aspects of planning and city life in Kelowna. Although Council cannot directly create the culture of Kelowna, we play an important role in facilitating and promoting culture by providing vision, goals and adopting strong policies.

Our first cultural plan was created in 2012 to encourage and integrate local culture within all neighbourhoods of Kelowna and as mentioned, we are updating this plan to meet the city’s needs today and for over the next 5 years. Through our cultural plan, major initiatives like the relocation of the RCMP, completion of new parkades and the Okanagan Centre for Innovation have positively impacted our Cultural District which has become a vibrant hub for Kelowna’s artistic and cultural activity.

Each year, we also provide arts and culture grants to non-profit organizations. The purpose of these grants is to enrich the art, culture and heritage experience for visitors and Kelowna residents alike. Additionally, we continue to build on our outdoor art collection in order to attract and welcome people to Kelowna’s urban landscape.