Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Youtube / City of Kelowna)

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. (Youtube / City of Kelowna)

Kelowna mayor claims spotty attendance at regional district is not due to volunteerism

Basran also denies claims he only volunteered at KGH to get an early vaccine

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran has missed several Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) board meetings over the course of 2021 so far, but he denies his regular volunteering has anything to do with those absences.

For the past year, Basran has spent most Thursday mornings from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. volunteering at Kelowna General Hospital’s (KGH) coffee shop — a gig that earned the 43-year-old politician an early COVID-19 vaccination. The RDCO board of directors, of which Basran is a member, also meets on some Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m.

RDCO board members have met on six Thursdays in 2021 for board meetings, government and service committee meetings, or both. According to meeting minutes, Basran has missed five of those. Three other meetings have fallen on Mondays and Basran has attended each one.

‘Personal appointments’

Basran claims he’s not skipping RDCO meetings to volunteer but has been attending immovable “personal appointments” on Thursday mornings over the past two months. He did not divulge the nature of those appointments, only calling the matter “private.”

Those appointments were at 10 a.m. on Thursday mornings, with the final one having occurred on April 8. On the days there was a board meeting that conflicted with that appointment, Basran chose to pull short shifts at the coffee shop rather than attending the meeting due to the fact he would’ve had to leave early.

Before the appointments began earlier this year, Basran said he attended Thursday RDCO meetings instead of working at the coffee shop, pointing to his attendance at 2020 meetings as proof. Meeting minutes show he missed just two of 20 meeting days in 2020.

For all but one of the meetings he missed in 2021, Kelowna councillor Mohini Singh appeared in his stead in her role as alternate director. Singh fills in when any of the seven Kelowna city council members who serve on the RDCO board can’t attend. She says she doesn’t know why Basran has been unable to attend.

“It’s none of my business,” said Singh. “I don’t ask anybody why I’m going and they’re not; I just go.”

Singh is remunerated for her time on a per-meeting basis, but Basran confirmed he also gets paid for meetings he doesn’t attend. RDCO financial disclosures from 2019 show board members earned $18,552 that year, regardless of attendance.

Basran said he still does the work, studying the items on the agenda, contributing his opinions in advance of the meetings. He likened his absences to taking paid personal time for appointments at any ordinary job.

“I don’t see why, just because I’m an elected official, I should be treated any differently,” Basran said.

Board chair Gail Given said Basran informed her he would be missing certain meetings and he has not breached the Local Government Act, which states board members are disqualified from service after four consecutive absences at regularly scheduled board meetings. Due to the Monday meetings Basran participated in, he did not miss four in a row.

Now that the appointments have ended, Basran said he’ll be able to attend meetings from now on, barring an illness or other personal circumstance.

Early vaccination

Basran also rejected social media accusations that he only began volunteering at KGH to get an early vaccination.

Given he’s 43 years old, Basran shouldn’t be eligible for inoculation under B.C.’s vaccination rollout plan for a few months. But along with hundreds of other healthcare volunteers in the Interior Health region, Basran received his first dose due to his proximity to health-care workers and hospital patients.

Basran said he reached out to the KGH Foundation looking for volunteer opportunities as soon as the pandemic began. As soon as it was safe to do so, the foundation let Basran work at the coffee shop.

“I understand peoples’ frustration, but I didn’t make the rules in terms of volunteers being allowed to get their vaccine. It wasn’t created for me,” he said.

“The only reason I’m being scrutinized is because of my position, but I’m a volunteer just like anyone else.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of KelownaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

Oliver’s Fairview Bridge needs work to remove the lead-based paint, but it may cost the town more than they’re currently willing to pay. (Google Maps)
Oliver bridge work may not happen until 2022

Bids for the project came in over what the town had budgeted

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

Upgrades will be completed on a portion of the Kettle Valley Railway trail north of Penticton. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen photo)
Contract awarded for improvements to trail near Penticton

Portion of Kettle Valley Railway trail will receive upgrades

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Kelowna seen from the top of Knox Mountain. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
Accessibility concerns raised as Kelowna ponders banning vehicles from Knox Mountain

Knox Mountain Drive, which leads to two lookouts, has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began

(Pixabay photo)
Cow-based wildfire mitigation pilot contended by Southeast Kelowna group

‘Targeted grazing’ program would see 50 cows deployed to 60-hectare parcel above Field Road

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Cops for Kids riders will be spinning 30 feet in the air on scissor lifts at SaveOn Foods locations in Kelowna, Lake Country and West Kelowna Saturday, May 8, 2021. (File photo)
Cops reach new heights for Okanagan kids

Nor-Val Rentals is doing the heavy lifting Saturday in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country

Most Read