One of Penticton’s five mayoral candidates and a quartet of public-office hopefuls gathered Saturday morning for a rally, all in the name of fighting what they call out-of-control crime in the city.
Jason Reynen, a member of Clean Streets Penticton, led the anti-crime group’s first event on Sept. 10 since his candidacy for mayor become official earlier this week.
Joined by city council hopefuls, Nick Kruger, Shannon Stewart and Wayne Llewellyn, as well as former Penticton mayoral candidate Jason Cox, Reynen spoke to a large group of locals outside the Wholesale Club at 200 Carmi Avenue ahead of the Oct. 15 election.
“This group has come together organically,” Reynen said. “It’s sparked hope and it is with the support of the community that we can make change. Let’s push for a new beginning to reclaim the Penticton we love and know can be ours again.”
Clean Streets Penticton claims it has recovered 35 bikes stolen bikes since the group was formed in July.
Stewart, the group’s administrator and among the 17 city council candidates, added that the efforts of the group and support from the community even helped a tourist from Revelstoke recover their bike after having it stolen during a trip to Penticton this summer.
Reynen, however, said his campaign won’t be all about fighting crime. Though his run for mayor was sparked by the uprise in his group’s membership base, he says there’s so much more he plans on addressing when the official campaign kicks off on Sept. 17.
“Membership bloomed to 4,000 people and that at point, people came up to me saying they want to see change and have someone that speaks for the people,” he said. “No. 1 is public safety but then there’s housing and infrastructure which is a big one.
“We also want to make sure that everyone (in the community) can work as a cohesive unit…I feel like that’s been lacking. There’s butting heads in a lot of different industries here and we would like to mend those relationships and make things move a little bit smoother.”
The aforementioned Cox, meanwhile, is running to represent the Electoral Area for Naramata in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s election. Cox ran for Penticton mayor in 2018, collecting 24 per cent of the vote.