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

John Pavelich’s 83rd birthday had an added surprise; members of Enderby City Council came by his residence to present him with a Lifetime Civic Merit award Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby resident unwraps Lifetime Civic Merit award on 83rd birthday

John ‘JP’ Pavelich has been a pillar of volunteerism in Enderby since 1967

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Spallumcheen

Township wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

The Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-1 to secure the top spot in the BC Hockey League Vernon pod Friday, May 7, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
VIDEO: Vipers beat Salmon Arm, clinch top spot in BCHL Vernon pod

Goaltender James Porter Jr. was a wall for the Vipers, who outscored the Silverbacks 3-1 Friday

(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’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Most Read