Arjun Singh sees city council as a way to give back to the city that has been good to him and his family.
“I love the community with all my heart,” the incumbent city councillor told KTW.
“Having served now for almost 10 years, that experience, coupled with always an openness to new ideas, I feel like I’m in a pretty good place in terms of the work I can do for the community. And it’s not about what I can do, but what we can do because council is very much a team effort.”
Singh is seeking re-election on Oct. 20. In three terms, he has sat on nearly every city committee and entrenched himself in the community — debating with residents online, meeting people for coffee, hitting up local events and doing pick-ups at Run Club.
“Kamloops is a very diverse community and, unless you’re kind of connected to different kinds of people, you’re not going to be as successful as a city councillor as you could be,” he said.
That’s not to say Singh hasn’t developed strong opinions on issues. He’s passionate about reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and increasing affordable housing and economic development in green technology.
He has heard from residents who feel the city is prohibitive when it comes to business opportunities and noted the need for a performing-arts centre, different from the proposal defeated by referendum.
Last summer, Singh filled in as mayor when Peter Milobar stepped down to run for Kamloops North-Thompson MLA.
Expecting a quiet summer, Singh didn’t know he would be guiding the city through the final Ajax mine meetings nor speaking to national media about historic wildfires in Interior B.C., with thousands of people seeking refuge in Kamloops.
“It was a very challenging time, but a time when the community, as with many times in our history, just completely stepped up,” he said. “I’ll always treasure that.”
Asked if he would run for mayor, Singh said he supports Mayor Ken Christian’s bid for re-election, but noted his mother would be disappointed if he didn’t run down the road.
Asked to evaluate council’s last term, Singh pointed to its diversity and said he would like to see women run to fill the shoes of outgoing councillors Tina Lange and Pat Wallace.
Singh said he is proud of the city’s progress in approving affordable-housing projects and the evolution of neighbourhood associations. He said he is also proud of the sustainability committee formed, in part, out of his frustrations.
Asked whether he had any thoughts after signing a letter with fellow councillors in support of proportional representation, Singh said he probably shouldn’t have signed “councillor” on the letter, but noted he is passionate about collaborative governance at all levels.
Singh has also been involved for years with the Union of BC Municipalities and is expected to become president this Friday, when the annual convention concludes in Whistler.
Singh is also part of Kamloops Rotary Club and is a Run Club coach.
To reach Singh, call 250-377-1797, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to arjunforcouncil.com.