Kelowna’s new Social Development Manager looks forward to change

Home > Our community > Our community stories > Kelowna’s new Social Development Manager looks forward to change
Social Development Manager Colleen Cornock


By Jim Gabriel | Sep 12, 2023

Colleen Cornock has become the City of Kelowna’s new Social Development Manager at a moment of renewed focus, attention and importance on housing, homelessness, substance use and other social issues. She wouldn’t want it any other way.

Social Development coordinates the City’s response to homelessness and other social issues and facilitates shelter and supportive housing projects in Kelowna. The City recently announced it will lead implementation of the Journey Home Strategy starting in 2024, and Colleen and her team will be at the forefront of that effort.

“I love building things both in my professional and personal life,” Colleen said. “The timing for this move was perfect because the new role comes with the chance to build something new.”

Colleen's career has been a remarkable journey of growth and positive change right from the beginning. She joined the City of Kelowna's Community Safety department in 2005, becoming not only its first female employee but also the first civilian without a background in law enforcement. In the 18 years that followed, Colleen supported the growth of the Community Safety Services Branch at City Hall while showcasing her talent for driving impactful change. 

She led development of Kelowna’s first-ever Community Safety Plan, which City Council endorsed in April 2022. This is a five-year plan focused on proactive actions to reduce risk, vulnerability and harm in our community through engagement with leaders in health, education, law enforcement and other relevant sectors. 

“The City acts as the convener, facilitator and coordinator for a variety of different organizations who contribute to Community Safety Plan objectives,” Colleen said. “This is similar to the role we’ll play in the next implementation of the Journey Home Strategy. In fact, even some of the partners are the same.”

Colleen has deep roots in Kelowna. Her family settled in the area in 1878 and her grandfather served as the City’s Deputy City Clerk. Colleen always aspired to follow his path in public service and she keeps his pen set on her desk as a reminder. 

She grew up and went to school in Rutland and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Okanagan University College. She graduated the year before that campus became part of the University of British Columbia.

“It’s amazing how much the campus has transformed over the years. It was just two two-storey buildings when I attended,” Colleen said. “The whole city is changing in so many ways. It’s thrilling how diverse and vibrant Kelowna has become. We’re not a small town anymore.”

Colleen embraces change but she’s also building community in her area so she can capture that small town feel. She’s exceptionally close with her neighbours. 

“We work together on projects and we often eat together,” she said. “We have a little commune going, basically.”

Colleen’s a committed homesteader, with the ambition her yard will one day produce all the honey, fruit and vegetables she needs for the year. This is one of the projects she shares with her neighbours, and she reported she’s about halfway to her goal. 

She’s learned a lot by working with her neighbours, specifically how to put each person’s abilities to their best possible use. She’s taking these lessons into her work as she begins building the team that will lead renewal and implementation of the Journey Home Strategy. 

“I’m excited to connect with people who I know from my 18 years working in Community Safety, but to have those conversations in a new context,” she said, “and I’m extra excited to build relationships with people I haven’t worked with before.”

The Journey Home Strategy was developed and released in 2018, with the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society leading its first five-year implementation from 2018 to the end of 2023. Colleen and the Social Development team will work with local housing and social-serving sector partners to set strategy priorities for the years ahead. Learn more about the Journey Home Strategy and the City’s approach to social wellness at

Related stories