City honours former mayor Jim Stuart
City flags will be lowered to half-mast today to mark the passing of long-time City of Kelowna Mayor James Stuart.
Former Kelowna mayor Stuart served as a bridge between the city’s agricultural roots to the growing urban centre it was becoming.
As mayor from 1986 to 1996 and regional district chairman from 1975 to 1990, Stuart presided over an unprecedented period of growth in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan. He saw a primarily farming community develop into the economic centre of the B.C. Interior, and brought a down-to-earth savvy to the business decision that would set the groundwork for the Kelowna we know today.
“As Kelowna goes through another extended period of expansion, I can imagine the pressures and the forethought mayor Stuart needed to call upon to steer the city from its past to its future,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “Change is never easy, and mayor Stuart guided the city through probably its biggest shift ever. I know it must have been difficult for him, but he always had the best interests of the city in mind and he guided his Council through many difficult decisions and directions.”
Stuart served on the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital Board for 29 years and the Kelowna General Hospital Board for 11 years. He was an executive member of the Municipal Finance Authority for 17 years, of which 12 were as chairman. He was also appointed to the B.C. Transit Authority for five years and served a one-year appointment to the Financial Institutions Commission.
The City of Kelowna started construction of Stuart Park in 2009 to honour the former mayor. The park includes an outdoor ice rink and has become a focal point for the City’s civic and Cultural District along more than 300 metres of downtown waterfront.
He was awarded the City of Kelowna’s Freedom of the City award in 2001, the highest honour the City can bestow on a citizen, an honourary distinction only granted to 18 people since it was introduced in Kelowna in 1946.