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‘Machine gun nest’ comment by longtime Kelowna councillor prompts apology – Okanagan

A Kelowna city councillor apologized on Tuesday for an “inappropriate” comment made at a public hearing weeks earlier.

“I take full responsibility and again I apologize for the inappropriate comment regarding bicycle theft that I regret,” Coun. Charlie Hodge said in council.

“This was an off-the-cuff comment that I realize now was a mistake. I take full responsibility. And again, I apologize to the public and to my council colleagues.”

Read more:

Crime back to pre-pandemic levels in Kelowna, RCMP say

The comment prompting the mea culpa came during a Nov. 15 discussion on a high-rise development proposal and bicycle theft, a crime that has surged in occurrences in recent months.

At that time, Hodge offered a joke that was not well received.

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“If I wasn’t a wise veteran counsellor, I’d suggest that the solution to the bike thefts there in apartments is a machine gun nest,” Hodge said at the Nov. 15 meeting.

“But I won’t go there because I’m a wise veteran councillor.”

On Monday, Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance spoke to council and the issue of bicycle theft was raised.

She said that compared with 2021, bike theft increased 85 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively, in the second and third quarters of 2022.

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“It is important to highlight that the number of bike thefts aligns directly with pre-pandemic, or 2019, rates,” reads the report. “Notwithstanding, the Kelowna RCMP has re-launched its bait bike program with demonstrated success.”

Bait bikes were deployed 13 times in that period and that led to three arrests.

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