NEWSMAKERS 2014: Civic election signals new direction

Colin Basran defeated Sharon Shepherd for the mayors chair in 2014, making him the youngest in Kelowna history.


KELOWNA – When councillor Colin Basran was elected mayor of Kelowna this past year, he not only became the first person of colour to take the top seat but also the youngest in our city’s history.

Despite there being six other candidates, the race came down to Basran and former mayor and councillor Sharon Shepherd.

Although Shepherd has years of leadership experience, this time it was youth that won the day. The first to declare his candidacy, Basran ran an almost flawless campaign that included endorsements from then-mayor Walter Gray and several councillors including the retiring Andre Blanleil and Robert Hobson.

It was expected the election would be a lot closer than it was, and by 9 p.m. on Nov. 15, Shepherd called Basran’s headquarters to concede defeat.

"This is both an honour and a privilege that I will not wear lightly," he said at the time. "I'm so proud of the campaign we have run the last few months."

During the election campaign Kelowna voters found out the first ever political slate known as Taxpayers First, was not quite what it seemed. They made promises that voters found outrageous, including the restructuring of the Regional District and the construction of downtown canal. None were elected.

The group of business leaders that helped elect Walter Gray in 2011 known as FourChange, were back this year with a new name. ForKelowna threw their support behind four candidates, three of whom were elected. 

All incumbent councillors who ran again, including Gail Given, Maxine DeHart, Mohini Singh and Maxine DeHart, were re-elected along with first timers Ryan Donn, Brad Sieben and Tracy Gray and Charlie Hodge was voted back in.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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