Last meeting of Kelowna city council features farewell to lone incumbent not seeking re-election | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Last meeting of Kelowna city council features farewell to lone incumbent not seeking re-election

Kelowna acting mayor and city councillor Tracy Gray takes the Make Water Work pledge at Bylands Nursery in West Kelowna in this undated file photo. Gray is the only city councillor not seeking re-election in this month's municipal vote.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
October 02, 2018 - 10:09 AM

KELOWNA - The last regular meeting of Kelowna city council before the municipal election later this month was held yesterday, and it was a time for fond farewells, especially for Tracy Gray, the only incumbent not running for re-election.

“It was an honour to have received the public’s confidence four years ago and a privilege to serve,” Gray said. “I consider you all mentors in different ways. We don’t always agree but there is a lot of trust and respect and, I hope, we can be life-long friends.”

Gray pointed to the Journey Home task force on homelessness and the Imagine Kelowna exercise to set the direction for an updated Official Community Plan as the highlights of her one term on council. She is now seeking the federal Conservative Party nomination.

In return, all the other councillors praised Gray’s contribution to the city. Fellow rookie Coun. Brad Sieben said her “rational thought process and research into details has certainly helped me.”

There is still one public hearing left on the schedule – for Oct. 9 – but it’s the regular Monday afternoon meetings that showcase councillors.

There are 14 candidates running for office along with the seven incumbent councillors who are seeking re-election. Historically, incumbent councillors almost always get re-elected. The major exception was in 2011 when a business-backed lobby group helped turf five incumbent councillors and Mayor Sharon Shepherd.

If the incumbent re-election pattern returns to normal – as it did in 2014 – that means the 14 other contenders are running for the one seat vacated by Gray.

In the Mayor’s race, incumbent Colin Basran faces three challengers: Tom Dyas, Bobby Kennedy and Bob Schewe.

The new council will hold its inaugural meeting Nov. 5 but the next regular council meeting isn’t until Nov. 19.

Wrapping up the meeting, Mayor Colin Basran praised council for being a strong team.

“Every once in awhile I’m reminded that politics is not a team sport,” he said. “But I’ve never felt that way with all of you.”

He said he's heard of other councils who can’t even have lunch together after a divisive debate, but added that’s not the case in Kelowna.

“We can laugh and smile and joke with each other,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to be a part of a team. What we’ve done in this community we have done together. We did things as a team.”

Get caught up on the Kelowna municipal election campaign here.

For everything you need to know about voting in the Oct. 20 municipal election go here.

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