NEWS

Kelowna mayoral race pits ex-reporter Colin Basran against former mayor Sharon Shepherd

11/15/2014 08:00 EST | Updated 01/15/2015 05:59 EST
Walter Gray is leaving office after four terms as mayor of Kelowna, leaving the field wide open for two high-profile candidates fighting to replace him.

Gray is endorsing former television journalist and realtor Colin Basran, who at 37, is the youngest member of Kelowna's city council.

Basran’s competitor is former Mayor Sharon Shepherd, who has based her campaign on her record as an experienced politician.

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Meanwhile, other interesting races to watch around B.C. feature a mining company controversy and water fluoridation concerns.

Victoria

It’s a crowded race for the mayor’s chair, with seven candidates — four of them high-profile. Dean Fortin is seeking his third term. He faces challenges this time around from across the political spectrum. Former Liberal cabinet minister Ida Chong has the highest profile among Fortin’s competitors. Coun. Lisa Helps, an academic, is focused on housing and homelessness. And a fourth high-profile candidate is journalist Stephen Andrew.

Prince George

For the third time in as many elections, Prince George will get a new mayor Saturday night. Shari Green isn’t running, instead choosing to seek a nomination for the federal conservative party – just like Surrey’s Diane Watts. But unlike Surrey, Prince George is a two-way race. Current city councillor Lyn Hall is taking on former three-term councillor Don Zurowski. There has been little to separate the candidates during a low-key campaign. What is perhaps more interesting is how residents will vote on a question of whether to put fluoride in their drinking water.

Kamloops

The big issue in the dying days of the campaign has been the proposed Ajax mine – an open-pit gold and copper mine that if approved, would fall partly within city limits. The company has come under criticism for sending out a letter to voters, listing candidates who oppose the mine.  Advance voting has been much higher than 2008, with the mining issue at the forefront. Peter Milobar is seeking his third term as mayor.

Quesnel

It’s a two-way race for the mayor’s chair in Quesnel, with former two-term MLA Bob Simpson looking to unseat incumbent Mary Sjostrom. The town has traffic issues, is still dealing with the downturn in the forestry sector and will soon build a new arena.

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