Walter Gray Interview

Pretty soon our community conversation will be taken over by talk about the upcoming civic election (which happens on November 15th this year). A lot of that conversation will focus a lot on who will become our next Mayor. Before that becomes our community conversation I wanted to do an exit interview with Mayor Walter Gray. I wanted to take a moment to hear from someone who has been volunteering and serving in this community since 1975 when he founded the Snowfest committee. 
Below is my interview with him. I didn’t edit it down to 3 minutes as it felt best kept intact. Knowing that 25 minutes is a long interview below I’ve offered you some timestamps so you can skip to the section that interests you more than other sections. 
Ryan Donn Show: Mayor Walter Gray
           A history of Walter Gray, the politician, by Walter Gray
2:40    What motivated you get involved in local politics?
4:40    Which project are you most proud of? 
6:40    How do you create your vision?
9:00    His answer to the How do you create a vision question :)
10:00  Some per-capita stats about Kelowna
11:00   Any regrets?
12:00   Why he ran in the last election? Who was the first to suggest he should run?
14:00   What is your vision for Kelowna’s future?
16:30   What is the update on the former KSS site?
18:50   Do you have a bucket list?
19:50   THE BIG SCOOP - it has to do with a rubber chicken :)
21:00   Another personal plan for the future (tv related)
22:00   Our history together (we met in Japan of all places)
23:00   Everything is team! Bringing people together and making things happen
24:00   If you are running for council what you have is……
Full disclosure:
I first met Walter Gray as we arrived in Japan as part of a 2005 delegation to Kelowna's sister city, Kasugai. I have very few regrets in life but not getting a picture with him beside the  miniture Kelowna sails monument on Kelowna Blvd in Kasugai is one of them. My favourite memory of him has to be the moment our last chord was rung out for the song that I wrote with a few of my friends for the Kelowna Centennial “100 years”.  As I say in the above video he was first to his feet for not only my largest crowd but it was the most heartwarming and fulfilling standing ovation of my musical career. I haven’t always agreed with him but I should state that during the last election I got to know him a lot more by working on his campaign as the social media coordinator. To be honest until a close friend asked me I had fully intended to volunteer on Sharon Shepherds campaign but after a soul searching few days I accepted the offer to work on Walters campaign. Our town was torn last election and I think the closeness of the votes says exactly that. On the spectrum of politics they represented two opposite sides of the coin when truly what Kelowna wanted was somewhere in the middle of both and I think thats why the final tally was 50.5% vs 49.5% but thats just my two cents. I wanted to shoot this interview to show a more informal side of the man behind the office and I hope that it has given you a glimpse of what drives someone to serve their community for over 30 years. Thanks Mayor Walter Gray for your decades of service to this community. 
Next week my column will be about our Talented Kelowna program that launches at Freddy’s Brewpub tonight. For more details on that head to the Facebook event I’ve created for that talent competition by Creative Okanagan.

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About the Author

Ryan Donn is a singer/songwriter, event producer, digital creative, and Councillor at the City of Kelowna

I love creating songs, which have been used by the Terry Fox Run, Kelowna’s Centennial Celebration, or heard on various local radio stations. 

In the past few years, I've focused on creating community events including Music in the Park, New York New Years, Castanet’s Free Family Skate, Talented Kids, Talented Kelowna, and others.

Originally from Scotland, I’ve lived in Kelowna for over 20 years. My wife, Kimberly, and our two daughters, Lyla and Bella, share our home with Tom (adult with diverse abilities).

In 2014, I was elected to Kelowna City Council. 

Opinions are my own, and don't represent the City of Kelowna, Festivals Kelowna or Creative Okanagan. 

To connect with Ryan:

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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