Gray not afraid to ask tough questions

City of Kelowna: Gray, Tracy - councillor candidate says she believes in collaboration and bringing out the best in people.

  • Nov. 3, 2014 3:00 p.m.

1) Spending at city hall has been made an issue in this election campaign. Why do you think the city is or is not spending taxpayers’ dollars efficiently?

I believe we need to be fiscally responsible and prudent in our budget planning. Recently, the City has taken advantage of several funding partnerships between the private sector, municipal, provincial and federal governments. Sometimes an unplanned opportunity comes along that you may lose and it may cost far more in the future if you do not take advantage of it now.  The last Kelowna Citizens Survey stated 81% of Kelowna citizens thought they got good value for their tax dollars. That being said, we can always do much better.

2) What do you think is the single most important social issue facing the city and how do you think city council should address it?

I believe affordable housing is our number one social issue.  I personally know several professionals who moved back to other provinces because of the difficulty in finding an affordable place to live. Ways to help this issue include continuing to legalize secondary suites in appropriate areas of the city, encourage non-strata townhomes, encourage multi-generational developments, include a minimum percentage of lower cost housing in major developments and to densify in our town centers and mid-town centers.

3) The recent Conference Board of Canada grade report for Kelowna had the city receiving a low or failing grade on many issues. Do you feel this report was an accurate reflection of our city? Why or why not?

I’m a believer in looking at the context of reports. Though our grades on this report were nothing to write home about, we have many projects in motion that are actually addressing some of the issues. This was a study of the 50 largest Canadian cities across seven categories: economy, society, health, environment, innovation, education and housing, using 43 measures that make urban centres attractive to mobile populations. Kelowna fell into the “small city” category.  Some of our lowest grades were around innovation, post secondary education, and low population density, all issues were plans are in motion to address.

 

4) What in your background will allow you to deal with conflict within our community on issues that come before city council

I served a two year term on the Passenger Transportation Board of BC, government appointed position what makes decisions about passenger directed transportation in BC. We dealt with issues of conflicting opinions in a community. An application package could include a business plan, financial information, safety records, and letters and petitions of support and opposition. Decisions involved sifting through the information, giving weight to parts of the application, asking further questions, and ultimately coming to a decision that was best for the applicant, their community and the overall BC transportation industry as a whole.

 

5) What personal characteristics do you think make you qualified to be a city councillor?

As an entrepreneur and with serving on different boards, I have learned that I can lead, but it also as important to be a team player.  Collaboration and bringing out the best in people are important to me.  I am not afraid to ask tough questions, take challenges head on, am proactive, driven, high energy and believe in being respectful of others and grateful.  I am as comfortable with working behind the scenes on an initiative as being the one out front leading a charge.

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