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Pouce Coupe council candidate responses

In Pouce Coupe, six candidates are vying for four seats on council. All candidates have served on council previously, while three are current incumbents. We had a chance to ask all of them a few questions.
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Pouce Coupe's council candidates, left to right: Ken Drover, Marlene Hebert, Raymond Johnston, Andre Lavoie, Barb Smith, and Donna White.

In Pouce Coupe, six candidates are vying for four seats on council. All candidates have served on council previously, while three are current incumbents.

We had a chance to ask all of them a few questions. Here are their answers unedited, except for formatting:

Ken Drover     

Age: 53
Occupation: Safety Manager – HF Nodes Construction Ltd.

Tell us about yourself.

A Canadian Registered Safety Professional.  Have been with Nodes as safety manager for 15 years and have lived here in Pouce for 12 years.  Married, with 1 daughter and 1 granddaughter.

Why are you running?

I see some significant challenges ahead for our community, particularly with respect to Fair Share money which we have been fortunate to receive but is not forever guaranteed.  I have from college a 93% average in business administration and feel that it is time to assist our community in preparing for the times ahead.

In your opinion, what is the role of a councillor in Village?

A councillor is someone who is prepared to seek/offer advice regarding community affairs on all issues affecting the community.  A councillor is part of a team, and works effectively with the team to have an effective community.

What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a Councillor for Pouce Coupe?

Business administration / Professional Designation / Previous experience on council.

Are there any particular issues or local decisions that have you running? Why and what are they?

Fair Share money.  What are we going to do as a community when that money is no longer available?  We must set priorities and address the issues facing us as a community.

What are the three most important issues facing Pouce Coupe?

1)    Fair Share money
2)    Aging Infrastructure – (Sewer needs to be addressed)
3)    Village Expansion

Matters such as health and education are more provincial matters and business, but are often lumped into municipal politics. What role can a municipal councillor play in health and education when it comes to these institutions in their city?

Our local school meets a variety of needs for the children and for the community.   Should the school require additional space that is available, then the priority should be using the space for school purposes.  If this requires concessions from the community, then that is something we should look into.

Do you feel more policing is needed for Pouce Coupe? If so, do you feel that as a councillor you can do anything about it?

I see vehicles speed through our school zone every day.  I frequently see vehicles pass other vehicles in our school zone.  When police are present, everyone somehow remembers the speed limit. When police are not present, not everyone is as mindful.  School zone hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, the speed limit during this time is 30 kph. 

This in my opinion is a public safety issue, our greatest asset, our children, are the ones directly affected.   There are definitely challenges here to meet as a community, fortunately we also have options that can be explored if there is a public desire to do so.

As years go on, it becomes more expensive to provide even just the same services as in prior years (without improvements), in addition to the costs of projects in a community that intends to keep growing. Do you feel that Council will need to raise taxes for Pouce Coupe residents? (This year, the average house in Pouce Coupe saw a $40 increase in their levy).

No.  No increase in taxes for the residents of Pouce Coupe.

What are your feelings on how Council has handled the incoming legalization of recreational marijuana? Do you support such businesses in Pouce Coupe?

I’m so against illegal drugs.  I don’t see my position changing much when marijuana becomes a legal substance.   Medical marijuana is not an issue for me as it is prescribed by a physician.  I support all businesses in Pouce Coupe, I understand why businesses would like to sell this legal substance, I just have no time for it.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want it.  Just because it will soon be legal, does that mean that we have to provide it?  Just because it will be legal?  I understand I may be in the minority here with regards to marijuana, but that’s ok, what a boring place it would be if we all held the same opinion on everything. 

What are your thoughts on Pouce Park? What should Council do in this regard?

To me, the words Pouce Park and Canada Day Parade/BBQ are synonymous.  You can’t have 1 without the other.  I think that this tradition is worth preserving.  It puts us on the map, we even have tremendous turnout from our suburb – Dawson Creek J

Who doesn’t love a BBQ?

This summer, the Pouce Coupe Library gave up some of its space to accommodate the increasing population at the school. What are your thoughts on the Library? (Is a new library needed, for instance? If so, how?)

If the school needs the space, the school needs the space.  Not a difficult issue.  Do we need a library?  Yes.  If the school can’t accommodate the library, then we will have to find a different spot for it.  Not a difficult issue.

Do you feel that Pouce Coupe needs to do more to attract businesses? If so, what can be done? If not, why not?

Currently, I don’t believe we have any available space to accommodate any new businesses outside of home based businesses.  Until we can accommodate new businesses perhaps the question we need to ask is how can we better assist and accommodate the businesses we currently have?

Does the Village need to expand its boundaries? Why or why not?

Yes, we need to expand our boundaries.  I’m of the belief that if we currently did not receive Fair Share income, then there would be more expenditures then there is income.  The only way to increase income (Outside of increasing taxes for which I am against) is to expand our boundaries, where we can benefit from associated income opportunities.

Do you have any projects in particular that you would like to push for as councillor?

I have an idea that I think makes sense, that I would like to have considered.  We have many families outside of Pouce Coupe who travel through our community to go purchase bulk water in Dawson Creek.  If we had a bulk water station here in Pouce, there would be some obvious benefits:

1)    Less traffic travelling through Pouce Coupe
2)    Less traffic travelling through our school zone
3)    Less time (and expense) for travel for those who drive to get water
4)    Reduced emissions from vehicles
5)    Might as well stop and get a bite to eat seeing as how you are here.

——

Marlene Hebert

Age: 60
Occupation: Braille Transcription, School District #59

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Marlene Hebert and I am seeking a position on our Village Council.
In 1968, our family moved to Pouce Coupe, and on the same street, four generations have made this our home.
School District #59 is my employer and I am presently working in Pouce Coupe Elementary School. In 2019, I will have 40 years of service supporting education.


Why are you running?

I am running because I am a resident of Pouce Coupe. Every municipal election is an opportunity for people to become a candidate, and if elected, serve their community. I am taking this opportunity.

In your opinion, what is the role of a councillor in the Village?

In my opinion, the role of a Councillor in Pouce Coupe is to thoughtfully maintain the function and sustainability of the Village by making decisions based on the needs of this community, while being mindful of the impact.

What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a Councillor for Pouce Coupe?

My qualifications for serving as a Councillor are my fifty-year residency, my vested interest in this community and my previous experience serving on Council. I feel I can be a Councillor with a level of respect, integrity, and authenticity.

Are there any particular issues or local decisions that have you running? Why and what are they?

I am running for Council to have resident representation. As a resident, the decisions made by Council will directly impact everyone, including myself.

What are the three most important issues facing Pouce Coupe?

The three most important issues facing Pouce Coupe are for planned growth. Infrastructure, prioritizing the needs of the Village, and budgeting will need careful consideration and planning.

Matters such as health and education are more provincial matters and business, but are often lumped into municipal politics. What role can a municipal councilor play in health and education when it comes to these institutions in their city?

Matters such as health and education are provincial and as a municipal council, it is our duty to voice the issues our residents are facing by attending pertinent meetings.

Do you feel more policing is needed for Pouce Coupe? If so, do you feel that as a councillor you can do anything about it?

Yes, Pouce Coupe needs more policing, and again, it is our duty to pursue this while being mindful of budgeting.

As years go on, it becomes more expensive to provide even just the same services as in prior years (without improvements), in addition to the costs of projects in a community that intends to keep growing. Do you feel that Council will need to raise taxes for Pouce Coupe residents? (This year, the average house in Pouce Coupe saw a $40 increase in their levy).

Taxes allow a municipality to function and inflation plays a role in having to pass these increments on to taxpayers. Projects passed by Council need to be paid for by taxpayers as well. I feel tax increases for this village could be a strain some could not endure and I hope the $40 increase is enough at this time.

What are your feelings on how Council has handled the incoming legalization of recreational marijuana? Do you support such businesses in Pouce Coupe?

The legalization of marijuana in Canada presented Pouce Coupe Council with a business opportunity to increase our tax base. I feel Canada, as a whole, will incur hurdles, and this includes municipalities. I view this as a frontier business venture and will deal with situations as they occur.

What are your thoughts on Pouce Park? What should Council do in this regard?

Pouce Park is very dear to residents, and I’m sure it was a very painful decision to make it into a day park. The flooding occurring one too many times, leaving future structures uninsurable. So, with little recourse, the day park is a sound financial decision for all of us at this time.

This Summer, the Pouce Coupe Library gave up some of its space to accommodate the increasing population at the school. What are your thoughts on the Library? (Is a new library needed, for instance? If so, how?)

The Pouce Coupe Public Library gave up space to accommodate a growing population within the school temporarily. This library is in a partnership with the school district, and is financially beneficial to us. I feel relocating the library would be a costly endeavour at this time while focus is on the size of the school.

Do you feel that Pouce Coupe needs to do more to attract businesses? If so, what can be done? If not, why not?

Pouce Coupe is open to business opportunities, although the options for locations are limited.

Does the Village need to expand its boundaries? Why or why not?

The Village is looking to increase its tax base by expanding the boundaries. However, the cost of accommodating growth may be very high and outweigh the benefit.

Do you have any projects in particular that you would like to push for as councillor?

I would like to know if our infrastructures are in good standing.

——

Raymond Johnston (incumbent)

Age: 49
Occupation: Parts Technician

Why are you running?

I lived in Pouce Coupe for sixteen years, I raised two of my children there. I want the best for the community and all the residents. If my opinion can help make the Village the best that it can be, I want to be a part of that.

In your opinion, what is the role of a councillor in the Village?

I believe the role of a councillor is to represent the people Pouce Coupe. A councillor can help provide services that would be beneficial to the residents and what they might desire for the community.

What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a councillor for Pouce Coupe?

What qualifies me is that I have served on council for the past four years. I know what the residents are looking for and I care about the village’s future.

What are the three most important issues facing Pouce Coupe?

Important issues to me are the aging infrastructure and the growth of the community.

Does the Village need to expand its boundaries? Why or why not?

Yes, to help with new business attraction and to house our growing community. If we do not expand the Village could become just a bedroom community to Dawson Creek in my opinion.

Do you feel that Pouce Coupe needs to do more to attract businesses? If so, what can be done? If not, why not?

Pouce Coupe does need boundary expansion for industrial and commercial businesses. No land is available at this time. It is difficult to attract new businesses without land to house.

This summer, the Pouce Coupe Library gave up some of its space to accommodate the increasing population at the school. What are your thoughts on the Library? (Is a new library needed, for instance? If so, how?)

I believe the library is an essential service that should continue in Pouce. I believe the library should be in its own building, just because of the different systems between the school district and the library. Our library also cannot be used during school hours for the safety of the children. Moving it to its own building could allow it to be ran with new hours of operation.

What are your feelings on how Council has handled the incoming legalization of recreational marijuana? Do you support such businesses in Pouce Coupe?

I believe the council has handled it well. I support all new business in Pouce Coupe.

Do you feel more policing is needed for Pouce Coupe? If so, do you feel that as a councillor you can do anything about it?

Yes, Pouce Coupe needs more policing. Unfortunately that is out of our hands at this moment. As a councillor as we work through this issue I can suggest a community night watch group.

What are your thoughts on Pouce Park? What should council do in this regard?

The park is a beautiful green space. I believe it should be left as it is. Costs for camping, and to have it run as it once did was not beneficial and caused a loss financially. 

Do you have any projects in particular that you would like to push for as councillor?

A push for me as councillor is he upgrades to our aging infrastructure; for example our sewage, water lines, and street repairs. Also, to accommodate new growth in residential properties. 

—— 

Andre Lavoie
 (incumbent)

Age: 66
Occupation: Councillor Village of Pouce Coupe, Casual Care Aide Dawson Creek & District Hospital

Tell us about yourself.  

I have lived in the Peace Country for 31 years, five of those years have been in Pouce Coupe. It has been been my pleasure to serve Pouce Coupe Residents for the past 4 + years as a Councillor. I am a Veteran who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a french interpreter at CFB Trenton. I worked in Sales/management with Canadian Freightways for 23 years. I have worked at Rotary Manor for over 10 years as a Care Aide. I am also a volunteer for South Peace Hospice Palliative Care Society for the past 15 years. I was their Coordinator for 18 months in 2014/2015. I was appointed by Council to be acting Mayor from January to April 2016. I have been married to Tina for 31 years and we have a daughter Danielle and a son Chris. 

Why are you running?

I looked forward to continue serving the Residents of Pouce Coupe as I have a big heart for the Community. I want to see Pouce Coupe continue to grow and I want to do my part on making that happen. With my past experience on Council and my previous 12 years of experience on Chambers of Commerce, I believe that I would be an asset to Pouce Coupe. 

In your opinion, what is the role of a councillor in Village?

The role of a Councillor of a municipality is to know and follow the Community Charter of BC. We are expected as elected officials to read and understand the Charter. Their are specific
sections for Councillors to follow. We also provide a connection between the residents and Council and represent their views at council meetings.

What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a Councillor for Pouce Coupe?

For the past 4 years on Council, these are some of the portfolios that I have held,
South Peace Health, four years as Director and Alternate Director for Peace River Regional District.(full time for the last two years) Recent Director for Northern Trails Historical Society (involves all Museums in the Peace) I am conscientious, hard working, have the time to serve and will stay connected with the residents on their issues..


Are there any particular issues or local decisions that have you running? Why and what are they?

Our council needs to have continuity of experience Councillors, I would want to add my 4+ years of council experience. I would also want to work towards getting a new Library for Pouce Coupe.

What are the three most important issues facing Pouce Coupe?

These would be Pouce Coupe school ( which is running out of room) Pouce Park and the addictions centre that is being proposed where Peace River Haven is located whereby I would support public consultation.

Matters such as health and education are more provincial matters and business, but are often lumped into municipal politics. What role can a municipal councillor play in health and education when it comes to these institutions in their city?

We play a major role, I have worked since I was elected with other South Peace Mayors, and Regional Directors to get the approved redevelopment of Dawson Creek Hospital.
Our Council are very concerned of how many geriatric patients are in our Hospital waiting placement into Rotary Manor. I have taken this up with Northern Health Board and have had opportunity to discuss this with Minister of Health (Minister Dix) personally in Dawson Creek.
Plans are also in the works to get more Senior housing in Pouce Coupe.

We were also successful with the help of of our local Library Board MLA’S and, School District 59 staff to give up 50 % of our library space so that none of our children would be getting bused to Dawson Creek in September 2018.

Do you feel more policing is needed for Pouce Coupe? If so, do you feel that as a councillor you can do anything about it?

Yes, we do need more policing in Pouce Coupe , we recently met with the RCMP at UBCM
in Whistler and discussed our concerns. We are included with Rural Dawson Creek coverage and we need more service than what that offers for protection of our residents and their properties. We must continue to lobby for more RCMP coverage.

As years go on, it becomes more expensive to provide even just the same services as in prior years (without improvements), in addition to the costs of projects in a community that intends to keep growing. Do you feel that Council will need to raise taxes for Pouce Coupe residents? (This year, the average house in Pouce Coupe saw a $40 increase in their levy).

Council has not discussed any increase taxes for 2019, Admin would have to justify to Council any increases.

What are your feelings on how Council has handled the incoming legalization of recreational marijuana? Do you support such businesses in Pouce Coupe?

We have had two separate Delegations to Council and yes I would support a couple stores selling recreational marijuana. We are in the last stages of putting a bylaw in place, our license fee is set at $2500.00 per year. Specific rules will also have to apply. (drug free Zones) Parks etc.

What are your thoughts on Pouce Park? What should Council do in this regard?

The park needs to be fence, new washroom facility built on higher ground where future flooding will not cause a problem. New fire pits and a seasonal contractor hired for security
purposes is what I would support.

This Summer, the Pouce Coupe Library gave up some of its space to accommodate the increasing population at the school. What are your thoughts on the Library? (Is a new library needed, for instance? If so, how?)

I believe it is needed so that all of our residents can attend at regular hours. The Regional District could assist us with a new library.

Do you feel that Pouce Coupe needs to do more to attract businesses? If so, what can be done? If not, why not?

Yes,Pouce Coupe is open for Business, I would like to see another industrial industry and would work towards that goal for Pouce,

Does the Village need to expand its boundaries? Why or why not?

Yes we do as that is what will build our businesses in the industrial area, also more residential area is needed.
Council has already been working on expanding our boundaries.


Do you have any projects in particular that you would like to push for as councillor?

I would like to see a Daycare at our school but first we need to do a public consultation to see if their a need for it. The Pouce Park as previously mentioned and a new Library. A solar program similar to Hudson Hope where they had a Federal gas tax grant and are now saving approx. $70 thousand dollars a year on their electricity bill. 

——

Barb Smith (incumbent)

Age: OLD
Occupation: Human Resources at Chances

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Pouce Coupe and attended the old Pouce School.  I have raised my family here and now my grandson is being raised in Pouce.  I have been a volunteer for many years before being on council.  This community is a “know your neighbours”, village.  Everyone knows each other.  I love this community!  I have mentors from the past that have shown me how to move our community forward such as Ellen DeWetter and Georgette Waldie. I know the past and am  ready for the future.   

I have previously completed a term as Mayor and almost a term as Councillor.  Was voted in by by-election last term shortly after election.

Why are you running?

I know I still have the leadership skills to help move Pouce Coupe forward.  We have to deal with growth but be a sustainable community.  I do not want our community to left behind to shrivel up and fade away as so many small communities.

In your opinion, what is the role of a councilor in Village?

Role of council is make sure protocol is followed with transparency and accountable.  Have a voice to speak up and bring ideas to the table.  Our residents have to be able to give ideas and as council we are to listen.  Council has to remember that it is the residents’ tax dollars that we are spending and be able to justify financial accountability.

What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a Councillor for Pouce Coupe?

I have the experience and living here gives me an inside look on how we are doing.  I am approachable and always willing to listen.

Are there any particular issues or local decisions that have you running? Why and what are they?

I think the immediate issue is the school.  We need to have a school that all residents can send their children.  With a school at capacity, we have to look at growth with possible future developments.  We have to look at where we can grow in the future.  We do not have any more industrial property.  Many things to look at but we have to consult and listen to any concerns.

What are the three most important issues facing Pouce Coupe?

Growth, Sustainability and keep taxes livable.

Matters such as health and education are more provincial matters and business, but are often lumped into municipal politics. What role can a municipal councilor play in health and education when it comes to these institutions in their city?

We have to unite with other communities and voice our concerns about our health and education. Sometimes it is hard to express our issues because we are so far north and are forgotten. 

Do you feel more policing is needed for Pouce Coupe? If so, do you feel that as a councilor you can do anything about it?

We do need more Policing.

As a counselor we can unite as a strong voice with the Mayor to address our Policing concerns.  Yes we can do something!

As years go on, it becomes more expensive to provide even just the same services as in prior years (without improvements), in addition to the costs of projects in a community that intends to keep growing. Do you feel that Council will need to raise taxes for Pouce Coupe residents? (This year, the average house in Pouce Coupe saw a $40 increase in their levy).

There had not been a big tax increase for a while.  There will be increases but as council we will try to justify all increases.  Village staff has become part of the union because of all the upheaval from previous years.  Those increases have to be  accounted for in our financial plans.  Our staff provides many things to the comfort of our residents.  Pouce has come a long way from a tractor and trailer picking up garbage once a week as I remember as a kid!

What are your feelings on how Council has handled the incoming legalization of recreational marijuana? Do you support such businesses in Pouce Coupe?

We are going to have that business here legal or not legal wither we want it or not.  If we can have control with bylaws where and how these new businesses are situated then at least we are having some growth.  We have some legal recourse with control over this new industry.

What are your thoughts on Pouce Park? What should Council do in this regard?

I would love to have Pouce Park back to the way it was before the floods but can we ask the residents to pay for this.  It will flood again so do we put money into something that we may have to pay for again?  The park will a nice place to go down for a picnic, possibly summer day events but I do not feel we can have the “BIG” July 1st Celebrations as we used to do.  I say this but maybe the residents want to spend money to have the old park back. 

This Summer, the Pouce Coupe Library gave up some of its space to accommodate the increasing population at the school. What are your thoughts on the Library? (Is a new library needed, for instance? If so, how?)

I think to get into discussions about a new Library we would need to consult our residents.

Do you feel that Pouce Coupe needs to do more to attract businesses? If so, what can be done? If not, why not?

I would hope to attract people to Pouce for new businesses by listening.  Where would new businesses go?  We have limited space.  How can we grow to provide this? What do new businesses want?

Does the Village need to expand its boundaries? Why or why not?

Yes we do need to expand as we have consulted residents with our OCP.  We need a plan for growth. 

Do you have any projects in particular that you would like to push for as councillor?

I would like to have an expansion on the school not just for our growth now but for the future.

We have to make Pouce attractable for growth.  Facilities such as our Skateboard park or some kind of sports building to attract people to come to Pouce or to move here.

——

Donna White

I am running in pouce coupe because I love this town and I would love to see  more activities for families . I also hope to be able to enlarge the school at some point as it looks like the enrollment is increasing . The issue with the mariquna seems to be a hot issue . I will need more answers . I am not in favor at this time. But am open to discussion. The park seems to be a bone of contention which I am sorry to hear . I have fond memories  of past barbecues and many other events being held there. I think we will come up with some ideas on that one. Hopefully this answers some of your questions. 

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