Tumbler Ridge council candidates - everyone we have so far

 Monty Hendrickson

Age: 35

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Occupation: Plant superintendent at peace river coa 

Tell us about yourself.  I moved to Tumbler Ridge February 2014 with my family. We have 3 kids ages 9, 7 and 4. We moved from Vernon there I was an electrical supervisor working in a sawmill and was president of an Okanagan dirt bike club for 12 years. We originally had come to Tumbler for a 6 – 7 month job constructing a water plant at one of the mines here. That 6 months has turned into almost 5 years. Me, my wife and our kids love Tumbler, its kid friendly, people friendly and pet friendly. I have worked in trades since 2004, I have done construction and maintenance in both electrical and mechanical. I’m not scared of work and like to do whatever I’m doing well.

Why are you running? I care about Tumbler and would like to make it a better place for everyone in the community. I believe there is a lot of potential here for industry and tourism and would like to try and open the door some more to these areas.

 In your opinion, what is the role of a councillor? To represent your community with integrity, respect and compassion.

What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a Councillor for Tumbler Ridge? My commitment to Tumbler. I have management experience in a large company. Ran and operated my own small business and the passion I have for community.

Are there any particular, specific, issues or local decisions that have you running? Why and what are they? There is a real need for healthcare and education improvements here in Tumbler. This leads to people not staying in Tumbler. In order to grow Tumbler and have more business’s we need more population to stay and live long term.  

What are the three most important issues facing Tumbler Ridge? One of the biggest issues right now is the current Cariboo state. Upper governments have threatened to go as far as shutting down the back country around Tumbler. Another issue we have is the healthcare, Tumbler healthcare is lacking staff and funding. The third biggest issue we face is education. We lack certified teachers in elementary and secondary schools, it would be great to offer incentive packages ether in housing, cash or free use to the facilities.

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? As a municipal councillor you have to keep the pressure on the provincial government to make the improvements needed. There are incentives I would like to provide to the professionals and teachers that would consider coming to Tumbler.  

It’s easy to suggest projects, or improvements to services, but it all costs money and the City has a limited budget. Do you believe the District has to raise taxes in order to do what you feel needs to be done? Or do you feel there are services that can be cut? Why or why not?  I think it really depends on the size of the project or service. If it’s something like free public skating or swimming I don’t think it would make a big enough cash flow flux that we would need to increase taxes or cut other services. On the other hand services like curb side pickup for recycling would have a large enough cost it would greatly affect the budget and may require at least a small tax increase or look at cutting other services that may be obsolete or not required.

How do you see industry, small business, and non-profits’ relationship with the District?

I feel they all need each other in one way or another. The non-profits really bring the community together, providing great things for everyone in the community. The Small business benefit from the groups of people that come into tumbler for events, tourism and conferences from the non-profits. The industry benefits from both because without the non-profit and small business there would be a small amount of local employees they could draw from and would be forced to pay large amounts of money for outside employment.

How do you balance the push for economic growth and environmental sustainability?

It’s Council job to ensure prosperity for the community and protect the area so it is still stable for our children and grandchildren.

Explain the issue with caribou conservation and how it affects your community. What are your ideas on the matter? The issue is the woodland caribou numbers have be declining for years and the provincial and federal government wants to look at drastic measures to try and recover the numbers. If this goes through like they are talking they want it to go through this will devastate the future of Tumbler Ridge. It will prevent much of the industry we really on to continue past the current permits they operate on, and eventually all industry in the area will be shut down and moved on. As well as the vast back country that Tumbler is well known for will be shut down. I believe there are much better options and there has been other options done in the past for similar things.   

Should the District of Tumbler Ridge fund the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation? Why or not? I think the district should eventually fund the museum again but there needs to be changes. My kids have been there once and never have asked to go back. There needs to be more focus on bringing people in repeatedly.

What can Chetwynd/Tumbler Ridge do to attract more business? Work together to keep the back country open to industry and recreation.

If elected, what steps will you take to put Tumbler Ridge on firmer financial footing?

Minimize overspending on projects

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

Anything that benefits the town with in financial reason.

 

Stacey Lajeunesse

 
I was born and raised in Dawson Creek and began mining in Tumbler Ridge after my graduation in 1982. I started realizing at a very young age that most people make their living off the vast resources in the environment, whether it’s farming, mining, oil and gas, tourism or forestry. I am very aware of the need of finding a healthy balance between industrial development and environmental protection. After the Quintette mine closure in 2000, I returned to school, to obtain a small business management degree in tourism and after achieving that, spent 15 years working for BC Parks as a facility operator. Managing both Gwillim Lake and Monkman Provincial Parks, then moving on to the Lions Flatbed campground in Tumbler Ridge. I a member of the Lions Club and support both the Community Garden and TR Cares non-profit organizations. I also sit as a director on both the TR Community Forest and the Canfor Public Advisory boards. I grew up roaming around the entire Peace River area and have a pretty good understanding of the region. I have a huge interest in medicine, both conventional and alternative as well as Indigenous cultural practices. I spend numerous hours volunteering for various community and youth activities and have a lot of respect and concern for issues seniors face, within the region.    

What excites me the most about Tumbler Ridge, is the tenacity of the people and its beautiful natural surroundings. Balancing development and environmental protection will certainly be a challenge, but also achievable. I see multiple opportunities for economic diversification, so my passion is to  see the community grow, stimulates my enthusiasm and drive, to help move the community towards a more sustainable economy. This is what makes  me a good candidate for council.

What I believe to be one of my best attributes for council, is my experience and success in the tourism industry and my connection to the people. My willingness to get involved and work hard, not only as a volunteer and advocate for improving the quality of life here, but also as a business oriented person, is another quality of mine. I’m more of a giver than a taker, so my motivation is to see the community thrive.

The three main issues I’d like to work on, would be tourism development, affordable housing for seniors and low income residents and better use of our community forest. All three of which, could help to stabilize our economy during resource sector downturns. We have certainly gained a reputation over the years, from all the hard work of past councils and community service clubs, as being a vibrant and friendly destination. Building on that, will be a primary goal of mine. Lobbying to be heard on issues like the caribou conservation project, which I believe Teck and the Moberly Lake First Nation organization have done a wonderful job on. It would be worthwhile to lobby to be heard on this issues to see what we can do to enhance the programs success. There is no reason in my mind, why the caribou should be impacted any further than they already have, with the vastness of our backcountry. Working towards proven strategies that allow for industrial development and environmental integrity, can certainly happen here. Fostering an environment where people can contribute in a positive manner that puts the environment first, will be a main focus for me on council.

We have a strong volunteer base here, that can certainly be improved and should be recognized more for their contributions to the community. Volunteers do what they do, because they love their town. The reality however, is that it costs money to run their programs. The benefit though, is that they often do it for a fraction of the cost that the municipality has to spend. Money that could be better spent on other improvements. Working closely with these service clubs, to build on their programs, while freeing up budgets and getting youth more involved in their community, will be a primary focus for me. I’d would like to see the restorative justice program re-implemented here,by working with our young dedicated RCMP officers, that are passionate about seeing youth succeed. After speaking with them, I can say that they’re ready and willing to help make this happen.  

My experience in the mining, tourism, agriculture and the forestry industries, has developed in me, an understanding of development and conservation. I see many things that can be inexpensively improved around the town and area. Encouraging and supporting development in all four sectors, should occur here. I believe a more cooperative and collaborative approach between non-profits, businesses and industry, should occur, in order to get people to collectively start using the empty spaces we see downtown. I strongly believe that First Nation and unrecognized indigenous communities, should also be involved in this process, as a gesture of reconciliation and economic advancement.

Tumbler Ridge could become a shining model for long term economic sustainability and development, by balancing current practices with new technologies and by implementing and applying proven best practices.

I am confident I am able to make a positive contribution to the further of Tumbler Ridge and will work diligently towards the welfare of it’s citizens. 

 

Chris Norbury

Age: 34

Occupation: Librarian

 Tell us about yourself.

I have always had a passion for caring for people and wanted to devote my life to doing what I can to be a good role model for our youth.

Before moving to Tumbler Ridge I had the great opportunity to care for at risk youth and teenagers with severe autism.

My wife and I moved to Tumbler Ridge because of a great opportunity for her to teach at Tumbler Ridge Secondary School. I brought with me some transferable skills and was given the chance to continue in my passion for caring for others by becoming the out of school care leader at the Tumbler Ridge Children’s Care Society (TRCCS). Over the course of four years I built great relationships with school aged children, their parents, and even many of the younger children enrolled in preschool and the daycare. It was an amazing experience and I have the privilege of still being engaged with the TRCCS by offering a weekly story time, attending their board meetings, and working together on the Success by Six board. 

I then started the best chapter of my life: joining the TR Public Library. Since joining the library I have found new inspiration for helping people and growing community through both children’s and adult’s programming. At the TR Public Library I host children’s programs ranging from singing songs with parents and babies, to building literacy at story times, and even challenging kids (and some adults) in hosting Lego Challenges. For adults I have helped many by revamping their resumes, building cover letters, and helping them look for work, many of whom are gainfully employed today. Because of a love for libraries and what they do for communities I am half way  towards obtaining a Library Technician Diploma online.

Through the TR Public Library I have found a love for volunteerism. I sit on three boards: TR Success by Six, TR Arts Council, TR Community Forest, and I attend some TRCCS board meetings. Through these boards and my role at the library I feel I have a close connection with the community and I want to advocate for all people at the municipal level.

What I stand for:

Advocating for families 

Supporting our local economy 

Maintaining and supporting our health centre

Investing in ourselves 

 

Why are you running?

Through my work at the TR Public Library I have met people from many different backgrounds and I understand who our residents are and what their needs are. I take an active approach in being involved in our community through volunteerism, work, and play, and I now want to represent all our residents needs at the municipal level.

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

 We need to represent the public and advocate for their interests and needs. We recognize issues and gaps in our service delivery, create policies, set budgets and service levels to solve these issues.

We then explain these decisions to the public and hold ourselves and staff responsible by monitoring our results.

 

What do you feel qualifies you to serve as a Councillor for Tumbler Ridge? 

At the Library and through my volunteer efforts I meet a large spectrum of our population and I understand the barriers they face, and our strengths as a community.

I sit on multiple boards in our community: TR Community Forests, TR Success by Six, TR Community Arts Council, and I occasionally attend the Tumbler Ridge Children’s Care Society meetings.

I have been attending council meetings for the last four years and feel confident in my ability to follow the procedure for meetings, their scope of practice, and how to create change at that level to affect positive change in our community.

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

I wouldn’t say there is a specific issue locally that has me running. I recognize the needs of our community and I want to help address these issues and come up with solutions using all the resources our town has to offer (our organizations, societies, volunteers, and businesses).

 

What are the three most important issues facing Tumbler Ridge?

Our need for more medical services in town

Growing our local economy and diversifying our industries

Supporting our Non-profit organizations and volunteers

 

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?

I believe we can be advocates for our Health Centre staff to get them the tools they need to provide the best service they can. I also believe we can think outside the box to create solutions to our staffing issues and access to needed medical care.

I think helping partner our educational institutions with local groups to enhance their programs. Our high school is an amazing example of bringing the community together through their amazing programs such as the fish farm, and go kart projects and many of the non-profit societies and local businesses work together to educate our youth through new and fun initiatives.

It’s easy to suggest projects, or improvements to services, but it all costs money and the City has a limited budget. Do you believe the District has to raise taxes in order to do what you feel needs to be done? Or do you feel there are services that can be cut? Why or why not?

Tumbler Ridge is in a great position financially; our role is to decide on the best use of our funds and what level of service delivery is needed to approach our issues.

We can be proud that TR has some of the lowest tax rates across the province and we provide an amazing level of service for our residents. Looking at our financial statements, I believe we can do even more for our residents but it’s a matter of how to best spend our tax dollars.

What are your feelings on how Council has handled the incoming legalization of recreational marijuana? 

I feel that council has done an adequate job preparing for the upcoming marijuana legislation by setting an area where marijuana use will be prohibited, and we’re now in the public input period of allowing a non-medical cannabis retail store to operate in our town.

How do you see industry, small business, and non-profits’ relationship with the District?

I feel as councillors we need to support all of these organizations to succeed. In regards to industry, we need to show them we are a wise investment for them as we will do what we can to support them as they bring jobs to our region and economy. For small businesses, we need to offer them support and education on what our local economy needs and can support, and how to remain sustainable in the future. 

Our nonprofits are the lifeblood of our community, they provide many great services to our community and we get a great return of investment on them.

How do you balance the push for economic growth and environmental sustainability?

It is a delicate balance; we will always work towards what is a balance between TR, its residents, and the environment.

Many of the projects moving forward have protecting the environment in mind through both government legislation and hiring of environmental personnel. We need to continue to support projects and groups that will bring economic growth to TR by aiding them in working to maintain our environment and our natural areas.

Explain the issue with caribou conservation and how it affects your community. What are your ideas on the matter?

We are facing an issue of losing our caribou populations and we need to start working with everyone in our region on how we can help the herds recover and prosper.

The Treaty 8 First nations has had success with reintroducing calves into the Klinse-za herd through their penning efforts in which they have increased the herd size from ~40-62. I think the groundwork has been started and we can continue down this path. I would like to see if this can be duplicated and what other efforts can we introduce to help grow the caribou herd.

Revelstoke has also seem success in their penning project so I think this is a good way to make sure calves have a higher survival chance in their younger years, but I think we need to also work with local industry in how we can protect their mountain habitats, and ease of access to these habitats by predatory animals, because that is where they are being killed most by predatory animals.

Should the District of Tumbler Ridge fund the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation? Why or not?

I absolutely support the TR Museum Foundation. My vision for the TR Museum is for it to become a must see attraction and for TR to continue to bring worldwide recognition to TR, BC, and Canada. The TR Museum receives funding from both the District of TR and the PRRD but I feel there should be a third source of funding for the museum and we should keep working towards finding the source of that funding. I look forward to working with the museum in the future and the great things it will continue to bring to TR.

What can Chetwynd/Tumbler Ridge do to attract more business? 

Tumbler Ridge has already taken the right steps to promote tourism, grow our existing businesses, and try to attract new businesses by having an open-for-business approach. We need to continue down this path by trying to grow business that will complement our growing tourism industry. We also should promote use and expansion of our digital marketplace for businesses to have the best chance for success.

Looking at possible industry expansion should also be at the top of our list moving forward to diversify our economy.

If elected, what steps will you take to put Tumbler Ridge on firmer financial footing?

 In looking at the financial statements, It should be noted that we are on great financial footing, but that aside we should always look at expanding our tax bases to allow us to have a higher service level.

Our staff is amazing at finding grants and other sources of funding to providing some of the highest service levels available for our residents.

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

My biggest push is that I feel we have two issues that we can solve with one solution: our need for more recreation facilities and room for our Children’s Centre.  I want to look at expansion or creation of a new space to allow for enhanced services in both of these areas. 

 

Will Howe

I’m Will Howe and I’m looking for your support in my bid for Re-election for council in the District of Tumbler Ridge. 

As a 5 year old child, my family and I moved to the newest community in Canada in the summer of 1984, from Newfoundland and Labrador.  My father (Gord) had already been here a short while and was employed by Quintette.  Over the years, my mother (Marg), my brother (Jon) and I were all eventually employed by the mine.

I completed all my schooling here in Tumbler Ridge from K-12. .  From a young age, I always had an interest in business, starting my first business in Tumbler Ridge (a dog walking business) at the age of 10.  As a young man, I worked in the grocery store, the mines, the oil and gas and for the District of Tumbler Ridge.  I dabbled in environmental science and financial management in post-secondary, but later decided on my career path in the trades as a Mobile Crane Operator.  Despite finding myself always drawn back to Tumbler Ridge, I left town in 2000 to finish my trade in Fort St. John that eventually led me to Ft. McMurray.  In 2006, I made the decision to move back to Tumbler Ridge, my home.  The following year I started my own crane company (Grizzly Crane Ltd) and eventually sold my business to the company I currently work for as branch manager NCSG Crane & Heavy Haul Services.

I feel I’m a well-rounded individual with a wide range of knowledge and experience to benefit our community.  As a contractor I have the unique advantage of working in all of Tumbler Ridge’s major industries. I’ve worked at all seven of the coal mines around town, the oil and gas industry, all five Wind Parks in our area, the forestry sector, and in various Tourism and town upgrades.  I’m a family man, and a proud supporter and volunteer coach of Tumbler Ridge Minor Hockey.  I am an active member of Tumbler Ridge Old timers Hockey league and The Tumbler Ridge Outdoorsman Association. I have been a member of the Tumbler Ridge Golf Course since a young age and remember helping my father build the course.  I love the outdoors, hunting, fishing, boating, camping and ATVing.

 My first term on council was busy and exciting, with so much to learn and so many major impacts on our community.   In 2014, we had major unemployment and Tumbler was really on its knees.  Through great fortunes we saw the opening of three new major employers in our area with, Conuma Coal Resources opening three mines, Pattern Energy opening its Meikle Wind Project, and the newly completed, Boralex, Moose Lake wind project.  Along with our existing major employers, these new employers have started to lay the foundation for exponential population growth.  We made great strides in maintaining and upgrading our infrastructure with major improvements in our public works equipment and vehicle fleet, road, sidewalk, and walking path replacement, new lighting upgrades in all buildings and street lights, a major overhaul of our sewage lagoon and treatment facility and many other great improvements. We saw the establishment of our Geopark and good things happening for our newly focused on tourism industry.  Things are absolutely headed in the right direction for Tumbler Ridge.

 With all these great things happening in TR, we do have a few issues we must continue to work on.   A major hurdle lies in our path with the Provincial government looking at limiting all user access in to our back country to try to help the struggling Mountain Caribou herds.  This could affect any new mines, wind projects, gas exploration, pipelines, rail expansion, tourism, hiking, ATVing, Snowmobiling, pretty much any reason why we live and work in our area.  In the short term, this in my opinion needs to be this council’s first and upmost priority.  Without Industry and our recreation, our population will almost cease to exist in our beautiful community.

My vision for Tumbler Ridge is to help create a more diverse economy and help bring new industries to town that will complement those industries that are helping to build this community. I want to see a further increase to our population, and businesses to serve that increase.  Increasing our population is crucial for not only Tumbler Ridge’s survival but also for its growth.  I want more residential, acreages, and commercial properties made available, for those looking for options to move here or start a business here.  I want to remove the barricades that stop potential growth. I want to make the process to acquire land easier, and have people think of the District as a group who helps to get projects off the ground rather than one who hinders development, be it a garage, fence, house, or even a new mine or well site.  If you want to see growth in Tumbler Ridge through industry and new business, I urge you to cast your ballet, and re-elect me on October 20th 2018.  Will Howe- the Will to take on challenges, and the Howe to do it.

 

If you are running for council in Tumbler Ridge, and do not see any information written about you but have some - please send it to reporter@dcdn.ca or editor@dcdn.ca immediately, and also leave a message at 250-782-4888 ext. 112. Thanks. 

 

 

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