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Tumbler Ridge mayoral race: Jerrilyn Schembri

Tell us about yourself. A little about me and my experience. I am the proud mother of five beautiful children and 14 amazing grandkids, they are my heart. Family is very important to me.
"We need to be in places to make connections with business/industry who are looking to relocate."

Tell us about yourself.

A little about me and my experience. I am the proud mother of five beautiful children and 14 amazing grandkids, they are my heart. Family is very important to me. I have been involved in local government politics at various levels since the early 2000’s including Tumbler Ridge Council and the Peace River Regional District as an Electoral Area Director.

As you will see in the partial list below I have vast experience and am ready to take on any challenge. But I believe one of the things makes me a mgreat choice is the people in my life. I’m am fortunate to have amazing, supportive, influential and hard working people surrounding me...Stronger Together!


* Conuma Coal Public Relations (current)

* Former Chamber of Commerce Executive Director (past)

* Grant Writer



* Appointed to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Standing

Committees (Rural, Northern and Remote, Community Safety/Crime

Prevention, Environmental Issues/Sustainable Industrial

Development (past)

Elected Director at Large Union of British Columbia Municipalities


* Area E Director for the Peace River Regional District and Vice Chair


* Vice President North Central Local Government Association (past)

* Elected President of the BC Library Trustees Association (current)

* Vice Chair of the Lakeview Credit Union (current)

* Chair of the South Peace Economic Development Committee (past)

* Canadian Red Cross Disaster Services (Trainer and Responder)


* Provincial Mobile Support Team (Disaster response) (current)

* Former Coordinator Police Victim Services (past)

* Trained NOVA (National Organization of Victim Assistance)

responder (Current)

* Vice Chair Tumbler Ridge Museum Society Board (current)

* Chair of the TR Ministerial (current)

* Tumbler Ridge Youth Services Society Volunteer (past)

* Over 10 years as Race Director for the Emperors Challenge half

marathon (current)

* Grizfest Volunteer

* Volunteer Grant Writer (current)

* Restorative Justice Facilitator (past)

*Citizens on Patrol (past)

* Compassion Canada Advocate (current)

* Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society Member (current)


* Social Work (NLC/UNBC)

* Emergency Management (JIBC*)

* Critical Incident Stress Management (JIBC)

* Conflict Resolution/Mediation (JIBC)

* Certified Victim Services Worker (JIBC)

* Local Government Certificate Program

* Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Certificate


Why are you running?

I want to create a collaborative working environment where each person who is elected feels supported and safe and has an equal and respected voice in the decision making process. I want to represent the community’s interests, not my own interests.

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

Councillors are part of the team that sets policy and advocates for their community.

What do you feel qualifies you to serve on council for Tumbler Ridge?

I’m running for MayorI believe with my connections, my leadership style and my passion to serve this community (Tumbler Ridge), I can lead a team that moves to create an environment where people feel safe and supported in Tumbler Ridge so we can all begin working towards a common goal, and that is to see Tumbler Ridge prosper and be the best place to live, work and play because I believe that we are Stronger Together!!!

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

I believe Tumbler Ridge will be facing a lot of external issues that require a strong voice  for the community now and into the next few years. These include the Caribou issue as well as the present government revamping the Environmental Assessment regulations… these are things that Tumbler Ridge needs to be at the table for and have a strong, knowledgable voice representing them. There is also the ORV/ATV issue that needs to be figured out. It seems we get to a certain point and then it stalls.

What are the three most important issues facing Tumbler Ridge?

The Caribou issue and the Environmental Assessment revamp. There are local issues surrounding volunteers and volunteer organizations that need to be faced. Our volunteers have built Tumbler Ridge and we need to ensure that they are treated respectfully and have the resources they require to be successful.

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?

The job municipal  government can play is advocacy, advocacy, advocacy. Staying informed and then advocating for the community.

It’s easy to suggest projects, or improvements to services, but it all costs money and the District 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 believe that we are currently in a fairly good place financially in Tumbler Ridge. I think with the current tax rates and the services that are currently in place we will manage.

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

I think that the current council has tried to deal with this in a way that leaves room for movement as nothing is set in stone yet. This will be ongoing and a learning process for all involved.

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

I think industry has a good relationship with the District. Having served as the Chamber of Commerce Executive Director until Feb. 2018, I know that business and non-profit relationships will require work.

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

I think Tumbler Ridge is in a unique position. We have been designated a UNESCO  Global Geopark so it seems that those economic growth and environmental sustainability seem to work very well together. There seems to be a good balance currently.

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

The concern is that the current Recovery Strategy could have a very negative impact on not only our trail systems in TR but also industry. As our trails and industry are the foundation to Tumbler Ridge, we have to be very involved in this discussion. We must ensure that we have healthy RESPECTFUL relationships with the First Nations in our area, as this has a huge impact on them as well. We need to ensure that we are part of provincial and federal conversations that are being held on the Caribou issue. Because Tumbler Ridge has so much to lose if this is not done properly. If you read any articles or listen to the experts on Caribou, you will find that things are changing quickly and the question needs to be ask regularly....what is causing the reduction in numbers? Is it predators? environmental issues? humans? changes in habitat? I will say that I would be tenacious in making sure Tumbler Ridge has a say in this process. The other thing that no one seems to be addressing is the revamping of the EA process which could have an equal and possibly greater impact on our Northern industries and businesses.

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

One of the things I have issue with as far as government is concerned is when they  begin funding something, supporting something and then withdraw funding and drop what ever it was…spending tax payers dollars on something that turns out to be nothing. I would point to the HST as a prime example…putting something in place, spending millions of tax payers dollars and then dropping it. That to me is throwing money into the wind. What we need to remember is that taxes come from single parents struggling to make ends meet, young families starting out, seniors….we need to treat their tax dollars respectfully and show what we have done with them and that we have spent them to give them a higher quality of life.

Do I believe we should fund the Museum Foundation? Unequivocally yes! We have started down the road, we have built it into a internationally recognized facility and now is not the time to walk away from it. It is one of the pillars of the Geopark bringing international attention to Tumbler Ridge…this can only serve to benefit the community.

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

One of the things we need to do in Tumbler Ridge is work at building a strong Chamber of Commerce. The BC Chamber of Commerce is the largest and broadly-based business organization in B.C. Right now the Tumbler Ridge Chamber is not operational due to funding issues and lack of board members. The local Chamber of Commerce works hand in hand with the BC Chamber. We currently have mining, tourism, wind and some oil and gas in Tumbler Ridge and there is room for much more industry. One of the igreat off shoots of attracting industry/manufacturing is when you have industry and manufacturing you will also have small business to support the industry. The other way to attract business/industry is to spend time making connections. We need to be in places to make connections with business/industry who are looking to relocate. TIf elected, what steps will you take to put CTumbler Ridge on firmer financial footing?

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

I guess my idea about being a Mayor or a Councillor is that I’m not here to represent my interests but the interests of my community. Priorities for me are relationship building and facing outside issues such as Caribou and EA revamps head on and making sure we are heard.