Note: This is one in a series of public service blogposts intended to help eligible voters in Kaslo and Area D access as much information about the candidates in this year’s election as possible. The information in this post is solely the responsibility of the candidate. Candidate articles are published in the order they are received. The Kaslo Institute is a non-partisan organization and in no way endorses the content in this post.
Hello North Kootenay Lake, you sure are pretty and full of fun and interesting folks. Friends who were working at Lofsted Farms called me to visit here about a decade ago. I came in late one evening via New Denver and was re-directed to South Fork as soon as I got to town. My friend was staying in a cabin across the river: a picture perfect Kootenay abode with bustling creek, a foot bridge for access and a sauna. Pure heaven. I was in love the moment I arrived. It took me two years, but I managed to make this area my home in 2005.
I want to tell you a bit about my background, but first let me tell you why I want to run for Area D Director.
My approach to being an elected official is that I strongly believe you – the people – are my boss. Government should be the administrator of your needs, such as services for water, waste removal, parks, roads and so on. My job is to listen, find the commonalities and represent you at the table where decisions are made. I do not have a personal agenda short of being able to hear all sides and finding solutions. I feel strongly that to enable generations of success in our region we need to act within a framework of sustainability that accounts for the generations down the road. But being creative with how we can create employment while harnessing this area’s natural beauty is the fun part. We can do this!
As alternate Area D Director for the past three years, I have been on an important learning curve to understand how government works. I have also been immersing myself within the community to learn about what issues are important. I have worked on a variety of issues from being on the hospital board to attending national conferences for all municipalities. I have routinely attended RDCK board meetings with my well-researched notes – asking what Chair Kettle calls “a lot of good questions”.
My priorities are to listen to the people and follow suit with solutions. This includes working with the community of Johnsons Landing to ensure that monitoring actually provides adequate information for understanding risks in the slide area. I will continue to work with the Ministry of Transportation to make sure Highway 31 north is re-surfaced. I will continue to work with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that our meat regulation status is changed so farmers can return to making a living on their farms. I have been talking to Interior Health about 24/7 emergency care being back on the table. Rural residents cannot be unsafe because of administrative issues. We also know that there is sufficient technology to find a solution.
Now, a bit about myself. Before I arrived here I spent 10 years on the west coast studying botany and herbalism, working in health food stores for several years and then onto working on farms. I was very lucky to have worked on several of the most established organic cooperative farms. These farms are more than farms, they are communities of action-orientated people who believe good food is not only worth growing, it was worth fighting for. I worked the fields in the day, the farmers markets on the weekends and met with committees in the evenings. I worked for several non-profits, organized fundraising events and met with government Ministers to talk about marketing boards and organic certification. This was my life for quite some time, until I came to the Kootenays.
North Kootenay Lake is small enough that we can still have what is now a very rare entity: community. Although public discourse can highlight how eclectic, passionate and sometimes downright rude we can be, we are most importantly a very engaged, thought-provoking and connected community. When emergencies hit, all differences are put aside and we come together. This is a true gem.
To be connected is truly a gift we must cherish. Bi cities can be lonely and isolating. Protecting, enhancing and building our capacity as a rural community fuels my passion to work for you.
In short, I am very committed to this community and to seeing Area D prosper in sustainable ways. I am going to listen to all sides to ensure the issues have been understood. I am not shy to speak out, but I know when to listen. To do this will take a lot commitment and stamina and an appetite for wading through the details. I know that this is my specialty.
I would be honored to represent such a diverse, beautiful and lively community as Area D Director.