Your Candidates: Valemount & McBride Councillor

The following people are running for office in McBride but did not respond by deadline: Acclaimed councillors: Allan M Frederick for councillor, Lucille A Green for councillor, Rosemary J Hruby for councillor. The following people are running for the position of councillor in Valemount but did not respond by deadline: Donalda MacLean.


Hollie Blanchette

Position sought: Valemount Councillor

After moving to Valemount, a friend and I worked for about two years attempting to have a Provincial Prison here in Valemount. The jobs would have been full time, pensioned and offered a lot of off-shoots for Valemount. That was the start of my interest in local politics and being involved to a different degree.

Valemount like all communities is facing issues that require immediate attention. One of the great things about Valemount is that everyone is involved in our growth and well-being. Volunteering is a remarkable strength that we have here.

Affordable housing is critical. The affordable housing committee has been working hard tackling this issue. A consultant is working on potential sites on Village property that this council has donated in principle. We know that the provincial government has allocated funds towards this problem and we need to be sure we jump at every chance there is for funding. Zoning and building practices need to be looked at. We need to lighten the regulations so building a secondary unit or a detached mother-in-law unit is not such a daunting task. We need to adapt to changing times and realize that some rules and regulations need to be looked at and updated. We need remember that our citizens are our partners.

Living wage jobs. Full time employment at a wage that allows for the purchasing of a home if desired.  It is not uncommon here for people to have two – three part time jobs… does not leave time for much else. Living wages would bring medical staff (which we are in need of nurses), entrepreneurs,  developers, all helping to grow our Village. Working with employers, government and chambers of commerce to make these changes is key. We have to be relentless. Incentives for businesses is important. Living Wage for Families campaign, Expanded Rental Assistance Program (RAP), Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters Program (Safer)… just a few programs that are in place that we need to really look into and see how we can benefit from.

We all know  these issues and others, (air quality, infrastructure, transportation), will not be solved overnight. As long as we have dedicated, driven, passionate people working on them, together we can  make a difference. When everyone in a community is prosperous, the community is prosperous… For the past 7 years on council I have been determined to make a difference. President of the Robson Valley Community Services (previously known as RVSS), Chair of the Valemount & Area Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair of Northern Healths Healthier Committee, Child and Youth Mental Health, Elder-care, are just a few committees and boards I am on. These keep me grounded with our community. We have great challenges, but we also have great opportunities.

Albert Einstein once said “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

Thank you

Hollie Blanchette

250-566-9095

hblanchette@valemount.ca


Sheri Gee

Position sought: Valemount Councillor

At one time in my life, I was a high school dropout and a single mother. In 2004, I went to college and earned my Community Support Worker Diploma and began working in the addictions/recovery field. After meeting my husband, I made the decision to move to Valemount to be with him, and I have never looked back. Giving back to my community has been paramount in my life. I joined the Valemount Legion as a member, and later as an executive member. After I became a Canadian Ranger, I was tasked with starting a Junior Canadian Ranger patrol for the youth of Valemount. In 2018, we have 20 youth enrolled in the program. Most recently, I became a member of the Valemount Food Bank. I’ve worked at the local coffee shop, hardware store and the bank. My most recent career change brought me to the Robson Valley Community Services where I currently work as an Outreach Worker.

The needs of Valemount are complex and varied. My job as a councillor is to represent and work for the people who elected me into office. My personal views are only one voice in what is best for community as a whole. I want people to know that I am willing to listen to what their concerns and views are, and I will ensure their voices are heard in office. The community concerns I am aware of, and will advocate for, are strengthening our medical services, increasing affordable housing options, supporting and growing sustainable employment opportunities and increasing more supportive care for our seniors.

In March of this year, my husband experienced a life threatening medical emergency that took us out of the community for 21 days. A fundraising dinner was held for us and the response was overwhelming. We were both very awed and humbled by the amount of support we received from everyone and it re-fired my inner passion to give back to my community. I believe my life experience and career allow me to better understand the unique demographics of all community members.


Eugene Jamin

Position sought: Valemount councilor

Indonesia is my place of birth. My Dutch parents moved the family to Holland and not long after came to Canada. After studying in Ottawa for four years, Monique and I landed in Valemount 45 years ago with the desire to belong to a community of people and to build a better place both within and without.

Both of us were and are involved within our church and our community. One such venture was a committee that tried to address the future of Valemount when Slocan Forest Products first shut its doors. That resulted in a survey sent out to the residents of Valemount which had a good response.

Today, my first passion is our youth and I’m involved in the Junior Canadian Rangers program. I am always overwhelmed how kids respond with a lot of love and care with little effort on my part. There is also the Legion in which my time and effort goes into, the primary objective being serving veterans first and then seniors. The Valemount Geothermal Society is another area of interest towards a brighter future for our town. Monique and I are also involved with our church.

First issue I see is housing and I don’t think there is one solution. I have heard of tiny houses and unsure of their status in Valemount. I want to know more about the concerns and possible benefits in tiny houses. There are co-ops, but they require most tenants to buy into the running of and maintenance of the co-op. There is housing based on percentage of income rather than market value. No easy solution exists in this area and I am willing to learn as much as I can. This is more than a one-person job. Included also are more options for our aging. Can we provide higher levels of care?

Employment is another area. In this, I favor local business efforts. I applaud efforts like our brewery, our bakery, the efforts to recycle more materials and the local businesses that provide goods and services. Very welcome is the announcement of a possible sawmill from Valemount Community Forest. I think of Nelson that has very few chain stores in its boundaries. There is also our bike park that many come to enjoy. Tourism does provide jobs, but they tend to be low end jobs for the most part. The geothermal project holds some promise for our future but Borealis is not revealing much of their progress. The spinoffs from this heat could hold much promise.

My answer lies in the work ahead. Much needs to be done and I have already rolled up my sleeves to contribute. And it is not me but each of us that can make a difference. The days of Lone Rangers are of limited value. I believe I work well with others. I choose to seek common goals. I want to be part of a council built on mutual respect and cooperation.


Pete Pearson

Position sought: Valemount Councillor

My name is Pete Pearson and I moved to the Village of Valemount in 1998. My wife Kerry and her two sons moved here in 2005 and we were married here in 2008. I recently retired from a 34-year career with CN Rail and have taken a part-time position at the Canoe Valley Recreation Centre.

In my time here in Valemount I have served on many committees and boards. I am a 31-year Legion member and am currently serving my 7th term as President of Branch 266 and also serve as Deputy Zone Commander for the Central BC Zone of the Royal Canadian Legion.

If elected I am willing to listen, learn and fight for Valemount as a part of a team of individuals with the same goal, a healthy, safe and vibrant community. I have been interested in local politics for several years. Being retired, I now have the time to put towards the position and I feel this is a very important time in our Village to help with decisions guiding our future.

Moving forward, I feel there are several issues that will impact the Village’s future. Bringing any sustainable industry into town that will create jobs that pay a wage that allows people to buy or build their own home or rent a suitable family home. Keeping our tax rates at a point where seniors can continue to live in their homes. Affordable rental housing to support our tourism industry jobs that pay minimum wage. All of these are issues we need to look at.

I think we, as a Village, have to prepare for change. We need to welcome new people and ideas and try to find ways to keep them here. Personally, I would love to see an extended care facility that would allow our seniors and Veterans to remain in the Community they love rather than being relocated. This would bring professional people and salaries to town as well.

I look forward to the challenges ahead if elected.


Rita Rewerts

Position sought: Valemount councillor

Raised in Saskatchewan, I moved to BC after a visit. I loved the forests and mountains.  After working a few years in the corporate world, I decided a career in health care was for me. Over the years, I worked in a variety of health care fields and continued on at university drawn to the social and earth sciences. Moving to Valemount, and wanting a break from health care, I went to work in the hospitality industry, learning about tourism when it was just becoming an industry here, and business management. When the mill started layoffs, I took an Executive job with a Chamber of Commerce which entailed community economic development, delivering Community Futures programs and operating tourism centres. During this time, I was also the Chair of a Northern Health Advisory Committee and sat on the Northern Interior Tourism Board. Retirement brought me back to Valemount and volunteering.

The 2 most important issues: Housing and Life Affordability

With 4 generations living in this community, my family, as do others, want to continue to build a life here. They, like so many others, are seeking to buy homes here and to work where they live.  With housing prices overly inflated and jobs which do not pay enough to save and live, it at times seems impossible but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are solutions. Anything is possible for a strong resilient community like Valemount. The reality is we have access to numerous funding streams to help us along the way and the climate for housing strategies provincially is good. Partnerships and funding can be found in that area. From seeking secondary industries – they do exist- to implementing new and innovative housing strategies and model, remedies are available.

People in the community need to be heard, their voices and knowledge amplified. It is this community’s people who have stepped up and furthered the tourism industry. Partnerships between organizations and organizations and local government have been the primary economic drivers. However, the relationship between non-profits and municipal government needs to be enhanced.

This community endured the economic downturn with the mill closure because the people in it worked hard to live their lives on their terms, and make their community a success. Municipal government can now do more. As a Councillor, I would work towards non-profit organizations having as much of a voice at the governance table as business does. Non-profits in this community employ a large sector of the community with living wages, not service industry wages, and should be respected for being the foundation of this community’s tourism success, and for making life livable.

From the creation of a secondary industry beyond tourism, alternative energy projects, affordable housing solutions and the continued enhancements for destination tourism attractions, also underway, our future is positive and bright because we have been and are doing it together as a community. Municipal government and its committees need to work with all aspects of the community and success will be assured.


Nathan Smith

Position sought: Valemount Councillor

About Myself: Many of you reading this may already know of me. I was born and raised in Valemount and graduated class of ‘96. For those of you who are not acquainted, my family has lived in Valemount and the surrounding area since my great grandfather homesteaded here after crossing the country overland as a surveyor for the Canadian National Railway.

Since graduating from secondary school I have worked in youth outreach and then mostly in construction as a Labourer/Carpenter/Concrete Finisher sometimes lead hand on residential, commercial and civil projects before returning to school to complete basic training for Aircraft Maintenance Engineering.

I think that the biggest issues facing Valemount currently are best listed in point form:

Housing Development: I think that some of the challenges we face in this area could be addressed by stratifying a portion of our real estate market such that it is effectively coupled to the earning potential of residents who live and work more than 6 months a year within our municipality and Region H.

Air Quality: I would like explore avenues to ameliorate the current situation of winter inversions and non-compliant wood stoves. I would like to see government/local business and home owners split the upfront cost of compliance and share in the mutual longterm benefit of lowered fuel consumption/healthcare resource burden/lost time due to sickness.

Senior Care: We need to have a conversation about how to address senior care moving forward in the next 10-20 yrs. This is going to be a major resource bottleneck in the future.

Diversification of Industry: We cannot make the mistake of putting all our economic eggs in one basket again as we did in the past with forestry.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to thank all those who have encouraged me to run in this election and all those who have messaged me or engaged with me on social media. I feel that regardless of whether I am elected or not, this experience will force me to develop and uncover abilities that I may not have accessed till now.

I would not be who I am without all of you. I am eternally grateful.


Diane Smith

Acclaimed position: McBride Councillor

I moved here in 2007 from 100 Mile House. I have 3 children and three grandchildren. My bonus family from marrying Don Smith include 3 children and 3 grandchildren and now great grandchildren. I worked at BC Tel(Telus). I have always been involved in volunteerism. I am presently a director on the Robson Valley Health Association, a director on the Valley Museum and Archives and as such am acting as the representative on the Chamber of Commerce, am on the Community Consultation Committee, and am a director in the McBride Old Age Pension Association.

I hope to help with the committee that is to be formed in bringing small houses and a seniors facility to McBride. I think we have an opportunity to capitalize on these plans by providing the aid that the seniors here and elsewhere may come to use.

As to the second most important issue, encourage industry. Even if it happens outside the village boundaries it affects jobs… jobs we hope will provide employment here and encourage young families to come ‘home’ or come here, period.

We need young families to keep our schools open, to keep sports happening for children, and to cause prosperity in the community by opening more stores and services.

Thank you for the opportunity to share with you.

My speech from 2014 when I ran for council is still online at YouTube. Not much from that speech has changed except the library has now become a beautiful  place full of happy people in their new building and the museum is now a proper museum where the history of this community can be shared by our community and travellers.

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