CONTRIBUTION · 25th October 2014
#1: Who are you? Tell the public a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in the West Kootenays of BC and after attending university in Vancouver, I came north to Kitimat in 1974 to accept a teaching position in Alexander School when it was a centre of "open area" learning. I subsequently moved to Nechako Elementary and it was there in 2010 that I retired from teaching after thirty-six years in the classroom.
In the forty years I have spent in Kitimat, I have raised a family of six children who now have a total of eight of my grandchildren, all except one living in Kitimat.
Kitimat has been my home for my entire adult life and I plan to remain a part of Kitimat, until the end.
#2: What do you bring to the Council table?
I have attempted to bring an open and inquisitive mind as well as an attitude of respect to my work in my six years as a Councillor. I do not shy away from differences or debate but approach differences as a means to find out facts and to prepare for solving problems. I also believe I bring a patient and long-term attitude to my Council work.
#3: What is your experience with local politics?
I have been actively involved in Provincial and Federal politics behind the scenes, in community groups and boards, within my profession and Union, as well as in my church, over my time in Kitimat.
I was first elected to Kitimat Council in 2008 and was re-elected in 2011. I have been the Chairperson of the Kitimat Health Advocacy Group for the past decade and have a deep interest in health, housing, planning and economic development matters as a sitting Councillor.
#4: What personal attribute best qualifies you for office and how will you apply it to your role in office?
I believe my best attribute for politics is an ability for long, detailed work mixed with the desire to see issues from varying perspectives ... especially when it comes to solving problems or planning for the future. I try to appreciate the differences in individuals and points of view. It is only by recognizing and dealing openly with differences of opinion or perspective that a community grows and develops.
#5: How would you improve relationships with Kitimat's neighbours?
By first defining our closest "neighbours" the Haisla, as equal partners in the same community ... Kitamaat/Kitimat.
Over the six years I have been on Council, I have seen a determined and much overdue coming together of this community, both in our aspirations for economic development and in environmental stewardship.
Our more distant neighbors, Terrace, Smithers and Prince Rupert are positively being brought closer to us because of the unprecedented possibilities of the LNG industries being sited in the North West. With this economic development I see a greater and greater relationship between Northwest communities not only on economic files but on our common desire to steward the environment and promote new, recreation based industry.
#6: If you could bring one commercial business to Kitimat, which business would you bring and why?
A commercial business that would signal Kitimat developing beyond being the industrial hub of North Western BC, would be an adventure /ocean tourism business that would build upon our already developed salmon fishing and guiding industry.
If such a business could be integrated with expanded Marina capacity in the Douglas Channel as well as with enhanced public access to the ocean, it would be an extremely welcome development.
For the past sixty years, Kitimat has rightly focused upon land based, mega-development, and with that being secured by RTA's Kitimat Modernization Project and the possibility of a brand new LNG Industry, I would love to see Kitimat develop more connections with the pristine wilderness that the Douglas Channel, the Kitimat River and the surrounding mountains, offer.
#7: If you could do any one thing in your role on Council to make Kitimat a more prosperous,what would that be?
Along with enhanced recreational activity on Douglas Channel etc., as I have referred to above, I would have to say that on land, the future long term prosperity of Kitimat could be based upon more value added industry. I foresee the best option for accomplishing that in the years to come, is the development of the LNG Industry into a GTL (Gas To Liquids) Industry.
#8: If you could do any one thing in your role on Council to make Kitimat a better place, what would that be?
Through my work on Kitimat Council and in various community organizations, I would hope that my actions would promote a greater awareness of the singular qualities that make Kitimat a one-of-a-kind place in Canada ... our relationship with the environment, our First Nations partners, our rich ethnic mixture of cultures and the original Community Plan that envisions an integrated, walker friendly, closely integrated, green-belt community.
#9: How would you define your leadership style and how does that style contribute to a more effective Council?
I would define my leadership and work style as being collegial, that is, working together even through disagreement to find common ground on which to reach agreement and develop the community together. I do not believe in the, "I win, you lose", school of politics.
I believe a collegial attitude promotes effective and positive decision making.
#10: If there was something you could do to make Kitimat more environmentally friendly, what would it be and why?
By getting out into the wilderness, especially by experiencing not only the land, but the ocean that surrounds us, all people become more environmentally aware and protective . Enhanced ocean access is a goal that I know all on Council work towards. I believe such access is right in front of us.
On a more day to day line of thought, I would say Kitimat is like all other smaller rural communities in needing enhanced recycling , reusing, and reducing of what what we consume and dispose of, often inappropriately into our environment.
I look forward in the next four years to finally become a recycling, blue/green box community.
#11: In 15 words or less: what is the meaning of life?
Life is sharing with others ... your time, work, talents, wealth and dreams ... without holding back.