End of term Report 2018
Dear Fellow Area F resident,
As I write this, my final report to you, I am filled with mixed emotions. First, though, I am excited that there is a race in Area F, and an opportunity for a fulsome discussion of the issues facing our communities. I want to thank and congratulate all three candidates who have stepped up and offered to serve: Shannon Rerie, high-school teacher; Conrad Turcotte, volunteer firefighter and retired millworker; and Brice O’Neill, businessman and current School Trustee. Both Shannon and Conrad live in 150 Mile House, and Brice lives in Williams Lake. There are two all-candidates meetings scheduled so far: October 9 at the Miocene Community Hall at 7pm, and October 10 in the Likely Community Hall at 6:30 pm. Please attend one or both, and/or reach out to the candidates to find out where they stand on your issues. Most importantly, don’t forget to vote October 20th!
I am honoured and humbled by the overwhelming support that all of you have given me for the past 8 years. I am very proud of our community spirit, and to represent you and advocate for our issues at every level of government. Looking back, we have accomplished a lot together, and while community volunteers did the work, I am extremely proud to have had a small part in projects such as Horsefly’s new fire hall, seniors centre, and community hall improvements; Miocene’s community hall improvements, Big Lake’s community hall and heritage site improvements and their new fire truck; Likely’s community kitchen, potable water system, community hall improvements and their new fire hall; the 150 Mile Little Red Schoolhouse; to name a few. My challenge to our next director is to continue to support similar projects in future, as well as tourism and other economic development opportunities as they arise. Please continue to show him/her the importance of keeping our rural communities vibrant so that our kids can come home and raise their kids as they were raised.
I am disappointed in a couple of things. One, of course, was our failure to achieve substantial benefits for the communities of Big Lake, Miocene and Horsefly from the Williams Lake Community Forest with the majority of its tenure based over our communities. I am extremely hopeful, though, that the invitation to apply for a new community forest license, issued jointly to the Big Lake Community Association and the Likely/Xatsull Community Forest, will result in a successful application. My challenge to our new Director is to continue the advocacy work at our Board table as well as with our MLA and Ministry staff and elected officials.
The other disappointment has been my failure, despite multiple requests, to convince Mount Polley and the Ministry of Environment to include the community of Likely and the residents of Quesnel Lake in a more robust communication strategy than presently exists with the Public Liaison Committee. I met with Minister Heyman and MoE staff as recently as last month to ask again. My challenge for our new director in this regard is complicated: to understand and support the economic value Mount Polley brings to our communities and the region, to encourage and celebrate the massive remediation efforts and the successful habitat restoration, to support projects that will ultimately lead to the cessation of discharging treated water into Quesnel Lake, to hear the concerns of the residents of Likely and Quesnel Lake, to serve on the Public Liaison Committee, and to continue to advocate for those who are most impacted.
I’m also leaving with a really strong feeling of unfinished business arising from our Emergency Preparedness Committee. We did a lot of work in early 2018, then we had another summer of fires, and then the election period started. While I believe that we implemented a lot of lessons learned this year, there is still much work to be done. Work has started in Horsefly, Likely and Big Lake in developing community preparedness plans. I have offered to continue this work with the communities if our new director would welcome this. My challenge to our new director is to ensure that this work continues.
I also have a strong feeling of unfinished business on the issue of fire protection for the residents of Lexington and North Lakeside. My challenge to our new director is to continue to work with our staff, WLIB staff and the 150 Mile Fire Department to bring home an agreement that will result in more cost-effective service for all.
I have loved this job, and I am filled with gratitude for a lot: for the opportunity to have served you, for the warm welcome you give me wherever I go throughout Area F, for the lifelong friends I have made in the course of this work, for the opportunity to work as part of a team on issues that affect our region and the entire north, and for the platform that has allowed me to give voice to my passions.
I am especially grateful for the excellent Cariboo Regional District staff. Always professional, always helpful, they always made me look like I knew what I was talking about. If I have done my job well, it is mostly because of them.
I have issued some challenges to our new director. I also promise to support and work with him or her as he/she undergoes a very steep learning curve, and I know you will as well.
My decision not to run, on balance, is the right one for me and for my family at this time. Vince and I plan to travel a bit more in the summer in our 5th wheel, and I would like to have more time with my family. I do plan to continue some of the work that I am passionate about, and maybe write a little, take up my knitting, or finish that quilt I started years ago.
Thank you all for your kind words, and for your unwavering support. It has been my honour and my privilege to have served you.
Director, Cariboo Regional District Area “F”
PO Box 147
Big Lake Ranch, BC V0L 1G0
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”