Audrey Fennema is counting on her extensive experience with local libraries to help her if she is voted in as a councillor for the Village of Fraser Lake.
She is the chief librarian at the Fraser Lake Public Library, has been involved with the North Central Library Federation and is the deputy treasurer for the Association of B.C. Public Library Directors.
In these capacities, Fennema says she has run board meetings, managed budgets, set up events and spoken on behalf of the directors. She draws comparisons between her roles and what she might encounter while serving as a councillor in the Village of Fraser Lake.
“You’re a voice of a small library amongst some really, really large libraries and you see that nine times out of 10, you face the same problems but they’re just on a different scale.
“In my role as chief librarian, it is my job to make sure we offered the community the best we can within our budget and I’m used to doing that with the dedicated help of a team.
“I think team is important on a city council and I would apply the same dedication that I do to the library to being part of one that helps move the village forward.”
In addition to her work with the library, Fennema is also the treasurer of the Fraser Lake and District Legion and the treasurer for the local Chamber of Commerce.
Although she has never sat in office, she points out that she would not be starting from scratch when it comes to building the necessary connections to make things happen as a councillor.
“I already have a working relationship with [MLA] John Rustad and [MP] Nathan Cullen,” she says.
“I also currently have connections with representatives at Community Futures, the Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society and the Regional District [of Bulkley-Nechako].”
Fennema says she thinks Fraser Lake deserves more attention provincially.
“During the fires this summer, we weren’t mentioned by the news media that much. We had a huge fire camp here, so I would like us to get more articles in the papers that recognize us as an important community within the area.
“I don’t think we can attract businesses and new citizens if they don’t know we exist.”
If elected, she says she would work with Northern Health to help attract more permanent doctors to the area, look at continuing to develop the community forest, try to expand recycling programs and work towards achieving more senior housing.
“I’d like to see how we can keep our seniors for long term extended care,” she says. “If you can’t live in your home anymore or you family can’t take care of you, you have to go to another community, which isn’t right.”
Fennema understands that the young residents of Fraser Lake have to be taken care of as well, however.
“I’d like to look at the viability of a youth centre, as there’s not enough offered for teenage kids to do. I’d also like to expand the snow sledding hill to make it higher and improve the BMX track and skateboard park.”
She has seen the benefit of getting youth engaged through her involvement in bringing girls soccer to Dawson Creek, where she ran a program for 10 years.
Of herself, Fennema says: “In 1999 when my husband and I were driving through the province, we really liked Fraser Lake. In 2004, when a job opening came up, I applied and was successful in becoming chief librarian.
“Now we’ve made it our home.”