Sarrah Storey is running for mayor of Fraser Lake.
A village councillor and volunteer, one of Storey’s biggest passions is helping people.
When she first ran for council in 2014, Storey ran on a platform advocating for a local food bank following the closure of the grocery store, working together with the regional district and the local First Nations bands, and starting volunteer appreciation dinners.
Since she was elected, just about all of those things have come to pass. The food bank is currently a food share program, until the Senior Centre finally becomes an accredited charity and can officially run a food bank – and it was Storey who put in the hours to write the application for it to become a charity.
Now, Storey says the food share program she started is used by people all across the community. “Moms on the run from abusive husbands to children and youth who left home between the ages of 16 and 18 and who are trying to survive,” all use the program, says Storey. “And we also have some families, and seniors, with small pensions or no pensions, who are just not doing well. And that could be anybody – that could be you or that could be me – anybody could be having a food security issue.”
Also on her 2014 platform, she hosted her first volunteer and business appreciation dinner this year with more than 300 attendees.
And the Fraser Lake village council, the regional district, the Nadleh Whut’en and Stellat’en First Nations now hold three meetings together a year, fulfilling Storey’s promise of working together with all local governments.
Storey says the meetings aren’t just about reconciliation, “but building relationships and making our area stronger.”
In her time on council, she also started the Walk and Roll program for seniors, which helps seniors get to different events in the surrounding areas and helps to keep them healthy and active in the community, and was elected to the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) which represents the region on a larger scale, and provides Storey access to meetings with provincial ministers. She was first elected as a director, and then took the role of the second vice-president.
She says most of her accomplishments are the result of long hours and late nights. “Most of this stuff has all been done until three o’clock in the morning, by myself, writing, researching and learning.”
Moving forward, she wants to focus on improving communication with the community. “I am on the front lines every day and I feel like I hear what the community has to say, and I’m always working harder to learn or share. It’s important to listen to what the community wants and needs and to work for those things; to have a unified community is so important to me.”
Storey also wants to address the aging infrastructure in the community. She says she would like to advocated for the funding needed to rip up the roads, re-do the aging infrastructure beneath them and then re-pave. She also wants to work toward finding grants for a new community hall, one that is accessible for everyone. Storey adds that getting an elevator added to the arena, which is typically used for community events, costs about $8,000-$9,000, and she’s hopeful she can find a more sustainable option.
Outside of the council, Storey works for the United Way’s Better at Home Program, which, she says, “helps seniors age in place.” She helps seniors with everything from transportation to housekeeping. She also works as the coordinator of the adult literacy program at the College of New Caledonia, and recently resigned from her position as the literacy coordinator for Nechako Literacy.
She felt the resignation was necessary in order to have more time to run for mayor. “While it will greatly diminish my income, it’s something I want to do to make the community better,” she says.
Storey is an active volunteer, a mother, and a lover of the outdoors. At the end of the day, she is driven by her passion to help others and her desire to see her community succeed.
“I want people to remember that this community has a lot of potential and a lot of good people that live here.”