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Fraser Lake candidates speak out

In their own words
B.C. votes in local civic elections on Oct. 15. (File photo)

Last month, we asked candidates running for office in the 2022 civic election to anewer a few questions about themselves and what they see as the most important issues facing the community. Here are the answers from those running in Fraser Lake elections.

Mayor Sarah Storey was unchallenged in her bid to continue as mayor of Fraser Lake.

Norm deLong is running for a seat on Fraser Lake council

My family has lived and worked for over 40 years in and around Fraser Lake. I’m currently the president of the Royal Canadian Legion in Fraser Lake, a member of the Regional District of Bulkley – Nechako solid waste advisory committee, vice president of the Fraser Lake carpet bowlers and a member of Autumn Services.

Fraser lake is currently facing a decline in employment due to the ever-changing mining and forest industry. To attract new business to our community we need to have a good first impression, a clean and organized main street, good housing, good medical facilities and reasonable taxes.

I would like to see the Village of Fraser Lake work towards developing a new residential subdivision to attract more residents and businesses to Fraser Lake. To do this we need to make sure our water, sewer and streets are able to handle the expected growth.

With our aging population, I feel the Village of Fraser Lake needs to work with the Silver Birch Lodge Board to help facilitate the planned expansion of the Silver Birch Lodge and look at adding assisted living to the complex so our loved ones can remain at home in Fraser Lake.

Being a councillor is about listening to you, the residents, and being a voice for you. This is something I would be honoured to do. Over the last four years, I have attended numerous council meetings to help me understand how the council works and what some of the priorities are. I believe my past business experience will go a long way in helping the Village of Fraser Lake move forward.

Audrey Fennema is running for a seat on Fraser Lake council

I have been one of the four councillors in Fraser Lake these past four years. I have been the library director for the F. L. Public Library for the past 18 years. I have been past president of the Chamber of Commerce and am currently its treasurer. I volunteered in our community long before I was an elected official. This includes Halloween, Mouse Mountain Days, Christmas Santa Parade and more. I use vacation time and banked hours to fulfill my duties.

I attend all council meetings and any committee meetings as well as last-minute meetings or events unless I am ill or had conflicting events. I also recently attended, along with Mayor Storey and CAO Holland, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Conference. I started at 7 a.m. with meetings and continued till late at night, making our presence known and meeting new connections. I know I did a great job representing the Village of Fraser Lake.

We met with many of the ministers and discussed important issues relevant to our community. Forestry, loss of jobs due to shift closure, Community Forest, Education - retraining, programs - one being more free Class One Driver Training and more. Housing, the need for senior housing and after our discussions the possibility is in the near future. This council is looking to develop tourism, putting money aside for repairing our aging infrastructure etc.

I feel I am a huge asset to our community as I continue to make important connections with those politicians that can help us in the future and I love Fraser Lake and do whatever I can to be a part of it and work towards the betterment of it. I would ask that you re-elect me.

Jennel Harder-Taheri is running for a seat on Fraser Lake council

My name is Jennel Harder-Taheri and my desire is to serve as a councillor for the Village of Fraser Lake. I was born and raised here in a family that holds deep roots within the community and local industries. I am proud to continue the tradition by raising my family in the community I hold dear. Previously, I held the position of recreation director, creating and instructing programs geared towards family and community integration. I was even given the opportunity to represent Fraser Lake on the popular CBC program, Still Standing. Currently, my husband and I opened Blackbeard Small Engine and Repair and I work part-time with BCEHS. I am grateful to live, work, and play in the traditional territories of the Stellat’en and Nadleh Whut’en First Nations.

As a parent and someone who works in the Emergency Health Services, I believe one of the greatest issues we face as a community and society, is the impact isolation has had on the mental health of our seniors and youth and minority populations, as well as the dangerous increase in substance abuse. It is important that we re-establish support where cutbacks have taken place and use proactive initiatives to meet people’s needs at the heart of the matter by evolving both our approach and our understanding.

I believe our community is in dire need of road infrastructure and beautification projects that would attract others much like my friend, whose wife loved it so much that after coming up for a visit to a nearby community, she refused to leave. In addition, as a previous single mom of 10 years, I also understand the struggle that is childcare or lack thereof. This is a very real need within our community, for families and single parents alike. I currently serve on a board for a community outreach looking to alleviate some of the needs locally.

With my previous experience and ongoing interactions both personally and professionally, I believe I can be a voice for those who struggle by providing a listening ear, and being a valuable team member to council so that together, we meet the needs of the community. I look forward to the challenge and the rewards of loving my neighbour.

Joe Jenkinson is running for a seat on Fraser Lake council

My wife Jody and I have made Fraser Lake our home for the last 29 years. Together, we have raised our three children here and plan on retiring in our beautiful community.

I have been a primary care paramedic for 30 years working in communities throughout northern B.C. My entire working life has focused on mining. During my mining career, I have worked as an operations labourer, millwright, safety advisor, manager and superintendent.

Mining and ambulance have given me the privilege to remain in our community, while at the same time affording me several career changes that have enhanced my skills in leadership, managing people, budgets, forecasts, and critical decision-making. I am currently the health, safety and security superintendent for Mount Milligan Mine and this allows me to continue to live and play in our community. I am an avid outdoorsman enjoying all that our central interior has to offer, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, and boating.

The biggest issue facing our community is our aging infrastructure. Without water, sewer, and streets in good shape, our community will never attract new people or businesses to allow for a sustainable and diverse future.

Over the previous four years, I have been part of the decision-making process through the council that has set in motion plans to address the current infrastructure issues. Through this vision, we have set in motion with village staff and public works a plan to address the aging infrastructure through grant-funded projects. These projects have also been supported by revenues received through the community forest. Examples include plans for water main replacement, water tower replacement, paving and sidewalks. I have ensured we as the council are fiscally responsible to allow our community to afford investments such as high-speed internet and upgrading the arena and curling rink to ensure a multi-use facility will exist to attract people from all over.

Over the last term in office, we have faced many challenges such as forestry layoffs, Covid and wildfires. We have overcome these challenges and risen above them, showing the resilience of our community and our leadership as elected officials. It has been my pleasure to represent our community as a councillor for Fraser Lake for the past four years. I would love to represent Fraser Lake in the next term to continue to guide our community to a sustainable future.

Jolene Webb is running for a seat on Fraser Lake council

I live in Fraser Lake with my husband and two daughters. This community is home to me and always will be. I was born and raised here and have deep roots within the community and surrounding area. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and exploring what our area has to offer. We do live in one of the most beautiful areas of Central B.C. I am new to local government, as this is my first time putting forward my name to run for council, however, I do understand the time and effort that goes into the grant writing process, as I held the position of economic development officer with the village previously and was successful with many granting opportunities.

One of the main responsibilities of the municipality is water, sewer and garbage. The age of our infrastructure is challenging, and an issue that faces the community as a whole. Water and sewer lines are in need of replacement, however, the cost to do so comes at a large price tag. The Village has made great progress with funding, and this will continue. I welcome the challenge and opportunity to be part of this process and work with the council to secure more funding and avenues so our aging infrastructure can be replaced. Our streets are another challenge, and over time when the infrastructure is replaced our streets can also be replaced.

What type of development would you like to see in your community, and what steps would you take to attract it?

The village and council have done a tremendous job executing capital projects over the past few years and have many projects waiting to be tackled. I would support and like to see our “South Side” developed, with that brings more business and opportunities for the community and residents. There is a process for everything, and it all comes down to funding and opportunity.

I’m a highly driven individual and compassionate about my community. I have previous knowledge of the processes of decision-making from past employment with the village. I bring experience and I would strive to be a strong and effective voice and would communicate the needs of the people within this community to the best of my ability.


We were unable to contact all candidates; missing from this list is Craig LePoidevin.