Last month, we asked candidates running for office in the 2022 civic election to answer 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 Vanderhoof elections.
Ken Holden is running for Vanderhoof mayor
I grew up on a farm in my hometown of Chilliwack, B.C. After high school, I successfully completed training as an electronics technician.
I was the founder and proprietor, until my recent retirement, of a long-lasting high-tech business in Vanderhoof. This company sold and serviced electronic equipment, primarily two-way radios to the forestry, mill and mining industries. My public service roles included being a board member of the Vanderhoof International Airshow, First Memorial United Church, Vanderhoof Historical Society, past president and current governor of Vintage Car Club of Canada (Prince George Chapter)
Created and hosted the Hooterville Hoot collector car show for 25 years.
The biggest issue facing voters in Vanderhoof is higher than necessary taxes for residents and businesses because of no financial accountability from the mayor and council, like the fact that Vanderhoof was subjected to a forensic audit and the results have not been released.
Modern technology allows companies to locate anywhere. Diversifying our economy with value-added spinoffs from resource sectors is the key to steady economic development.
Custom tax agreements would act as an incentive to choose Vanderhoof
I have a history of success in building private businesses. Additionally, I worked within a government-regulated, professionally licenced environment. These are relevant skills that contribute to the council – business skills and acumen acquired over many years, and professional experience strictly compliant with government regulations.
Kevin Moutray is running for Vanderhoof mayor
I grew up on, and later became a partner in, a dairy farm in rural Vanderhoof. I married my partner Mia in 1998 and soon had two wonderful children. In 2005, we moved to town and established Earthen Ware.
Before serving on the council, I was president of the Chamber of Commerce. Since then, leadership roles include positions in Biathlon BC, Nechako Nordics, Nechako Valley Search and Rescue, and the Nechako Watershed Roundtable.
The biggest issue facing the community at this time is housing. Development of new subdivisions both to the north and the south is going to take substantial investment. A recent sanitary model update shows that we have two lift stations (pumping stations) that are at or exceeding peak flows. It also shows capacity issues in the line crossing the train tracks. Another barrier to housing is financing. Banks aren’t willing to lend to the same degree on development in communities under 10,000. One solution I endorse is creating a housing development corporation. Developers could then borrow from that corporation and pay it back with interest as units sell. Due to the lack of housing, people find it difficult to move here and join our workforce. Right now there are over 250 employment positions to fill in Vanderhoof. Until we can house more people, we’ll have these job vacancies.
Furthermore, mining has the potential to be a huge part of our future. Only 2.3 per cent of Mt. Milligan’s workforce resides in Vanderhoof. The Blackwater project is on track to be permitted soon. I will work with Artemis, Centerra, and CNC to problem-solve how we can bridge workers migrating to mining jobs.
Diversity and inclusion is also very important issue. All members of our community should feel welcome, safe, and valued. I will work hard on learning, unlearning, and bringing people together.
Serving on the council for the last eleven years has given me the experience necessary to lead us through this exciting time ahead. The most valuable skill I can contribute as mayor is my leadership style. At the council table, you have seven equally valid points of view. I listen to everyone in the room and find ways forward that reflect the group as a whole.
I love to serve my community and thrive doing that through local government. I’m filled with excitement and hope for what Vanderhoof can do over the next four years.
Tom Bulmer is running for a seat on Vanderhoof council
I was born and raised in Prince George. Carolynn and I are a high school romance and we moved to Vanderhoof when I agreed to fill in for a couple of weeks at the broadcasting job I had. We fell in love with Vanderhoof and raised our family here, who is now raising their family here. I worked on the original Vanderhoof airshow in the 80s and 90s and got involved when it was resurrected in 2011, co-chairing the 2018 show and working on this summer’s show. I have just completed 4 years as president of the Nechako Valley Historical Society, which we raised from ashes. I served on the Board of Education for School District 91 for four years, and I have enjoyed volunteering in numerous organizations, always working at moving my town forward. I would now like the opportunity to serve my community on the council.
It is my view that the role of the council is to listen to and interpret the needs of our fellow residents and then craft policies that will make our town a safe, productive, and fun place to live, work, and play.
As you will most likely hear from several candidates, as well as almost any city, town and village across the country housing is a most important issue. We are turning away professionals and workers of all types because of inadequate housing. Councils in the next few years are going to be challenged with this issue and the DOV must not only take part but must lead housing development. There is no single solution to this dilemma but if the council of the day is dedicated to working at updated zoning, bylaws, and infrastructure as well as taking advantage of our local expertise along with the new products and processes now available we can create a very livable community.
I consider our airport to be completely inadequate for today’s medical, industry and business needs. To date, the only significant upgrade to our airport is an outhouse. We need runway upgrades, a terminal, and an onsite manager. We have a talented group of aviators in this community, and we should call on their expertise and knowledge. Establish an airport that can serve those needs as well as create income.
I am an organizer and networker with the ability to bring together the right people for the right solutions.
Brian Frenkel is running for a seat on Vanderhoof council
I was born and raised in Prince George BC, before settling down in Vanderhoof with my wife Nadine in 1983. Not only have I served on the District of Vanderhoof Council for 22 years, I have also served on the Board of Directors of the North Central Local Government Association and on the Board of Directors of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
I have been working tirelessly to make our community and the North a viable economic focal point for development; my dedication and passion for the community have been at the forefront of everything I do. People are the creators of change and that passion to effect change is central to why I represent Vanderhoof at the local, provincial and federal levels.
There are numerous big issues in our community which include but are not limited to a transitioning economy, affordable housing, health care, protective services, mental health, reconciliation, diversity and inclusion.
So to try to answer the question of what is the biggest issue is impossible. They are all intertwined as one issue. I have tackled these matters during my political career by creating partnerships through working with regional and provincial associations, industry and working with all levels of government to find solutions that can be specific to Vanderhoof.
Our economy is transitioning. Due to the massive outbreak of the mountain pine beetle our forestry economy is changing. Rationalization of the forest industry will continue but I’m hopeful that forestry will play a part in our economy for years to come, albeit smaller. Increased development will occur in one of our most significant sectors, agriculture and agri-tech. This sector has the potential to become the biggest part of the economy. Another sector that our community will benefit from is mining. With the imminent announcement of the Artemis, Gold mine’s major works permit, we will see 800 job opportunities for our residents. In an attempt to advance these opportunities, the council has been working with and meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Mines to advance these opportunities within the government for Vanderhoof.
I bring collaboration and the ability to create partnerships to the council table. No one community can accomplish its goals without these two skill sets. I’m always willing to listen to concerns raised by our residents and have the ability to find solutions.
Cindy Lauze is running for a seat on Vanderhoof council
My husband and I moved to Vanderhoof from Saskatoon in 2012 to join our business partners in operating our resort at Tatuk Lake. Prior to moving to Vanderhoof, I enjoyed a career in education which began in the library of a K-12 school in a remote community in Northern Manitoba, and I continue to work in the community as a teacher-on-call. I am just completing my first term as a councillor for the District of Vanderhoof and look forward to continuing to work on tackling the shortage of housing that exists at every stage of the housing continuum. This housing shortage, I believe, is creating a barrier to the ability of our community to thrive both socially and economically. Collaborating with stakeholders to create a housing strategy that outlines actionable goals in response to identified needs will be an important step in addressing housing issues. I would also be interested in looking at how the formation of a local government corporation may create opportunities for leveraging taxpayer dollars to address local issues. Vanderhoof can continue to develop through its agricultural sector by ensuring that food that is produced in the area, is also being processed locally. This will add to the economic diversity of our community and increase our food security. Initiatives that stimulate value-added agriculture need to be explored and pursued. Federally and provincially mandated safety regulations and standards that act as impediments to small producers need to be addressed, as well as the transportation infrastructure that is disrupting the flow of locally produced goods to markets. A career of working as an educator in a variety of roles, and most recently as a District of Vanderhoof councillor, has allowed me to hone my skills at listening, collaborating, and adapting to change without compromising my values and beliefs. These skills are vital in ensuring that all members of our community know that they are valued and that decisions that are made today will reflect our collective vision for a vibrant community going forward.
Ernst Martens is running for a seat on Vanderhoof council
I was born and raised in Vanderhoof and married Rosie, a local girl, where we continue to live, and have raised our two children. Both now have families of their own and are raising them here as well, so I believe we are as much from Vanderhoof as you can be, meaning that I want the best for our town and its future.
I feel our community needs to focus on affordable housing as well as care facilities for our seniors. I think the local government needs to do all we can do to help facilitate and support these projects.
Economic development is one of my goals. Our community benefits from the growth of local businesses. I will encourage new investment and development in Vanderhoof to help local businesses thrive, big and small.
I have been involved in multiple local events and businesses throughout the years, and have always promoted our town and its location. Our driving school, which we started in 1995, continues to operate today. (We may have worked with you or someone from your family!) Throughout the years, we have worked with many corporations and First Nation communities.
With your support, I will work hard to bring my experience, organizational skills and business knowledge, to the new council.
I love our town and have always been proud to be from Vanderhoof.
Bill Teichroeb is running for a seat on Vanderhoof council
My family settled here in the early 1940s. We have been farmers loggers and business people here since then.
I have been self-employed since 2001. I run a small plumbing and heating business since then. I have my Red Seal in plumbing and gas and an electrical endorsement and a pump install ticket.
I love living here and the high quality of life it affords us. Vanderhoof is wonderfully family oriented. I want to contribute to building on highlights of the Vanderhoof experience. I have no experience in local government
I see family housing as a major challenge here in our community. The current leadership I believe has failed to bring in proper incentives to increase all housing needs. Including for seniors and childcare for young families. One of the reasons for the lack of development is due to the high cost of doing business here and the higher-than-needed taxes.
I would like to see long-term development based on technical innovations. I believe that economic diversity via value-added spin-offs from resource sectors such as mining, forestry and farming is the key to steady economic development. That has a less negative impact during financial cycles.
Having been in the trades industry for 25+ years makes me a great asset for resolving the challenges we face.
Henry Thiessen is running for a seat on Vanderhoof council
I am a third-generation Canadian, born and raised in central B.C., where I still live with my wife Linda. Together, we have five children and 11 grandchildren.
34 years in the aviation industry as a helicopter pilot has given me exposure to a wide range of industries, including the forestry, mining and oil and gas sectors. Since retiring from aviation, I have spent a number of years working with farmers and ranchers in our area.
It’s difficult to narrow it down to a single issue; there are a number of major issues that need to be addressed. Issues like the financial boondoggle that the district is involved in, lack of communication with citizens who have legitimate concerns and questions, and the lack of available housing, just to name a few.
Expose the financial situation and take steps to correct it. Respond to all concerns and questions in a respectful and responsible manner. Create an environment and infrastructure to enable developers to bring new housing to the market.
Types of development: Long-term development based on technical innovation, economic diversification from resource sectors such as mining and forestry, and value-added spinoffs from resource extraction, We have a strong agricultural base in this valley and explore ways to help local producers market their products.
Steps to attract these include cutting red tape and reduce taxes.
If elected, what is the most relevant skill or experience you can contribute to council?
I would say that the best answer to that question is that I am hard-working, honest and always try to treat people with respect. Over the years I have worked in a wide range of industries. During the three decades that I worked in the aviation industry, I was also involved in various levels of management, including base manager for five years, as well as job manager on a major Heli-ski operation involving up to eleven aircraft and crew. 66 years of life experience has also been a great teacher.
David van Dolah is running for a seat on Vanderhoof council
My family moved to Vanderhoof in 1968 and other than the years that I was away attending college and university and the four years that I worked in the Northeast portion of B.C., Vanderhoof has been my home. It’s where I graduated from high school and where my wife Janice and I raised our two daughters Lauren and Amanda. With my previous experience as the Ministry of Forests district manager, I believe I have the skills to work within the existing government bureaucracy and as a team player work along with the rest of the municipal council in order to guide the community in the right direction for the future.
Since 2017 the Prince George Timber Supply Area (PGTSA) volume which was 12.5 million cubic metres, has declined and as of this October the volume will drop to 7.35 million and in 5 years the volume will decline to approximately 6.0 million cubic metres. This means there will be a loss of forestry jobs due to the decline of fibre supply within the PGTSA. We must diversify our local economy. I would work with the regional cattlemen, in which to find solutions that would bolster the ranching sector. Also, I would promote the concept of moving the BC Wildfire Service air tanker base from Prince George’s airport to our local airport. That move could create a significant number of seasonal jobs as well as permanent jobs. Both of these initiatives would support local businesses within the community.
What type of development would you like to see in your community, and what steps would you take to attract it?
Housing. Recently, the lack of housing has deterred numerous individuals who have accepted jobs within the community, only to decline these positions, as they are unable to find suitable housing. Along with the rest of the council, I would work to find an available property and identify a developer, so that council could facilitate the requirements that would allow for the construction of housing projects that would meet Vanderhoof’s immediate needs.
Being recently retired as the district manager of the local Ministry of Forests office, in my role as a statutory decision maker, I already have numerous relationships with the executive from various government ministries. I would use those relationships in order to advocate Vanderhoof’s position in a variety of local interests.
Ken Young is running for a seat on Vanderhoof council
I am running for councillor for the District of Vanderhoof. I have served on the council and found it to be an honour to serve my community in this capacity. My parents, John and Vi, moved to the community in 1958. I arrived in 1966 and grew up in Vanderhoof. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Leadership from the University of Calgary. I met my wife when we attended high school and we have raised our beautiful children here in Vanderhoof. I have worked for SD91 for 26 years and currently, I am the principal of Nechako Valley Secondary School.
I have served for multiple terms and I am very current with the present scenarios before our community. I know that a safe and secure community starts with adequate housing for everyone. This has been a challenge for our northern region as well as the entire province. The 28-unit complex near Ferland Park was a major win for our community. We now have other issues like low-barrier housing and a general increase in housing and rental stock to improve. We must work with local partners, and the provincial government and look outside of “regular” solutions for this difficult issue, like creating a development corporation.
We must maintain/support our healthcare professionals and infrastructure in our clinic and hospital. Our local healthcare has also been a lifeline for our neighbouring communities. Having a stable level of care in this community will also draw more and retain more healthcare professionals as they will feel supported and will not working be beyond their capacity. Good healthcare is a major attraction and retention component for all potential employees coming/staying in our community.
We must continue to diversify to ensure that we can withstand any downturns, supply issues etc., in any one particular industry. Mines, oil and gas and even more so than ever – tourism will continue to grow in importance to our future plans. I know that continuing to support our Forestry and Agriculture industries is important whenever possible to ensure stability and certainty in the community.
I will bring municipal knowledge, experience, collaborative skills, creative ideas and a passion for this community to the council chambers. I know the challenges before us and I believe that we can work together to find solutions that will make us the best community we can be for all.
We were unable to contact all candidates. Missing from this list is Vanderhoof mayoral George Funk; Vanderhoof council candidates Brad Dejax, Eric Lytle, Kurt McKee and Spencer Siemens;