Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m the child of Dutch immigrants, I was born in Vancouver and raised in Richmond. My full first name is Henrica, I was named for my maternal grandmother who died during WWII when my mom was 10. I lived in the lower mainland until I moved to the Kootenays in 2006 with my partner Trevor. I don’t have children but have had young people in my life in other ways. I like people, animals, knitting, reading, aquafit, the outdoors and look forward to travelling again. I love Trevor, my friends and family.
What is the biggest issue you see facing the area and how would you address it?
The problems in Area J are no different than those in the rest of the province, country, and world. We’ve all been through a very difficult time. Now we’re facing higher food prices, fuel costs, interest rates and a decrease in house values. All of these are well beyond the scope of Area J. I think the best and perhaps only way to deal with this is to keep taxes as low as possible while maintaining current services and commitments to the residents of Area J.
What are your top three regional district priorities?
I don’t have a predetermined list of priorities. I will meet with Rick Smith and be brought up to speed on what is and has been happening. I want to meet with and talk to the people of Area J to hear their concerns and expectations. I know that the doctor shortage is a big concern. The Directors of Areas I and J along with the city have funded the Physician Recruitment Program. This has resulted in the recruitment and retention of doctors in this area, I think keeping the program is a priority.
What type of development would you like to see in the regional district and what steps would you take to attract it?
I think most people live in Area J because they want the lifestyle that comes with rural living. A lot of new houses have been built in the time that I’ve lived here, and it’s changed the feel of my neighbourhood. I’m happy to see families with kids move into the area. To me the sounds of children playing and laughing really adds to where I live. I don’t think the neighbourhoods of Area J are suitable for industrial development but personally I wouldn’t mind seeing a corner store in Ootischenia.
What skills or experience do you have that would make you a good director?
I’m a retired union rep who spent nearly 40 years representing workers. I was elected to my first position at age 20 and continued in various capacities until I retired at 58. Through my years of negotiating collective agreements, settling grievances, presenting cases at arbitration and resolving workplace problems I have developed a skill set that is well suited to representing the people in Area J. I’m strong, a team player, empathetic, pragmatic, determined, a problem solver and someone who can work well with people from various walks of life. I can and will represent all constituents in Area J.
Why should local residents vote for you?
Since retirement I have volunteered in the community. I’m on the board at the food bank where I have also put together hampers, cooked and delivered meals. I volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore pre-pandemic. I have served on the board at Rota Villa. I have also been a board member at the Kootenay Gallery and Art Walk. My volunteerism has given me a broad perspective of our community. Becoming Director for Area J is a natural progression in my work serving the people in our community. I hope voters agree and elect me to represent them.