With just a few days left before the deadline of 4 p.m. on Sept. 9 to submit nomination papers for next month’s local elections, current District of Houston council members and current School District 54 trustees have now revealed their intentions.
District of Houston councillors Tom Stringfellow and Tom Euverman have confirmed they will be seeking re-election, following mayor Shane Brienen and councillors Troy Reitsma and Jonathan Van Barneveld who earlier said they will be running again. Lisa Makuk is not seeking another term.
Stringfellow said he’s particularly focused on improving health care and living circumstances for senior citizens in Houston and area, saying there’s a growing need for both.
“We have the four residential beds at the health centre and respite care but really, we need more,” he said.
And while the Northern Health Authority is working on plans to add to residential care facilities in Hazelton and in Smithers, Stringfellow said it can also make improvements at the Cottonwood Manor where the authority maintains six assisted living units.
“There’s no help for someone in assisted living if something happens at night … if they fall, for example,” he said.
“So yes, there are those call buttons a senior can carry but when you are older and if you have fallen you may not be thinking of that,” Stringfellow added. “They really need something at night.”
Tom Euverman says he’s focused on continuing civic and other improvements.
“Despite of all the downturn, the mine, the mill and grocery store closures, we now have good things happening,” he said.
Topping Euverman’s list is changing the perception the region has of Houston from a place that is on the highway between Burns Lake and Smithers to a community that has much to offer in its own right.
And one key factor that will increase Houston’s profile is increasing residential housing options so as to attract professionals to the area, Euverman added.
There are two Houston and area seats on the School District 54 board and both of the current trustees, Jennifer Williams and Les Kearns are running again. Both took their positions by acclamation the last time elections were held in 2018.
Williams, the chair of the board this year, says she decided to become involved in education when her three children were of school age.
“I was in PAC (parent advisory committee) locally and BC PAC as well,” said Williams in adding that becoming a school trustee was a natural extension of her interest in education.
Her job as the training and education manager for local literacy provider Houston Link to Learning gives her an added insight into the importance of education.
“We see many people come to us as adults. It’s so important we provide those opportunities, working with students, when they are younger,” Williams said.
Les Kearns, the second trustee, says his 30 years as a teacher, vice principal and principal in the Bulkley Valley followed now by 17 years on the board provides him with a wealth of experience.
“There’s lots of work to do on the board,” said Kearns.
And, as a retired person, Kearns said he is able to devote himself to the responsibilities that come with being a trustee.
For the past year, Kearns has been the vice chair of the School District 54 board.
The current Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako director for the rural area surrounding Houston and Granisle is Chris Newell.
As of late last week, he had not responded to a query from Houston Today about his intentions.