Meet the candidates running for the District of Barriere

Meet the candidates running for the District of Barriere

Eight candidates have put forth their names to be considered for the six councillor positions available in the District of Barriere, including incumbents Pat Paula, Virginia Smith, Ward Stamer, and Glen Stanley.

Last week the Star/Journal interviewed each of the candidates, and below you will find what each one had to say.

*Note: candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Kathy Campbell

Candidate Kathy Campell says she is running for council, “Because many, many, different people since we first incorporated have asked me to run for mayor.  We have two running now.  What I didn’t want to see was somebody just put in there without due diligence, so I ran for councillor.”

Campbell has lived in Barriere with her family since 1995, and is the broker/owner of RE/MAX Integrity Realty.  She has been a member of the District of Barriere Chamber of Commerce since the mid 1990’s, was a vice-president in the past and currently serves as a director, .  Campbell is also a founding member of the North Thompson Fish and Game Club and currently serves on that organization as a director as well.

The candidate says she has a very busy schedule so cannot always commit to helping on other volunteer organizations or projects, but notes, “If I do have the time I just show up.”

Campbell says she would like to see the municipality go back to some of the ideas put out during the OCP planning roundtable workshop that was held in Barriere over a year ago.  “At that OCP roundtable we put forward our immediate, short term and long term plans.  I want to see us going back to the basics of balance. The film called ‘The Children of the Dragon’ that was shown at that roundtable was impressive.  I want to see us getting the youth involved.  The outcome of the roundtable talks was providing a voice from the community.”

Campbell says however that she sees no need to change what the District has accomplished so far.  “I would like to evaluate what has been done, what needs to be done, and how we can improve to get back into balance.  Something in the way that the TNRD (Thompson Nicola Regional District) had on how everything kind of flowed – although they were a little slow.”

Campbell says what’s important is, “The destiny of the community – follow the plan that was involved to begin with. Vote for Kathy Campbell for destiny.”

You can reach Kathy Campbell at 250-672-5890 or

Bill Kershaw

Bill Kershaw says he’s no stranger to Barriere.  “When you’ve lived here for 43 years it’s your community.  I’ve also been in business here for 43 years.”

Kershaw has served in numerous positions on behalf of Barriere during that time.  Most noteworthy the Barriere Improvement District, the Thompson Nicola Regional District, Community Futures, and the Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce.

Currently he is the president of the Chamber of Commerce but notes he will be retiring from that position to run for councillor.

“I ran for mayor in 2007 because I was heavily involved in the incorporation process,” said Kershaw, “When I didn’t get elected I thought I would back off from it as I was getting to that age group; but community politics are addictive.”

Kershaw says he thinks working together is what makes a community strong, “The North Thompson Agriplex  is a fine example of a community melding together.  I’d like to see that for the rest of the community.  But I’m not running to oppose everything the previous council has done.”

Kershaw says as a small businessman in the community he is concerned about the tax increases he has experienced over the past four years; a rise from $3200 to $4800.  “It’s been consistent.  The Districts’s 2007 budget was $520,000 and the last one was $620,000, in just four years.  We cannot sustain increases like that in a small community.  What we have to look at is we have about 1,000 residential lots, and this roughly costs each one 10 per cent.  Every $100,000 budget increase will cost each lot $100.”

Kershaw says the main goal for the District should be long term planning to relieve some of the issues and budgeted spending. “Which seems to me to be one of the things that has been out of control  over the past four years.  For example the District spent $43,000 for a study to bring water to the Louis Creek industrial site, and they also spent $12,500 to have a well dug on the Louis Creek property which our name isn’t on yet.”

He also noted that Fadear Park and the bandshell do not sit on land owned by the District, but sit on crown land that is leased to the municipality until 2017.  “This was just a right of occupancy oversight by the District and they are working on it now, but that should have been passed through with our Letters Patent. Until that land is in the name of the community we have to be careful what we do on there.”

Kershaw also noted that an error in the 2011 budget had created a shortfall of $112,000 when it was realized this amount provided as a startup grant from the government for four years had come to an end but was still included in the current budget.   Funding to cover the shortfall was taken from grant monies earmarked for another project said Kershaw.  “The amount of $112,500 is about 6.3 per cent of our budget.  After taking it this way we will be 15 per cent short.  I’m not in favour of taxing people.”

Kershaw also said that he felt four years was too long to finalize the Official Community Plan for the District.  “After four years we’re just into second reading.  The OCP is one of the first things that should have been done.  We need a zoning bylaw and subdivision service bylaw so that pipes going into the ground are to our standard. We also need a development cost bylaw (DCC); every time you add a subdivision it puts a burden on your water system.  The DCC we had was put in place in the early 1990’s when I was Chair of the Improvement District.  We should have a standard of what we want for sewer systems, so we don’t have 10 different ones, or need 50 specialists to operate them.”

Kershaw says he firmly believes the District needs a downtown development plan.    He notes empty buildings do not help to pull people in off the highway into the community.  “If you don’t have a core as a heart you don’t have a community.”

He says that a community plan done for Barriere in 2001 by Community Futures was, “a nice plan”.

“I think we have to slow down,” said Kershaw, “I’m not a believer that Barriere is an industrial town.  I do believe that we have to look after the businesses in our town.  Stamer, Smith’s, Woodco, they probably employ about 100 people right there.  We need to help our little people thrive in our community.”

“My focus on Barriere is that it is a good place to live. The city of Kamloops can have all the industry and the smell that goes along with it.  People can live here and work in Kamloops.  If we do anything in Barriere we need to keep improving our road – that’s the biggest asset we have.”

The candidate has a Facebook page – Bill Kershaw for Councillor.

Doug McGregor

Barriere resident Doug McGregor says he has a background in a lot of things that give him experience which would be useful for the municipality.

At the top of list is the fact that McGregor is no stranger to serving as a councilman, having done so for seven years in the municipality of Amisk, Alberta.

A resident  of Barriere for 20 years, McGregor and his wife Marg have raised Katahaden Hair Sheep and grown hay on their farm along the Yellowhead Highway for all of that time.

Farming, which he continues to do in retirement, is just one of McGregors numerous career choices.  The list is long, and the experience is varied; construction, heavy equipment operator, road builder, dump truck owner, real estate – insurance and treasury branch  owner/broker, motel owner, and small business entrepreneur.

“For 15 years I built roads, air strips, golf courses, and subdivisions,” said McGregor, “I’ve put in water lines, gas lines, and sewer systems for subdivisions in Calgary, Red Deer, and Lacombe, Alberta.  When we moved to Barriere I started my own brushing machine business here and worked on forestry roads and highways throughout the area.”

McGregor says he was also a member of the Barriere Incorporation Study Committee, but unfortunately had to step down due to an injury he sustained at his job.

“I feel real bad that I had to leave that, but I had some real problems with my injury for quite awhile.”

However, the candidate says he is “as good as he’s going to be”, and is ready to  give something back by running for a council position in the town where he has made his home.

“As long as you’ve got something to contribute I think you should offer it, but if you are going to  sit there and do nothing I think you should stay at home,” said McGregor.

Regarding the past four years McGregor says of the District, “I think its on its way, but I think there is a lot more that could be done that’s not being done.”

“I don’t think they are promoting the community the right way, to encourage elderly people to move here and fill the houses that we have,” said McGregor, “I also think highway beautification from the North Thompson Bridge to Louis Creek could be improved greatly.  And I’d like to see industry brought in that would create jobs for our community.”

Asked if he thought the possible opening of mines in the area would provide jobs for Barriere, McGregor replied, “There will always be some if the mine goes ahead, but there is nothing to say that it is going to;  they might just be selling shares.”

The candidate says he thinks the municipality’s most marketable asset is its location and the surrounding outdoor scenery and recreation opportunities.  “We don’t market that enough either.  There should be signage that says we have 52 lakes within an hours drive of Barriere, and within 30 to 40 minutes is Dunn Peaks Provincial Park that nobody even knows is here.”

McGregor also notes, “I think we need to get after the provincial government, because I think the North Thompson Valley has been lost over the years; no sewer system, no natural gas.  Seems like they just bypassed us for unknown reasons.”

He does note that the improvements to the parks is a positive for the area, “I figure anything you can get from a government grant that you don’t have to pay back is a good thing for the town.  I don’t see where it can hurt, every little bit helps.”

McGregor says he’s not into putting up signs and spending money on chasing votes, “If they can’t accept me for who I am then they better vote for someone else.”

Doug McGregor can be reached at 250-672-5598.

Pat Paula

District of Barriere incumbent councillor Pat Paula says she is running for another term because it’s all about community.  “A healthy community is a living and growing entity with an ebb and flow; Barriere is such a community,” said Paula. “I believe that the community’s local government is the foundation or platform where elected officials can speak with a voice larger than a single individual to promote its values and opportunities; to seek a healthy and safe environment including water and sewer; to provide recreation for all groups and education to our children and adults; to encourage and give support to the provision of jobs with efforts to search for and make opportunities for economic development”

Paula notes that in seeking a third term as councillor she not only brings with her four years of experience, but also a multi-faceted background of experience and education in health care, B.C. Coroners Service, banking, service on a not-for-profit provincial board, knowledge of vital documents and record-keeping, one-on-one listening and discussion, participation in child and adult literacy programs, and a number of other volunteer positions.  “I believe these experiences add to my ability to better serve the residents of Barriere with views towards growing our future with stable infrastructure, jobs, community safety, health and wellness, recreation and access to higher government programs,” said Paula.

The incumbent states that over the past four years as a councillor, she have seen how more financial responsibilities have been off-loaded onto local governments from higher governments (regional, provincial, federal) and provincially funded agencies such as Health Authorities, which ultimately impact local government’s projected budgets.  These responsibilities include watershed protection and exploration, road quality and maintenance agreements, plus septage and solid waste management.

“I believe it is fair to say that local rural governments are chronically underfunded, and Barriere is no exception,” said Paula, noting she has been pleased how the municipality has approached these financial challenges, “In innovative and insightful ways to get the best value for rate payers dollars that we can.” She did note however that in some cases a project must be shelved in lieu of “necessary emergency spending”.

“I keep learning to better represent all Barriere residents through meetings with various provincial ministries where I and others from council have lobbied for money, infrastructure, painted lines on the highway and within our town, better legislation to protect consumers of manufactured housing, continued talks with B.C. Ambulance to treat our area fairly in man-power and equipment, forestry considerations, and B.C. Hydro and alternative power sources at a level to help promote Barriere’s growth,” said Paula.

Regarding the Official Community Plan (OCP) Paula explains it by saying, “We get a melded picture of a plan for Barriere that is the vision of council and Barriere residents.  It is a great view into the projected status of Barriere as we grow and achieve prosperity.”

One of the municipal committees that Paula chairs is the Cemetery Committee.  “In mid-2010, the District of Barriere took over operation of our local cemetery when the volunteer group who had supported it in the past disbanded.  I was appointed to chair that District committee which is comprised of District councillors and members of the public with support from an advisor and District staff.  Together, we have made great strides in by-law development specific to Barriere’s Cemetery, and planning for a beautiful and peaceful place for the living to remember their ancestors.  I believe this will add to the fabric of our community.”

Paula says over the past four years she is confident she has served the citizens of Barriere well by following the appropriate legislation and public input, and using fair and equal logic while carrying out her duties as a member of council.

“I ask that you exercise your vote as you see fit on Nov. 19,” said the incumbent, “In doing that, I ask that you consider me as one of your choices for District of Barriere Councillor for the next three years.”

If you have further questions for Pat Paula, call her at 250-672-5660


Amanda Sabyan

A hard working single mom, who has served in the restaurant industry for 10 years, Amanda Sabyan says she is honoured to be nominated and running for a councillor position in her community.

“I personally don’t want to be the kind of person who sits back and complains,” said Sabyan, “It’s worth trying to make things better by putting your ideas out there.  I’m not the one to listen to the news or read the newspaper and then ‘crank’ about it.  Anything is better than complaining and doing nothing about it.  At least I will know I tried.”

Sabyan says she feels it would be advantageous to the District to have a councillor with a more youthful outlook.  “Youth may not always have the right ideas but it might push towards something better.”

Asked what ‘something better’ was, Sabyan stated, “I would like to see more low income activities for people in the community.  Since 2003 so many families have moved away and so many new ones have moved in.  Group funded activities for families and the elderly.  Like meetings in the park with families and seniors – they put a smile on your face.”

Sabyan says she also sees a need to encourage more tourism into the community that will provide additional business to area merchants and businesses such as restaurants.

Sabyan says she wants to listen to the people, to what they want, and to help provide that for them.

“I’ve been serving customers for the last 10 years and I care about the individuals and how I serve them.  I’d like to do the same as a councillor.”

The candidate says she feels the only way people can make a difference is if they choose to vote.  “I do appreciate everyone’s support, and thank the community for the chance to represent them.”

Contact her  on  Facebook – Vote Amanda Sabyan for Town Council.

Virginia Smith

“I think we have done really well for a new community,” said incumbent Virginia Smith.  “I think it’s really important for people to remember that it’s not just one person who makes decisions for the District.  The most effective council is made up of people who have varied and diverse experience.”

Smith says she now has four years of experience behind her and has sat on numerous committees within the District during that time.  She has also represented the District on several other committees and feels that the experienced she has gained by doing so is a benefit to the community.

“I have attended the UBCM three times on behalf of the District, where I was able to meet with various government Ministers to promote Barriere and the programs we are working on.  We also hosted the Southern Interior Local Government Association here in Barriere, which brought in all the other municipalities.  They looked at what we were doing,  who we are, and a highlight was our agri tour for the delegates; it was a big deal for the District.”

Smith says the future is positive for the community. “There is the possibility of mining and other industries who are showing interest opening up in the area.  This will create spin-offs for business and employment – providing a potential for growth,” said the incumbent, “I feel Barriere can handle the growth, and Barriere needs the growth.”

Smith says if you think about it, and look back four years,  “We have gone from finding a place to put the District office  to where we are today.  It’s not just been one person, but the entire council and community.  Just think about the knapweed field that has been turned into a beautiful park.”

Smith says when people consider moving to a community or starting a business there they look at the schools and the facilities available.

“I would like to be elected again so I can work on economic development, and water and sewer infrastructure, a downtown beautification project, and a splash pad,” said Smith, “We’ll be looking for grants for the water and sewer, and the beautification of downtown.  But I also want to keep our taxes down while continuing to provide services to our community.”

Smith noted that when she was first elected to the newly incorporated municipality, “I had no concept of the importance of having your own local government within your own community.  I never understood that until I sat on council.  To be represented by only one person who sits on a board outside of your community I believe is not nearly as effective as having your own local government.  In some areas this cannot geographically work when people are spread out over a large area.  But when you have the nucleus of a town I don’t think the board thing works the way local government can.”

Smith says the most important thing for the community right now is for the residents “to get out there and vote – make your choice known.”

You can contact Virginia Smith at 250-672-0149 or 778-220-0370.

Ward Stamer

Ward Stamer says he has really enjoyed serving in the position of councillor for the District of Barriere for the past four years.

“I’ve really enjoyed being able to start from the ground up in building a municipality for the residents of Barriere,” said Stamer, “We’ve already done so much.  I don’t think people realize how much we have accomplished in such a short time; the improvements to the ball parks, the new field house, the new roof on the concession, the park land and their water systems, the trees, the band shell.”

Stamer also noted the improvements done to the Barriere water system, and the recycling program adopted by the District.

“I’m especially proud of how the residents have embraced the recycle program,” said the incumbent councillor, “This has significantly reduced what is going into the landfill.”

Stamer says one of the reasons he wants to continue for another term in office is the question of  establishing a community compost facility, and addressing the topic of septage.

“What are we going to do about septage from the community?  I want to be involved in that process. We need to see what can be done here – to take it to Kamloops would be a huge cost.”

Stamer says he’s also pleased the District now has business licences in place.  “Business licences allow us [District of Barriere] to have fire inspections in these premises, and in this way we are making it safer for the public and our residents.”

He also noted that having a Barriere building inspector has been an asset to the District.  “This shortens the time people have to wait for their inspections,” said Stamer, saying that the District’s building inspector not only provides the municipality with more improved service, but also provides “more hands-on because we are involved with it ourselves”.

The incumbent says he is proud of the website that has been created for the municipality, “I think the staff have done a really good job on it and people are using it all the time”.

Stamer also says the District’s CAO Colleen Hannigan is, “organized, efficient, smart, and has brought a lot of positives to the job”.

Speaking of ongoing projects Stamer says the Official Community Plan (OCP) will identify the strengths and weaknesses of the municipality, “So we can move positively ahead”.  And he notes another reason why he wants to continue on as councillor is the amount of interest being shown in the Barriere Southgate Industrial Park,  “I want to be involved in that process as well.”

“I feel very fortunate, the residents of Barriere have had good faith in me and I thank them for their support and look forward to serving them in another term.”

You can contact Ward Stamer at 250-672-5162 or 250-319-9693.

Glen Stanley

Incumbent Glen Stanley says he wants to continue as a councillor in the District, “Because I believe since incorporation we’ve made the town a better place to live.  We’re slowly getting things repaired and replaced; and have added amenities, infrastructure and parks for our citizens.”

Stanley chaired the Incorporation Study Committee for just under two years and says he has been involved in the Barriere municipality process since the start.

“Before incorporation I was the chair of the Barriere Parks Board,” said Stanley, “And I dreamt of the day when we would have better parks, a band shell, walking trails –  and that has all come to be; because under the power of the District we have the ability to access grants to develop these areas.  That never would have happened under the old regime.”

“Look at what we have been missing; now we have things like flush toilets in the field house, and a roof on the concession.  Yes, it does cost money, but the Towns For Tomorrow grant was .80 cent dollars.”

The incumbent says he hopes to serve as councillor, “As long as I can keep going and the people vote me in.”

Asked what he sees as the most important step in the immediate future of the District Stanley replied, “Economic development is the most important item in the upcoming term.  This is crucial to get people to come here, and to live here.”

He also stated that applying for infrastructure grants to help with new wells and sewer systems is also paramount.

“I’m actually pretty pleased with the way things are in the District,” said Stanley, “I think everything we’ve strived for as a council, not just individuals, has made us part of a good team.”

Stanley says he’s glad to see the OCP almost ready to go.

“We did the sustainability part of the planning first and then just flowed into the OCP.  It’s probably about two years that we have been working on it,” said Stanley, “The OCP will help the District and council with guidelines and direction in planning where there is going to be residential, industrial, and so on.  If someone wanted to put a saw mill in their back yard they could have done it before, much to the dismay of their neighbours.  The OCP will create a guideline, but it’s not written in stone.”

Stanley said he would especially like to see the District encourage a private venture, or Interior Health, to establish more care facilities in the area for seniors due to “our aging demographics”.  He notes he would also like to see the Southgate Industrial Park up and running, even it takes another year to put it all together; “it will make jobs, not just for Barriere but the whole surrounding area”.

“I like meeting people, and I’m easily approachable,” said Stanley.  “Fifty years ago I never would have thought I’d be in a position of leadership in the town I grew up in.  I’ve found it a great learning experience; bureaucracy runs at its own slow pace, and you learn to be patient, and that you can’t bypass channels.  We have a good staff and council who are pretty open minded and progressive.  We want to keep going forward, and we all have the District at heart and the betterment of the community.

“For myself if I think it is good for the community I will vote for it, and if not, I won’t.”

Stanley encourages everyone to come out and vote, and he wished all of the other candidates a successful campaign.

Glen Stanley can be contacted by calling 250-672-5597 or 250-819-3300.