Former CRD Director Joan Sorley (from left) smiles as Big Lake Fire-Rescue Fire Chief Joel Bruneski shakes the hand of Coralee Oakes, MLA Cariboo North, as she presents him and Big Lake Community Association president Bee Hooker awards for “Celebration of Volunteers” on behalf of their respective organizations.

Big Lake Community Association AGM celebrated volunteer spirit

At their AGM the BLCA recognized the volunteer hours of many community members

The Big Lake Community Association celebrated their AGM on March 28 with awards and good news for the future of the community.

The BLCA was registered as a non-profit society back in 1984 and has faithfully looked out for the well being of their community and the people within it ever since. They built and continue to maintain the Community Hall, they handle the funding of their independent Volunteer Fire/Rescue Department and look after heritage sites around the area.

The AGM was a big success according to the BLCA’s president Bee Hooker, a longtime resident of Big Lake who has lived there for the last 47 years. He describes the board of directors as fantastic and joked that he keeps getting appointed president because no one will run against him.

This year Hooker was proud to announce that Big Lake’s application to gain its own community forest, in the style of the one the City of Williams Lake and Williams Lake Indian Band share, is moving forward. They are currently in discussions with the province about the location and size of the geographical area they will receive but he said this is an important step forward.

“We’ve been applying to the government, oh, ever since community forests have existed, we’ve been sending letters off to the government saying Big Lake should have a community forest,” Hooker said. “It’s a very detailed thing that needs a lot of work to make happen, we’re basically in negotiations with the forest service over how much area we’re planning on taking and how much is being granted to us.”

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He hopes they’re granted 10,000 cubic metres annually that the community can harvest and generate revenue from to pay for community services, such as the fire department. Hooker added he’s looking forward to working closely with the Williams Lake Community Forest in the future as their own takes shape.

“Our big focus for the next year is finalizing the OK for our community forest and just to… fire smart… our community,” Hooker said.

Several awards were presented during the evening, most of them celebrating the volunteers that support the community.

Hooker presented Jenny Howell with an award “In appreciation of her Exemplary Service and Dedication as Secretary to the Big Lake Community Association 2015 – 2019.” Howell, Hooker said, was tireless in organizing and keeping track of many of the funding and administrative initiatives that make BLCA run smoothly.

Coralee Oakes, MLA Cariboo North, presented three awards in “Celebration of Volunteers”, thanking the Big Lake Volunteer organizations for all their hard work and dedication to the community of Big Lake including to Hooker, Big Lake Fire/Rescue Fire Chief Joel Bruneski and Lisa Sepkowski of the Big Lake 4-H Club.

Hooker would also like to invite the whole community and surrounding area out to the BLCA’s annual Auction Fundraiser on April 13, held at the Big Lake Community Hall at 5:30 p.m. sharp. There will be a concession and over 166 items of all kinds, with Hooker serving as auctioneer.

The following is a list of the new board of directors for the Big Lake Community Hall for 2019, announced at the AGM.

• Bee Hooker – President

• Jack Darney – Past President

• Marianne Woods – Vice President

• Cindy Swan – Treasurer

• Lisa Voncina – Secretary

• Kelly Burnham – Director

• Christine Dyment – Director

• Eric Halfnights – Director

• Della Rauch -Director

• Ken Dubielew – Director

• Joel Bruneski – Fire Chief (ex-officio director)

• Peggy Gleason – Caretaker (ex-officio director)

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Big Lake Community Association President Bee Hooker presents longtime BLCA secretary Jenny Howell an award “In appreciation of her exemplary service and dedication as secretary of the BLCA from 2015-2019.”

Photos submitted MLA of Cariboo North, Coralee Oakes smiles as she presents Big Lake 4-H Club’s president Lisa Sepkowski with a Celebration of Volunteers Award for the 4-H Club.

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