George Atamanenko

George Atamanenko

SMART 55: Atamanenko a man of many hats

As he approaches his 88th birthday it does not appear that George Atamanenko will be slowing down any time soon.

As he approaches his 88th birthday it does not appear that George Atamanenko will be slowing down any time soon.

He is the president of the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, chair of the city’s accessibility advisory committee and a vocal member of the seniors advocacy group.

When he’s not busy wearing one or all of those hats he enjoys cross-country skiing on his rural property and once in a while going downhill skiing.

Atamanenko was elected to the museum board at the end of 2016 and has been advocating for it to receive more funding ever since.

With budget talks coming up at city hall, Atamanenko is already asking for a budget that will makes the museum sustainable, he said.

In 2010, the museum became a regional museum and Atamanenko said because of that the museum should receive more funding from the Cariboo Regional District.

“I made an appearance before the Central Cariboo City of Williams Lake joint committee, with three area directors who are part of the arts and culture function but they weren’t supportive of giving us any more money.”

The museum had asked for $70,000, but only was allocated $35,000, he added.

Williams Lake has been moving ahead in terms of accessibility, Atamanenko said.

“There are people remodelling their own homes to be accessible and there are no accessible homes being built.”

Recently the accessibility committee applied for funding from the Rick Hansen Foundation to create a 3D model and a table top architectural model featuring an accessible home.

“This project has the support of the Williams Lake Construction Association, Thompson Rivers University and School District 27.”

When issues arise about seniors, Atamanenko often arranges meetings so seniors can ask local or provincial politicians questions.

“We had 60 people come out to a meeting where we invited Mayor Walt Cobb and John Massier from the Cariboo Chilcotin Hospital District to ask them questions about the Cariboo Lodge site being sold,” he added.