Brice O’Neill is seeking a term as Area F director after serving one term as SD 27 school board trustee. He works as a chef, has volunteered with the Child Development Centre and Boys and Girls Club and has two teenage daughters. He lives in Williams Lake.
What do you think are the top issues for your CRD area?
The top three issues for area F are, Communication services which include cellular service and high speed internet connections which are vital. Advocacy for a successful and financially beneficial community forest licence. Fire protection agreement for the residents in and around Lexington and White road.
Why do you want to be a CRD director?
I am a strong supporter of voters having a voice at local government. Often people in the rural areas are left feeling abandoned by their representatives. This has not been the case in Area F and the outgoing director leaves big shoes to fill. I will continue to offer a strong voice for F. I am also a supporter of smaller government and lower taxation. This will be one of my focuses if elected.
What previous experience do you bring to the table?
The last four years I sat as a Trustee for SD27. Three of those years I was elected by the board as Vice-Chair. In addition, I was chair of the Governance Committee and served as the representative for SD27 at British Columbia Public Service Employers Association. I served on the Trades Authority Liaison, IOUE liaison and CCTA liaison committees. Prior to that I served two years on the board for the Boys and Girls Club in Williams Lake. My partner Sue Lachance and myself have successfully operated a restaurant in Williams lake for the last 9 years, and I have a strong background and understanding of the small business community and what it takes to be successful.
What would you do to attract and retain doctors in the Cariboo Regional District?
My first step would be to talk to doctors in our communities to find out what drew them here and why they chose to stay. Several of the Doctors in our area are themselves actively promoting and marketing for new residents to come to Williams Lake. Making sure that we can offer them supports both from the community at large but also things such as housing availability. In addition I would advocate for the active recruitment of Nurse Practitioners.
What are your ideas to keep rural communities thriving with strong economies?
Rural communities need the support of both it’s residents and the Provincial Government. Too often our rural areas are left without assistance. This includes the most important issue of communication. We also need to look specifically at target specific economic development. Each smaller community within the region requires it’s own set of criteria to help promote themselves economically. We can’t promote a one size fits all approach.
What role does the Cariboo Regional District play in relationship to all other levels of government, including First Nations governments, federal, provincial and municipal government?
Traditionally the CRD can provide a broad range of services except roads and policing. The choice of services is determined by each regional board but only with the support of the electors. Thus my approach is to work closely with each smaller community as well as looking at a universal perspective to determine what is in the best interest of Area F. Developing a plan which works for the residents including the First Nations is of the highest priority.
How has your area moved forward since the 2017 wildfires?
Since the fires of 2017, many residents feel that they have recovered. That said, there are pockets of severely impacted people including but not limited to some of the ranchers who are still fighting for assistance with fencing, crop loss and infrastructure damage. Encouraging a stronger emergency planning and alert system for the local areas and linking it to the Provincial systems should be a priority moving forward. This includes a strong communication system, which would have helped to alleviate some of the more dangerous elements occurring from the fires.