Natasha Wiebe

Meet Williams Lake city council candidate: Natasha Wiebe

CANDIDATE: Q&A

Natasha Wiebe is a supported living worker who has lived in Williams Lake for several years. When she’s not working she loves to do repairs on her truck or walk with her dogs.

What is the solution to Williams Lake’s current housing and rental shortage?

I do not believe there is only one solution to the housing and rental shortage but rather a collaborative solution that with time will enable more and more people the means in which to not be faced with the possibility of being homeless. Currently the City of Williams Lake has a low income housing apartment under way. Not only will this allow a possible rent reduction for those who live there, but it will also brings in more apartment units (39) into the city. I would like to as well, possibly approach both the provincial government, as well as the federal government, on finding out what options are available.

Perhaps we can find funding to bring in both the properties, as well as the funding for a tiny house community. These communities could be set up for those 55 years or older who still are wanting/wishing their independence yet like so many others are faced with some of the fears and or concerns of living alone.

For example shovelling snow. Too often when speaking with the elders in a community the same concern is being raised. That concern being, if should something happen, how long would it be before someone noticed.

A tiny house community would also help to possibly relieve some of the financial burdens that so many on CPP are currently faced with.

What are your thoughts on the proposal to burn rail ties at Atlantic Power?

My thoughts on the burning of rail way ties is probably the same thoughts as many, which is why it is now in the court system and the data and information being studied and examined to determine the safety of the burning of the ties. If it is found that the burning of the railway ties poses a danger or hazard to the air quality and/or environment to the community, and a safe procedure cannot be found, then no I cannot support the burning of the ties.

If it is proven/found that the burning of the railway ties poses no threat to the air quality or environment here in Williams Lake then I do not see any reason as to why the burning should not resume.

Recently an air quality seminar was presented to both current city representatives as well as those seeking election. During this seminar we were presented with information, as well as data from the Williams Lake Airshed Committee’s findings and readings.

We were presented with two graphs showing the air quality readings for the last two years.

On the graphs were two lines, one line being the province’s ideal PM 2.5 reading for air quality and the other being a set guideline from the Williams Lake Airshed Committee’s ideal PM 2.5 reading for air quality. In the last two years the only time the readings for Williams Lake went higher than both the set readings was during the wildfires were the readings spiked well above the suggested readings set by the province as well as the Williams Lake Airshed Committee’s.

What measures by council do you think would help diversify and strengthen the local economy?

As a council member it is our duty to listen to what the members of the community are saying. In listening to the concerns and or issues we (city council) may hear or spot a common concern/issue.

In learning if and what appears to be a common issue and or concern it may allow city council to discuss these matters with all those concerned and discuss the possibility of finding a possible solution.

If 9 out of 10 businesses are being faced with the same issue then we (city council) can conclude that is indeed a concern and that it does need to be dealt with and or addressed.

In helping to eliminate some of the common concerns and or issues of the majority then perhaps these businesses can continue providing their products and/or services to the community as well as being able to offer possible employment opportunities to the community.

Perhaps if businesses are addressed with less concerns they might be able to stay open and in staying open, this would promor local shopping, which in return helps to premote our local economy.

With the change in climate and increasing threat of wildfires, what strategies would you support to make the community safer and more resilient?

We do not yet know if the weather conditions we have experienced these last two years will be the new norm or if perhaps this was a cycle of nature itself.

However, there are companies already in place who are cleaning up the fuels on the ground as well as cleaning out the under brush, taking out some of the problem branches on the trees as well. In doing this style of cleanups there will be less and less fuel on the ground.

I do think that perhaps we need to look at what is an example of healthy tree spacing. If trees are too close together they begin to choke each other out, which again, eventually re-adds to the fuel on the ground. So moving forward with the new growth being spaced in a healthy fashion, and companies doing bush clean ups, plus also having companies and or organizations going in and looking at new growth areas as well as into old growth areas then perhaps we will see a return in health to our forests.

Considering we always rank in the top 10 for crime severity, do you think Williams Lake is a safe place to live for everyone?

If Williams Lake was an ‘unsafe’ city to live in, we would not all be living here. When the city was deemed ‘unsafe’ the mayor and city council sent evacuation orders to all members of the community.

What would you do to protect and/or enhance the city’s air quality?

For a minimum of two years Williams Lake’s air quality readings have been meeting both the set guide line from both the provincial government as well as Williams Lake’s own Airshed Committee, except for when the wildfires were burning. So yes getting the fuel off the ground, ensuring proper spacing between trees (no over crowding) in our forests, and having forest technicians to go in and oversee the health conditions of our forests both new growth and old growth alike is vital. Staying in touch with and having an open communication between the city council and Williams Lake’s Airshed Comittee is vital as well.

What ideas do you have for the proposed trail and amenities on the RC Cotton Site that would preserve Scout Island as a nature sanctuary and wildlife viewing area while giving residents more access to the lake?

A concern that I do have is that perhaps only electric motors or paddle boats be allowed to launch from the newly proposed boat launch; the location of the purposed boat launch, in conjunction with the mouth of the Williams Lake River, as well as the concerns raised by a few of the want or wish to have the water of Williams Lake possibly brought back to a healthier state.

I worry that with a bigger boat launch going in and if gas-powered engines be allowed to launch from there, that the potential dangers/harm to both the lake as well as the ecosystems in the river as well as the eco-systems further downstream, including the Fraser River may reverse the positive changes that have been brought about to bring these ecosystems back to a healthier state they are now currently in.


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