Troy Baptiste (right) with daughter Olivia. (Troy Baptiste Facebook photo)

Troy Baptiste (right) with daughter Olivia. (Troy Baptiste Facebook photo)

Newly-elected ?Esdilagh First Nation chief eager to get to work

“We’re going to work as a team.”

Troy Baptiste is excited for the future ahead.

The Quesnel resident was elected chief of ?Esdilagh First Nation (Alexandria) after a random draw was required Dec. 15 to break a tie against incumbent chief Roy Stump.

A day after celebrating his 53rd birthday, Baptiste nervously paced back and forth that evening before his name was called out via a Facebook live video as the winner.

Read More: Tie for new ?Esdilagh First Nation Chief broken in random draw

For the past 32-and-a-half years, Baptiste worked at C&C Wood Products Ltd.’s sawmill division, which filed for bankruptcy this past June.

Although the facility with Westside Logging was later purchased by a company named Quesnel Investment Corporation, Baptiste said he was told all the logging equipment had been sold and the sawmill division would not be running.

“I had to choose a new career path, and it just happened elections were up, and I thought I would campaign and see what comes of it,” he said.

Baptiste, with elected Coun. William (Bill) Baptiste, took their oath of office on Dec. 16.

Before the holidays, he said he had met with his council team and received some briefings on matters such as economic development and an application appeal against a permit authorizing Gibraltar Mines to discharge mine and mill effluent in the Fraser River.

“I’ve got a lot of stuff to go over on the holidays, and in the new year I’ll be going hard in 2021.”

Baptiste called last week’s announcement by the B.C. Government to issue a tender to rebuild and realign washed-out sections of West Fraser Road great news.

He said he would like to see a gas bar constructed in the semi-remote community, located between Quesnel and Williams Lake, which does not currently have one.

The return of the Marguerite Ferry would provide an alternative evacuation route in the event current routes are impacted by wildfires, Baptiste added.

He currently resides in Quesnel on a 40-acre ranch with his wife, who works as a dental hygienist, and their three horses. Baptiste’s daughter Olivia is working on completing her fourth year of studies at UBC and plans to become a doctor.

Read More: Tender issued for West Fraser Road rebuild

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