Voters head to the polls on October 15 for the 2022 Municipal Election. MyBulkleyLakesNow reached out to the Mayoral candidates for Telkwa to answer each of the following questions:
- Can you provide a brief bio of yourself and a photo?
- Why are you running for mayor for Telkwa and what makes you the best candidate?
- What is one issue you would focus on in the community?
- What are other pressing issues in Telkwa and how would you address them?
- Any final thoughts on any topic that you would like to share?
Here are their responses and a quick bio:
In alphabetical order;
Leroy Dekens, served on council
Telkwa has been my home since 1992 and I am proud to call it so. My wife and I have raised our children here together and we are very proud to now have eight grandchildren. While living in Telkwa I have served with the Bulkley Valley Kinsmen for 25 years in all faculties including president for several years. After receiving a lifetime membership I then went on to serve on the Village of Telkwa Council for the past eight years.with five years as Deputy Mayor. My wife and I have operated the family business Midway service opened in 1977 since 1992.
Derek Meerdink, served on council
I have lived in Telkwa most of my life. I was born into the concrete business, my first toy was a trowel. My father, Henk Meerdink, encouraged us at a young age to work hard. He has also taught me many skills on how to manage a business effectively. For thirty years I have been in the concrete finishing and construction industry.Primarily placing and finishing concrete but also building, renovating, buying, selling and renting houses.
2.Why are you running for mayor for Telkwa and what makes you the best candidate?
I have been proud to serve this Village and with my experience I know what projects are most important to see it succeed. We must push through the red tape to get the work done. Through my eight years of service I have made valuable connections with higher government officials whose help we would need to see the projects come to fruition. They now know Telkwa exists and that it is important to fulfill their duties to keep residents of each BC community satisfied.
I am running for mayor because I care a lot about our community. I have grown up here and I want what is best for Telkwa. I understand how business works and to use funds to get the best bang for your buck. In terms of spending we are accountable for every dollar to our taxpayers.During this past term on council I have enjoyed speaking and visiting with many residents and listening to their concerns, questions and comments.
3.What are some issues that you would like to tackle?
Infrastructure is very important to me. Our community has not seen upgrades in some areas of the Village for many years and these areas need attention. We have some very old water systems. Our roads must also be upgraded for the increased traffic in some nieghbourhoods. All of this must be done before emergency repairs are needed. That will not only become more expensive but we will be working on a downhill slope. The provincial Government needs pushing to use tax dollars we all contribute to to be utilized in our village. The CN rail crossing and Telkwa bridge in our village is another very high priority. In our area we have two of three trestle bridges in the province. We must make the crossing safe for residents of both sides of the crossing. We have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Resource Benefits Alliance which would ensure tax dollars acquired throughout the North would be shared between communities in the north rather than being directly forwarded to Victoria.
Many things have been brought forth, concerns that matter. One of our main issues is replacing our bridge. This is a very expensive undertaking. Our current Bailey Bridge that spans the Bulkley River is on its last legs.
4.What are other pressing issues in telkwa and how would you address them?
Did not express other pressing issues.
Another concern is our train tracks and the increase in traffic over the last couple years. The expectation is that they will continue to get busier with the port expansion in Prince Rupert. We need a new bridge and an overpass for vehicle traffic over the train tracks.
As mayor I will continue to put pressure on the MOTI, CN and Municipal Affairs to get this done. I’m also concerned with how our current tax dollars are being spent. A large portion of our property tax is going to the BV Regional Pool, I feel that this should be a user pay system. For Telkwa folks it is not as easily accessible, many residents from Telkwa use the Houston Pool and we don’t have the commercial and industrial revenue that Smithers has to support it. Another controversial issue is the proposed coal mine in Telkwa. With the current state of war in the Ukraine, the price of coal has been driven up. Countries like Italy, France and Germany are all moving back to that natural resource. At the end of the day there are very strong influences that will have the most control over this situation. What we can do here is have our concerns addressed both environmentally and economically.
- Is there anything further you would like to add?
Please everyone, show pride in your community and use your right to vote for leadership.
My desire is to help Telkwa be a community that is affordable and safe to raise families.