PR Groundswell – Update!

Last November, members of PR Groundswell, were in attendance at the November 14 city committee of the whole meeting and voiced concerns about the treatment plant and the surrounding waterfront.

I had spoken to other members of the group and examined documentation provided by contracting engineers, and the consensus among our members is the proposed options are not good enough.

It appears as if they have taken a very traditional engineering approach to treating wastewater. They haven’t put it in the context of what makes sense for the long-term good of Powell River.

Read more in the Peak’s article here:

And stay tuned for more updates on this important project!

New year, new wellness

I initiated the Powell River Wellness Project in 2016 to encourage and educate community members to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Our city has higher-than-average poor health statistics. One of the reasons that can be attributed to this is our aging population – which is higher than the overall age in BC.

But while there is a correlation but I think it’s a stretch to say that is the only reason. Whether you’re four or 84, there’s opportunities to do small things that will give you lifelong benefit.


The project was focused on two components: a wellness exhibition and speaker’s forum, which ran at Max Cameron Theatre in Brooks Secondary School, and the Powell River Wellness Challenge, for registered participants, that began April and May and lasted for seven months. Each participant keeps track of their own lifestyle changes!

Read more about the challenge here:

Education for all

The Verna J Kirkness Education Foundation is an organization with the goal of increasing indigenous student graduating in science and engineering. I am proud to serve as Executive Director of this incredible and empowering program. I am also thrilled that in December of last year, our Education Foundation received an endowment gift of $500,000 from the Sisters of Saint Ann, Pacific Northwest.

In May of 2014 Tla’amin Nation students Ryan Pielle, Drew Charlie and Brianna Baron from Brooks Secondary School spent a week at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg as recipients of scholarships through the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Education Program. As of May 2017 a total of 10 Tla’amin Nation grade 11 students have attended Kirkness Programs at both University of Manitoba and University of British Columbia.

The gift represents the initial donation to an endowment fund the Foundation is establishing to allow Program continuity and expansion. It will supplement funding from universities, government agencies, corporate and individual donors. The Sisters of Saint Ann understand and support the efforts of the Foundation to ensure successful  educational outcomes for First Nations students. They expressed in a letter to the Foundation the hope that their donation “might encourage other potential donors to also contribute”.

The Verna J. Kirkness Education Foundation was established in 2008 with the primary goals to increase the number of First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) students graduating in science and engineering and to develop young role models who will influence other students to complete Grade 12 and pursue post-secondary studies. It achieves these goals by bringing Grade 11 FNMI students to a University campus for one week where they live in residence, meet with Elders at Aboriginal student centres, and do independent research with faculty mentors and their research groups. The program is called the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Education Program.

The Foundation’s namesake, Dr. Verna J. Kirkness, has been a leader in the field of Indigenous education since the 1950s. Her active involvement in the Program has been a major factor in its growth and success. To date, 288 Indigenous students have completed the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Education Program and are proud to be recognized as Kirkness scholars. In Georgina Balfour’s words, a 2012 Kirkness scholar from Norway House MB, “the Program allowed me to gain a great amount of knowledge and experience which is going to help me push forward in furthering my education into a science field.”

For further information about the Kirkness Foundation please visit:

More articles on the Foundation and it’s exciting work are below.

A local fundraiser we held to support the Foundation:

A great gathering

Thank you to everyone who came out to the public meeting on October 1st to discuss the future of Townsite’s former golf course lands. We had over 100 people attend, and it was heartening to have such an engaged and interested crowd.


It was also great to have councillors Karen Skadsheim and Rob Southcott attend, as they were able to answer questions about the process city council took to finalize the location of Powell River’s consolidated wastewater treatment plant.

The Powell River Peak has written a great article about the event and the different topics discussed and addressed. You can read it here.

PR Groundswell will be holding its next meeting to discuss the future of the old golf course lands on October 21st at the Evergreen Theatre Recreation Complex at 3pm. Discussion items will include:

  • A description of the lands including existing covenants and uses (trails and waste treatment);
  • A slide show of the current inhabitants of these lands;
  • Answers to questions raised at the first meeting; and
  • Options for the use of these lands.

The City of Powell River and Sliammon Development Corporation each own 50% of the old golf course lands. PRSC Limited Partnership manages these lands on behalf of them.

Nicholas Simons, MLA for the Powell River Sunshine Coast and Mac Fraser, CAO of Powell River will be in attendance. Councillors, City Staff, PRSC Limited Partnership and Powell River Waterfront Development Corp have been invited.

In the interim, if you have any questions or have feedback on this issue, please feel free to get in touch. I would love to connect.

I hope to see you on the 21st!