Photo — Kathy O'Reilly
Rose Kochan’s grandson Tyler Howard is understandably a big fan of her crochet work that was for sale at the Port Hardy Farmers’ and Artisans Market June 27.
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Athena Guy hopes to represent ‘normal’ people
By Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle, September 23 2022
Athena Guy has put her name forward for the mayor’s chair in Port Hardy.
Guy was “strongly encouraged by a lot of community members” to run because they appreciate the way she can decipher matters.
“It’s been an ongoing topic in my life. People that meet me, and that get to know me, and understand how my brain works, they’re like ‘you know what Athena, you could do it’. So, that’s what encouraged me,” Guy said.
“It’s just very, very simple.
"When your peers around you believe in you, there’s a currency of exchange where you just you owe it to them to try,” she said.
Guy is hoping to be “that voice of a normal person” that finds it hard to understand bureaucratic language and processes.
“I’m not saying the other people aren’t normal, but just I am who I am, and it is what it is, and so I’m going to give it a really good try. I’m a real individual who looks at a situation wholeheartedly.”
“I believe in truth. Realism. A lot of these acts and statutes and policies that are written by the government is written in a type of language or literature or correspondence where the average person does not understand what it’s saying,” said Guy.
“People work very, very hard in our community - sometimes 12 to 14 to 18 hours a day to be able to put food on the table and provide (for their families)” and the importance of that gets “pushed to the wayside when it comes to trying to understand how the government works,” she said.
“People are told ‘well you’re just illiterate’ or ‘you don’t know and you should read, do some research’” - isn’t that “what our elected officials are supposed to do? Really say it in layman’s terms” and “explain what is going on or what this policy is saying,” said Guy.
“Most of the time we don’t even know what it’s saying” which is “not good”.
While she has no previous experience in politics, Guy believes Port Hardy needs somebody “normal to represent the community and when I say normal, it’s not about the accolades, not about the education, it’s about somebody that can decipher this stuff and just say it straight.”
Guy has lived on the North Island for seven years and moved to Port Hardy “because it was a good place to make an investment.”
Guy’s background “fluctuates and changes all the time. I’m very versatile. I’m very diverse and I’m very curious.
“I love to ask questions. I love to know what’s out there. I love to know what’s going on. I have hobbies that I love to do.
“I love to partake in things in the community and my primary job is raising my children and running a family and that is a full-time job within itself,” she said.
Athena Guy is running of the position of mayor in Port Hardy.
Port Alice mayoral candidate, Beth Thompson, believes three entities need to be at the municipal council table - administration, council, and people.
With a background in provincial government, private business ownership, and as band manager of the Nuchatlaht Tribe, near Zeballos, Thompson hopes to use the skills she has developed over the years if she is elected mayor.
Thompson moved to Port Alice with her husband 14 years ago. “We had an orchard for eight years and we decided that when my son was at (post-secondary school), we were going to retire from it, because it’s a young person’s job to be truthful,” Thompson said.
Her husband had worked on the north end of the island before and had always wanted to come back.
“We heard (former Mayor) Larry Pepper talking about Port Alice, and every other house being for sale, so it seemed like a good place that we might come to spend our retirement,” she said.
“And how could you not fall in love with Port Alice? So, we made an offer on a house and moved within three days.”
Thompson has followed different career paths in her life that she feels makes her a good candidate for mayor.
For instance, she was the district administrator for Alberta Transportation in Edson - a position that included overseeing highway construction and maintenance, the four airports, and all the gravel roads and unincorporated villages in the area because it was an Improvement District. In her role, Thompson oversaw a large staff, a huge budget, and learned to deal with people from municipal, provincial, and federal governments.
“I also have experience in private industry. I owned commercial greenhouses in Alberta” prior to purchasing her orchard in Keremeous.
“I’ve done lots of volunteer work, too” and considers herself to be a “proactive” person. Thompson sat on a committee for the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and helped enforce the National Fire Code of Canada when it was introduced. She also “sat in the meeting and put my hand up” to request Port Alice be included in the Tsunami mapping being done by Strathcona County. She has also been involved with the Mount Waddington Health Network.
Between liaising with other levels of government and a relationship with First Nations Thompson has “a strong skill set that I bring” to the table.
Stabilize healthcare, bears and village infrastructure are big community issues, but Thompson would like to see the village ensuring the community knows what council is up to by ensuring minutes, records and other pertinent information is readily available on the village’s website.
“The people are the most important. Citizens cannot take an interest if information is not available. If it is not easily obtainable, and of substance, they lose interest, and therefore do not participate,” she said.
Thompson believes consultation on a regular and continuous basis “is vital to community inclusion which provides for accountability.I understand it takes many grains of sand to make a mountain.”
Beth Thompson in race for Port Alice mayor
By Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle, September 23 2022
Photo —Kathy O'Reilly
Beth Thompson is running of the position of mayor in Port Alice.