Bonnie Rounds has lived in Lillooet for the past year. She was raised on a Kamloops ranch and has worked in Alberta and B.C, as a bookkeeper for an organic beef producer, a freight warehouse manager and culinary instructor. This is the first time she has run for public office.
Why she chose to live in Lillooet:
There are a couple reasons. I have a son here and other family members here. And the climate here is the best in all of Canada. And it’s not so busy as Penticton, Kelowna or Vernon. Even Kamloops where I grew up, I can remember when my father moved cows in those mountains at Sahali and Aberdeen. I’m not a big city person, I love rural areas.
Why she’s running for council:
I am running as an independent councillor because I want to make a difference. I have a strong mind and intend to fulfill the role of a councillor for the people. I have talked to many people and they are not happy with what’s being going on. Some people tell me they will not go to another council meeting because they went once and left angry. They feel they’re not being heard.
I did my due diligence and researched documents and it looks like there’s been no committees to implement the 2008 Official Community Plan; no committees for affordable housing, senior care, infrastructure; no plan to rejuvenate economic development to downtown. Council do not answer the public’s questions, council do not provide written records as to what they’re working on. The District website for the last four years shows nothing has been accomplished to improve the town. Taxes have gone up considerably even though council approved a zero per cent increase. The swimming pool was only open for six weeks this year and it is not clear by reading the financial statements the intent local government has on the recreation centre.
After writing letters to the council of Lillooet and attending council meetings, I am shocked by the way council responds to the public. I have asked why councillors will not attend UBCM to promote and implement our Official Community Plan. I have asked for promised townhall meetings to occur on finances and the Official Community Plan, And their response, in my opinion, is not benefitting of a local council.
And I want people to understand that if you don’t raise your voice, Council can’t help you. They can’t read the minds of the people.
What experience would she bring to council:
My community service includes being involved in 4-H for many years as a project leader, council president and regional council representative. This included running council meetings and ensuring proper recording and financial matters were all in order and audited.
I was involved in politics to the point that to the benefit of the towns where I was, if things didn’t feel right, I questioned everything. Some call it the worst trait I have. My question is “Why?” My relatives would say, “Why do you always have to ask that question – why?”.
I fight for what I believe in and I don’t let go. I try to improve everywhere I live.
Being a freight manager, I always had to ensure the receipts matched and public relations-wise, I had to continually be phoning people whatever the claim was or the issue was,
When I worked with the finances on an organic beef ranch, that was marketing because I had to find a market for the beef because at the time organic beef was just an incoming niche and people weren’t willing to pay the price. I think I have a little bit of everything and I can offer an open mind.
My priorities will be to ensure the will of the council is met and the welfare and well-being of the people is first and foremost. The pool should be open all year for the kids, seniors and all. Implement an advisory planning commission for infrastructure, water, sewer, roads, sidewalks and downtown improvements; a housing committee for seniors, low-cost housing/rentals and the homeless. Provide jobs by building a training centre for forestry firefighters alongside First Nations. Review financial planning and status and the associated bylaws.
I would like to see to see the firefighting school here because I know the federal government at the UBCM has stated $10 million this year, $20 million next year, $20 million the following year to help the small communities. This is something in this climate that has to be taken on as a big project because otherwise we’re nothing but cinder and ash.
People should vote for me because…
I’m not even going to say ‘Vote for me’ because people should make the decision on whether or not they want to go with someone new with the hopes that things will change. And I feel that if I’m elected I can push for things to change within council and with the rejuvenation of the town.