Incumbent Cheryl Shuman says livability, sustainability top priorities if re-elected to Dawson Creek city council

“I care a lot about Dawson Creek, I have deep roots in the area, and I just want Dawson Creek to keep moving forward in a positive way – in a family-friendly, sustainable way,” said Shuman. “I want to see our community grow that makes it a good place to live for everyone.”

She said the availability and affordability of housing is a critical issue to that end, and she will continue to advocate for policies to address those issues. She said the next council must focus on ensuring developers move through the permitting process in an efficient manner, and the need for social housing for low-income individuals and families continues to be communicated to the senior levels of government. She added  those goals are captured in the city’s Official Community Plan, and she would like to continue advocating for policies such as the allowance for carriage houses and basement suites that advance those goals.

Shuman said she agrees with other candidates who have said that the city should focus on core infrastructure needs, adding water sustainability is one of her top priorities. However, she said she will back away from supporting arts and culture.

“Having a healthy community isn’t just about having sporting facilities, it’s also the wellbeing of people’s minds, and arts and culture falls into that,” she said.

The first-term councillor has been a passionate advocate for reducing the corporation’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, and she said she will continue to support projects that meet those aims. She said reducing energy consumption is not only good for the environment, but is financially prudent in light of the rising cost of electricity. She added sustainability isn’t necessarily about being “green,” but about ensuring the city’s facilities and services can be maintained in the long-term.

She also rejects the assertion that financial sustainability has not been a priority at City Hall, citingthe city’s new debt management policy as an example to the contrary.

“Everybody is talking about financial sustainability, but nobody has forgotten about that – it is top of mind always,” she said.

Shuman said she is prepared to defend controversial decisions such as the new water rate structure, and the financial support for the Dawson Creek Rage hockey team, because those decisions were made in the interest of the financial sustainability of the city’s utility systems and the EnCana Events Centre, respectively.

Shuman has lived in Dawson Creek since 1989 and has been involved in a number of different organizations and boards. She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Dawson Creek and president of the Kiwanis Community Band. She has sat on the board of Success By 6 in the South Peace and volunteered with the Community Action for Seniors Independence (CASI) project. She also serves as the president of the South Peace chapter of the BC Sustainable Energy Association.

 She said in spite of her affiliations, she has approached decisions on council with an open and objective mind.

“When we’re making decisions, I look at the community as a whole and I think about what’s best for the community, and I don’t value one demographic over another demographic. There is nobody who is more important than anybody else in the community.”

Shuman is married and has three children.

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