Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area C director John Massier may have been elected for another term by acclamation, but that doesn’t mean he’s in any way complacent about supporting the area, its residents and the economy.
Massier has been director for Area C for 10 straight years, after he jumped into local politics in 2008. He has been CRD vice-chair for the past two years, an elected position within the board of directors, and was chair of the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District for five years prior to that.
He also takes on a variety or roles outside of local politics.
“I’m the current chair of the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest, I’ve served on the executive of the Federation of B.C. Woodlot Associations, and I’m on the board of the Woodlot Product Development Council,” he says, explaining that he owned a silviculture company for 33 years, and he and his wife still own a woodlot licence on a property in the Cottonwood area.
With a vast region spanning from the north end of Quesnel, surrounding the District of Wells and encompassing Barkerville, Massier has plenty of ground to cover as Area C director.
“Our economy locally is based on forestry, mining, agriculture and tourism, and all four of those play a big part in Area C,” he notes.
“I’ve been fairly involved with Barkerville and sit on the board of the Barkerville Heritage Trust,” he says. “We’ve got a lot of exciting new things at Barkerville in the last several years under the CEO Ed Coleman.”
He also notes developments in the mining industry as major wins for the area. “Area C is the home to most of the placer miners within this area and they’ve been an important part of the economy and we are trying to make sure those small businesses remain viable. We’ve also been lucky enough to attract a large mine, with Barkerville Gold Mine. … They are having some real success,” says Massier.
Massier is also proud of the work the City of Quesnel and CRD directors have done to bring a Agricultural Development Advisory Committee to the region, to help bolster the sector.
And in terms of forestry, Massier says Area C has the bulk of the green timber east of the Fraser for the mid-term timber supply, making it an important region for the local economy. To that end, Massier hopes to continue working with local and provincial governments to ensure that forest fires don’t destroy the area.
“We need to look at a few things, look over how we are managing our forest land base so we can avoid those kind of conditions [that caused the last two fire seasons] in the future, bring controlled fire back to the forest management regime and get on the fires as they start,” he says, noting that Area C has been particularly lucky in the past two summers, with wildfires in the region remaining small for the most part.
Massier also acknowledges that taxes are set to increase for the next five years for residents of the Barlow Creek Fire Protection Service area, due to overspending by Barlow Creek Volunteer Fire Department in 2017.
“Going forward all we can do is make sure that sort of thing doesn’t repeat itself for Barlow Fire Department, or any other fire department for that matter,” says Massier. He also says he hopes to work with the regional board and its staff to try to reduce the impact on residents. The CRD announced Oct. 12 that an external auditor will review the fire department’s budgets.
In the next four years, Massier says he hopes to see the CRD find a way to diversify its income from just property taxes. He notes other regions in B.C. have different types of endowments to fund the regional districts. He also hopes to focus on revamping some core services.
“I’d like to see us, now that we have the new arena, turn our attention to the aging rec centre and pool that needs a bit of TLC before it gets in the same shape as the old arena,” he says.
Massier says he has lived all of his adult life in Area C and has a great love for the area. “I’m honoured to represent that portion of the Cariboo. It’s one of the nicest parts of the region and our province, and I’m happy with the voters’ trust to keep me in there.”