Local resident Robert Shkuratoff was born and raised in Quesnel, and hopes to represent Cariboo Regional District Area B (Quesnel West-Bouchie Lake), by running for director of the electoral area.
Shkuratoff was a volunteer firefighter for and later chief of the Ten Mile Volunteer Fire Department, and served as a commissioner on the Parkland Recreation Commission from 2010-2013. During his time living in Terrace, B.C., he was a director and then president of the Terrace Tourism Society (Shkuratoff returned to Quesnel in 2007).
Shkuratoff says many residents asked if he was interested in running, so he eventually decided to do so. He lives in the Moose Heights/Parkland area, which is part of Area B, and has many ideas about how to improve things for locals.
In a document submitted to the Observer, Shkuratoff writes that he believes a community plan is needed for Moose Heights, Parkland and Bouchie Lake in order for the community to grow and improve.
“It is my position that CRD directors must represent the electorate whether said person agrees with the voters or not,” he writes. “The director is the voter’s most humble servant.”
Shkuratoff outlines some of the top issues for the area, including emergency management for the next fire season; the Blackwater Road slide; availability of recycling centres in the area; local volunteer fire department recruitment and retention; cell phone reception; economic development; and recreational opportunities.
Shkuratoff says he knows some projects require consultation with the provincial and federal governments, but wants to work to ensure more tax dollars are redirected back into communities.
In terms of upcoming fire seasons, Shkuratoff says he’d like to see funding directed to public awareness campaigns regarding evacuation routes and temporary livestock refuges. And for the Blackwater Road slide – where land along the Fraser River has been slowly slipping into the river for years on Knickerbocker Hill – he believes “the Ministry of Highways must have an alternate route to Bouchie Lake ready to go [to replace] that problem section of road.” The most recent largescale slide occured in September 2017, although the road itself was not affected.
Shkuratoff would also like to see two recycling centres established in Area B so residents don’t need to go to town to sort their recycling; and he’d like more funding to expand local walking trails and improve boat launches at 10 Mile Lake, Bouchie Lake and Milburn Lake.
Shkuratoff’s firefighting experience and time with the local volunteer department also informs his wish to see assistance for rural departments in terms of their recruitment and retention, “which is an ongoing problem,” he writes.
Shkuratoff hopes Area B residents will get out and vote, and remain engaged.
“A void is created when the people simply mark an X in the box and remain apathetic until the next election cycle,” he writes.