Melynda Neufeld is one of two candidates running for the position of Area E director during the upcoming Cariboo Regional District byelection scheduled for April 7.
Neufeld has lived in the Cariboo Chilcotin for 45 years, all of that time spent in Area E. She’s currently the alternate director for Area E, where she has sat as an alternate for seven years, and has taken a larger role following the death of her father, director Byron Kemp, on Jan. 15.
She says she took on the position when Kemp fell sick in the fall.
Neufeld said the former teacher and principal has left big shoes to fill.
“His professional career was as a school teacher, a principal, and that’s all he did was teach, so he taught me a lot, but filling his shoes is still really hard.”
It’s bittersweet running for the position of director, she said.
“He’s left a pretty big legacy in town as far as the school district, rugby club and CRD. If one of us can continue on with his dreams, that would be great,” she said.
“I’ve grown up with it, he’s been there since 1999 and he’s always been a proud supporter of the Cariboo Regional District so he’s always pushed me.”
Neufeld grew up at Chimney Lake, and said her knowledge of the area and what the needs of the people are would serve her well as a director.
Neufeld currently lives in the Esler area, but her work with her father, and her deep knowledge of Area E have set her up well for the position of director, she believes.
Right now, Neufeld said she is focused on wildfire prevention for the area, and hopes to continue working with Community Forests and building fire breaks, and continuing alliances with the First Nation communities of Esketemc and Stswecem’c Xgat’tem to build on their fire department training and skills.
If elected, she also hopes to implement another transfer station in the Esler Subdivision area, to help control garbage being dumped in the back areas near Dog Creek Road and the SPCA.
In honour of Kemp, she wants to help carry out his wish to complete the road from the Esler Ball Fields to Highway 20.
Her experience on the CRD is an asset she says, adding that while it took her a while to figure things out, she’s gotten more involved.
“It’s about knowing your community, knowing the area and knowing the politics of it.”
Outside her work with the CRD, where she also serves as chair for the Central Cariboo Rural Directors Caucus, Neufeld is a grandmother to two girls, and is a director on the BC Barrel Racing Association. She’s also on the executive helping bring the Stampede Warm Up Barrel Race and Afterburn to Williams Lake this June and enjoys barrel racing in her free time.