Fort St. James resident likes being informed by attending local government meetings

Brenda Gouglas is Fort St. James’ community builder for the month of January

Brenda Gouglas. (Submitted photo)

Brenda Gouglas. (Submitted photo)

Brenda Gouglas likes to stay in the know of her community by regularly attending district council meetings.

While some might think local government is boring, the former Fort St. James Coun. has not skipped a beat.

“I might have missed one or two,” Gouglas said.

With the district shifting to online meetings held via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gouglas has made sure to power on her electronic device and participate.

“With Zoom it’s almost like you’re there because you get to see although their audio has been quite poor,” she said.

Gouglas has served as a Coun. for ten years, and while she had missed a term from 2011 to 2014, she said she has always continued to pay attention.

“My community is important to me, and I need to know what is going on at that level.”

Knowing that three of the current councillors are serving their first term, as is mayor Bob Motion, Gouglas’s interest in staying informed has been even stronger.

She was still weighing her options if she would be attending the first regular council meeting of 2022 in-person.

Chief administrative officer David Schroeter confirmed the district would be welcoming a maximum of five members of the public to attend their meeting at Council Chambers on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Schroeter added that virtual attendance would continue to remain an option.

Gouglas said she hopes others will attend council meetings to remain updated.

“Every time I am on there it is so important I think that people are engaged in what is going on in the community then they can contribute a little more, and take their thoughts that come forward that all need to be out in the open,” she said.

When Gouglas isn’t participating in local government meetings, she can be found volunteering with the Greening Up Fort St. James Society (GUF) and the Stuart Lake Recycling Co-op.

She also enjoys welcoming strangers to the community and recalled in April 2017 how she spotted a woman sitting on a towel at Cottonwood Park meditating despite there still being ice on the lake.

After chatting, Douglas had learned the couple was from Spain, embarking on a cross Canada tour in their van.

Gouglas credits the people of Fort St. James as to what has kept her and her husband calling the community home for the past 34 years after having moved from Germansen Landing.

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