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Meet The Directors

Here you can learn a little about the dedicated volunteers, who are currently serving on the Board Of Directors of the Kaslo Housing Society. At every AGM the opportunity presents itself for members of our lovely community to join our team, and – of course – there’s no level of experience and education, that is too much or too little or not relevant for the tasks at hand. This a place, where Kaslovians can help and work with fellow Kaslovians to realize the need of many, to obtain and maintain a secure, safe, comfortable and affordable place to call home.

Erika Bird – Chair

I grew up on Montreal Island, the next-to-youngest of 7 articulate siblings. Having something worthwhile to say and to speak your mind were encouraged. But I think one of the more important values I learned from my parents was listening. Plus how to make due with very little and find that both a challenge and an opportunity.

Growing up as an Anglo in Quebec in the 60s & 70s was as close to being a lesson in what it feels like to be a minority as any North American white person is likely to get. Never having felt “mainstream” has (perhaps ironically) helped me to stay committed to community volunteering.

I have a technical diploma in ceramics and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. I came to Kaslo in 1992 from Quebec because my husband got a forest tech job here (we met as tree planters.) We raised 3 kids in Kaslo – they are adults now and all doing fine. I work at the Pennywise and wear at least 4 hats there: proofreader, writer, graphic artist, client liaison…

I was 5 years on the board of the Kaslo and District Community Forest Board and have been on the Housing Society Board for several  years now, as Chair.

Wanda Ammon – Vice-Chair

My husband and I moved to the Kootenay area, Shutty Bench, in 1975 and we’ve been living in this beautiful corner of BC ever since. From 1975 to 1995 we built up a successful mixed farm and tourist business, “Shutty Bench Lodge and Farm”. The work was 24 x 7 for 20 years; looking after farm animals, gardening, and serving our tourist guests. I’ve learned a lot about hard work and perseverance to reach your goal. After selling our farm, we moved to Kaslo, then moved back to Shutty Bench while our Kaslo house was renovated.

In 2006, we permanently moved back to Kaslo and loved every minute living in this beautiful village.

In 1996, I joined the Victorian Hospital of Kaslo Auxiliary Society and over the years have held various positions, from secretary to vice president, to volunteering in the thrift store. Currently I am serving as the VHKAS Treasurer. In the past I have also volunteered at the library, and I am currently still a member of the Kaslo Legion Auxiliary.

I cannot stress enough the importance of providing suitable, and, affordable housing to our citizens. People should not have to move for lack of housing, live in cars because they can’t afford a roof over their heads, or there is no housing available. As a member of the Kaslo Housing Society, I hope to work diligently with the other members to provide Kaslo citizens with suitable housing.

Christine Parton – Secretary

I’ve lived in Kaslo for almost 5 years. I grew up outside of Edmonton and spent years in Ottawa, on the Sunshine Coast of BC, Nova Scotia and overseas in Ireland in India, alternately attending school, exploring the world, and raising a family. I have one daughter. My mom was an active volunteer and volunteer coordinator professionally, and as a teen and adult I have also been oriented to giving back to my community and the wider world.

I was a member of the Kaslo Housing Society Board in 2014-2016 and then took a break to focus on finishing up school and starting a small business in town, my art therapy practice called Fireside Art Therapy. I also have board experience from my time in Nova Scotia, with the South Shore Waldorf school, and as a member of the Big Picture Building Collective in Halifax. I’m so grateful for the secure rental situation I have in this town and would like to put my efforts towards helping others find the same, as well as enriching Kaslo community life in general. I am committed to living here long term and want to help Kaslo and its residents be as healthy as possible – secure, clean and safe housing being just one part of that.

I’m especially interested in sustainable building projects, land sharing options and multi-generational residential/social projects that get people connecting and supporting each other.

John Rasmussen – Treasurer

I was born and bred in Toronto, and lived there until 4 1/2 years ago when I moved here and made this my home. While living in Ontario, the only time I spent away from Toronto was while attending the University of Waterloo where I graduated with a BA Economics.

My work and past experience has been varied. I spent many years working as a title searcher for a company contracted to automate the Province of Ontario’s land registration system. I have also worked as an administrative assistant for Geneva Centre for Autism and a division of Bell Canada.

Since coming to Kaslo, I have worked in the kitchen at the Bluebelle Bistro and in the pub at the Kaslo Hotel.

I consider myself blessed to be able to call Kaslo home but realize that it probably wouldn’t be possible without a familial connection (someone who owns their own property)!

Gerry Devine – Director

I first came to Kaslo in 1959 with my parents as a young boy. I returned after high school in 1970 as a young man. In 2001, my wife Kay and I purchased real estate north of Kaslo. And I finally retired to the community in 2017 after a 40 year career in consulting engineering.

I know the importance of housing for families and for children that have been challenged with health and economic issues. My father was a successful chartered accountant but fell ill due to manic-depressive disorder. This created our family’s need for social housing and welfare supports for food and basic subsidence. Those circumstances combined with my consulting engineering background led to my role on the Board of Directors for the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) between 2008 and 2013. CHRC is an Alberta organization responsible for operating 4,500 units of social housing, and developing and operating 600 units of affordable housing in Edmonton. My board leadership roles included Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the Development Committee.

In 2019, I became involved with a local group of Kaslo citizens that were customers of the Kaslo Body Project, a fitness facility that was for sale. We formed a first Board of Directors, got registered as a For Profit Co-operative, prepared a Business Plan, raised equity investments in the community, obtained financing from Columbia Basin Trust, and acquired the assets from the previous owners. The Kaslo Community Fitness Co-operative has been operating successfully since the very beginning.

As a board member, I have my personal and professional experiences to offer to the community. I have been a registered professional engineer in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. I have also been a certified management consultant with the Canadian Association of Management Consultants. Currently, I am a registered professional engineer in the State of Montana. I have been involved in all phases of the project life cycle including planning, design, construction, operations, renewal and repurposing. In Canada, I have prepared numerous business cases to plan, develop, finance, and successfully implement public sector capital projects while managing risks. In British Columbia, I was the author of the Capital Asset Reference Guide (CARG) prepared for the Ministry of Advanced Education and post-secondary institutions to plan, fund, and implement high priority capital projects. I also prepared business cases for proposed student residences at Northwest Community College, Simon Fraser University, St. Michael’s University College, Grant MacEwan University, the University of Alberta, and for many other recreational, academic and research facilities at post-secondary institutions. Furthermore, I was Program Monitor on behalf of the BC Ministry of Advanced Education for all capital projects in the $530 million Knowledge Infrastructure Program at 20 post-secondary institutions.

I am a big believer in Kaslo and the surrounding communities. I’ve discovered that the grass roots capabilities here are very powerful and the people possess a can do attitude. Kaslo urgently needs more affordable housing, and I’m thrilled to contribute to the successful planning, implementation, and operations of a much needed community asset.

Alexandra Halliday – Webmaster/Director

I was born and raised in Austria, with a lifelong interest in education and development. As a visually impaired individual unable to read from a chalk board, I became proficient in both writing and reading Braille shorthand in English and German. I used Braille shorthand throughout my high school years. While living in Europe, I helped develop coaching and training strategies suited to the needs of visual, auditory and tactile learners, utilizing Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques and Modeling.

I have worked extensively in early childhood education and development. I served with the Head Start program for early childhood education in Northern California, in policy development and with the home-based program. I successfully home schooled 3 of my children for 7 years and acted as their home facilitator throughout their Distance Education High school experience, as well as home schooling my youngest daughter, who is currently enrolled in the local Homelinks program.

I also have a lifelong interest in equity. In Utah, I was a member of JEDI women, an organization, which represented the values of Justice, Equality, Dignity and Independence for women of all walks of life. I acted as spokesperson to the State media. 

My husband and I started, owned and operated a number of small businesses. I was an early leader in the creative utilization of on-line research and marketing with extensive experience in the creation of web sites and international in-house print publications. I am proficient in German and English.

I have worked as a legal secretary, as a trained care aide with people facing mental and physical challenges and the elderly, on a number of occasions in Europe and North America as a political campaign manager, and in Real Estate. 

We made this beautiful and amazing community of Kaslo our new home in late 2016. We are all involved in community life. I am especially proud of our son and daughter’s training efforts and commitment to the community as active SAR volunteers. 

Among other pre-Covid community activities, such as participation in our local Kuimba Choir, carpet bowling and English Country Dance, I attended our local Selkirk College to study Biology. My daughters and I are avid photographer and could not wish for a more breath-taking and naturally intriguing canvas for my work. I have completed and am in the process of completing a number of community photography projects.

This community is a well-spring of amazing, diverse and talented individuals, of opportunities for everyone, and surrounded by the most breath-taking bit of Alpine nature.

I joined the KHS Board, because I am saddened to see and experience the challenges faced by so many valuable individuals, who call Kaslo home and who contribute in so many ways of their time and talent to the wellness of this community, who simply need a safe, clean and affordable place to live. The loss of anyone, who has to leave this community due to lack of adequate and affordable housing is, indeed, a loss, that will be felt by the entire community in one way or another. 

Tara Lynne Clapp, PhD, RPP, MCIP

I first moved to Greater Kaslo in 1990, after my son was born. Our family came to the Kaslo area through skiing, as my parents started skiing in Meadow Creek with Alan and Brenda Drury when they first started Selkirk Wilderness Skiing. We fell in love with Kaslo and Kootenay Lake, and bought a summer place in 1985.

For a few years this was a summer place for me, then moved here again full time in 1996, but moved away for a job in 1999, and I became a landlord here, living in various trailers, tents and RVs in the summer.

I moved back again full time in 2011. I served as a Board member for the Kaslo Housing Society for three terms 2011-2017.

My biggest accomplishment as a Board Member was helping to recruit Erika Bird, Cloe Bayeur-Holland, and Christine Parton to the Board. Along with others, it is this group that really started to move the Society forward with fundraising and with determined and persistent housing option development.

I was able to serve KHS with planning and project development while not on the Board.

I am once again a summer person in Kaslo, as I am working in Prince George as a professor of planning. I am still very attached to Kaslo, as my dogs Shadow and Belle still live there.

I am excited to have the opportunity to serve KHS as a Board member again.

Kevin Flaherty

I am pleased to be considered for the Board of the Housing Society.  The KHS has worked long and hard to get to the position it is in now and I want to help us move forward.
Myself and my partner Donna Gibbons moved to Kaslo in 2014/15.  We enjoy living and working here year round.

I like to think that I bring to the board experiences that shape my perspective on affordable housing:

– I lived in prairie railway stations with multiple siblings until I was a teenager, then lived in affordable, secure, well managed co-operative housing.  
– over the years we have owned a home or two but when we moved we benefited from a rise in housing prices as home owners/sellers.  I see this as historical luck, not good management on my part and that not everyone can do this.  
– for most of my life I have worked (paid and volunteer, including Boards) for non-profit organizations that provide community based solutions to community needs.
– I have benefited from a publicly supported education system that values and enables critical thought, rigorous research and creative innovation.
– I like to think that I used my 18 months working for the Kaslo Housing Society in 2018-19 as an opportunity to research and promote affordable housing solutions in the Kootenays and other small communities and that being on the Board of KHS  will help put this to good use.

I believe that affordable housing is a right and if the current trend towards a lack of affordability and availability in the region continues it will negatively influence what Kaslo looks like and lives like in the near future.   

For some reason I thought Kaslo would benefit from a coffee-priority establishment and so in early 2020 I started  Hummingbird Coffee Roastery on Front Street in the warm months and selling beans throughout the year.  It keeps me busy but not so busy that I can’t be actively involved in the KHS.

Thanks for the opportunity to be considered for the Board.