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.

Kate O-Keefe – President/Chair

I was born and bred in BC, living the first part of my life in the Vancouver area.
Schools days were filled with camping, hiking, ice skating, glee club, drama
club, future teachers’ club, Girls Hi-Y, in addition to achieving a high standard in
academics. My childhood was filled with things almost unrecognizable now –
dad built the only family home I ever knew, across the street was a “mill
pond” (sawmill) where we ice skated in winter, caught tadpoles in spring, and
explored native flora in summer. Neighbours were at least 1/2 a block away and
one kept chickens that we bought on the wing. She killed them and we brought
them home to pluck, eviscerate and cook. Dad grew a garden. It was a healthy
busy life.
Scholarships helped my teacher training at UBC, and I taught elementary school
for 25 years, mostly as a specialist reading (clinical and classroom) teacher, after
gaining a graduate degree. Always holidays were spent exploring the BC
outdoors, camping, hiking, fishing. Quite understandable that when the time
came for a change I moved to a farm in Johnson’s Landing, lived in a log house,
grew an organic garden, raised chickens and had the lovely hike to Fry Creek
from my doorstep. When that busy life allowed I backpacked in the local
mountains, performed in 2 operettas, helped with the needs of the up-the-lake
rural community…
…and began my volunteer career in health advocacy. I served on the board of
North Kootenay Lake Community Services Society, ran the Kaslo and Area
Health Advisory Committee, was a member of the regional group Connected
Communities, was appointed to the Board of the Nelson and Area Health
Council, and the Village of Kaslo Health Select Committee. Other Society and
Charity experience included the Johnson’s Landing Community Association
board, and 3 which I started: the Lardeau Valley Seed Savers Association,
Lardeau Valley Sunday Market, the Gar Creek Water Users Association (in the
aftermath of the devastating 2012 landslide), and was the inaugural President of
Kaslo Community Acupuncture Society. I served several years as the Alternate
Director of Area D, was elected vice-President of the Victorian Hospital of Kaslo
Auxiliary Society, and volunteer at the Thrift Store.
It’s an honour to step into the shoes of Erika Bird, who has so ably steered the
Kaslo Housing Society to the completion of the Penny Lane Apartments. It’s
also scary, so I am grateful for the enthusiastic and supportive team to work with
as we people this building and move forward to help fulfil housing needs in
Kaslo and area.

Alexandra Halliday – Vice Chair/Webmaster

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.

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.

Wanda Ammon – Treasurer

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.

Erika Bird – Director

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.

John Rasmussen – Director

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)!

Tara Lynne Clapp, PhD, RPP, MCIP – Director

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 – Director

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.