Smithers election: Ryan Zapisocki

Smithers election: Ryan Zapisocki

Council candidate Ryan Zapisocki’s answers on a variety of topics.

I came to Smithers 25 years ago for work, and my heart has been here ever since. I moved here with my family 12 years ago and bought a home to set down roots. I’ve received my education in wildlife biology, natural resource management, park management and tourism from the U of A and UNBC. I have been working in silviculture and forestry consistently for the last 25 years. I spend much of my work life and spare time in the forests and mountains surrounding us. I have two teenagers who are my whole world, and I hope to make them proud, and leave them with a better world to live in.

I have no political experience, but I am interested in Municipal government because I want to give back to the community that has given so much to me. I feel like there are opportunities to make direct positive changes in our community.

We suffer from the challenges of providing enough affordable housing. A common theme I hear from the community, friends and family is how difficult it is to find homes here. I really like the idea of carriage homes and narrow homes, and I hope that if I make it on council I can play a part in a collaborative, and innovative, approach to solve our housing shortage.

I do support the new library/art gallery proposal as it is needed and will be another healthy draw to our community. It will further enhance our vibrant downtown and main street. Visiting friends and family love reminding me how lucky we are to have such a welcoming and active community.

Smithers truly is a unique town in the north. We have a thriving base in arts, recreation and tourism, strong forest industry, diverse local business core, a healthy mix of religion and cultural backgrounds, and we are a key part of a transportation corridor from the rest of Canada to the coast.

Infrastructure is a key component to all communities, and it is less glamorous than big showcase projects like the library/art gallery, but it is equally, or even more important to the health of our community. We still have much work in maintaining the infrastructure we already have, as well as continued improvements. For example, we will need to continue improving our drainage systems, paving our streets, and planning for future emergencies such as floods or fires.

With the big announcement of LNG as well as potential increases in rail and highway transportation, we will be provided an opportunity to grow our town and businesses. With that will come further pressure on our housing challenges, which will coincide with less available people to fill the gaps of an employee shortage for our local businesses. This is not unique to our community, as I have been sitting in on conference calls with a forest industry advocacy group dealing directly with this. Across the province there appears to be a worker shortage. We need to find ways to retain people as well as entice them to make this their home. It is our responsibility to plan for all the positive and negative repercussions of growth in our community.

The legalization of marijuana has been a major discussion point of late. I want to be clear that I am not an advocate for the use of cannabis beyond medical and therapeutic purposes, but I’m also realistic as to what our role is on a municipal level. This was a federal decision to legalize Marijuana, and on a community level we need to be prepared to deal with it. It is important to mitigate a safe plan for our community as to how and where it may be sold in the future, as well as a safe strategy for where it can be used. We are beyond having debates about legalization itself. It’s time to acknowledge that marijuana is here, and it’s our responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy environment for it. Let’s wisely use any taxes and revenue to ensure we provide adequate education, research, outreach, and policing.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Demonstrators lined Hwy 16 May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Deb Meissner photo)
VIDEO: Smithers gathering marks Red Dress Day honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Approximately 70 people lined Hwy 16, drumming, singing and holding up placards

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

Gitxsan Nation extends fishing ban for non-Indigenous permit holders indefinitely . (Photo courtesy, Travis Murphy)
Gitxsan Nation extends ban for non-Indigenous fishing permit holders across their territory

The move comes after the province backed away from ongoing discussions with Gitxsan chiefs and DFO

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Most Read