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

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

Progress on talks delayed due to pandemic but all parties say they remain committed to the process

Telkwa Village Office sign. (Marisca Bakker photo)
Three candidates line up to contest Telkwa byelection

Erik Jacobsen, Klaus Kraft and Dave Livesey have all filed their paperwork for vacant council seat

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

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

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read