Jeff Hammond plans to boost community engagement by holding more events at the Thornhill Community Centre. (Michael Bramadat-Willcock/Terrace Standard)

Jeff Hammond plans to boost community engagement by holding more events at the Thornhill Community Centre. (Michael Bramadat-Willcock/Terrace Standard)

Jeff Hammond seeking reelection as Thornhill director

General voting day is Oct. 15 with a main polling station at the Thornhill Community Hall

Jeff Hammond is hoping to finish the job he started four years ago after being elected to the position of District of Kitimat-Stikine regional director for Thornhill, ousting Ted Ramsey by just a few votes.

“Since then, because it’s the first time I’ve been in any sort of capacity for a local government, it was a learning curve, absolutely, but I’ve learned quite a bit and I believe after four years we’ve accomplished a lot,” Hammond said.

“I want the community to be happy and healthy and we have a lot more happening right now.”

He pointed to public consultation and planning for bylaw rezoning and waste management improvements as projects that he’d like to see through to fruition now that they’re approaching the implementation phase.

Also in the works are a feasibility study for a multi-use path from the Hwy16/Hwy37 roundabout, clearer marking of the Clark Street crosswalk, and planning for the tennis courts to be redone.

Hammond said a big issue for Thornhill is affordability of services like sewer with the relatively small tax base. The regional district has been working with municipalities to push for a resource benefits alliance (RBA) to keep revenue in the north.

“Our communities are struggling. Not just the municipalities but the smaller unincorporated ones, too. This RBA agreement will bring money back to the north from all the industry that’s happening because right now all that tax revenue goes straight to the government and the north don’t see anything,” he said.

“Hopefully we get an agreement going and see some money. Then the possibilities will really open up for the community.”

Hammond said he agrees in theory with proposals by Thornhill resident Bob Erb for highway signs indicating Thornhill’s location, but for him to take the issue to the highways ministry would require 50 per cent of the population of Thornhill to sign on. He said Erb only obtained about 200 signatures on his petition, out of a population of around 4,600 people.

“We have a meeting coming up with the Thornhill advisory planning commission and we’ll discuss with Highways why those signs were never put there. There’s no reason not to have signs, every other community has them.”

Hammond said voter turnout in Thornhill has been historically very low. In the last election out of roughly 4,600 constituents only about 300 people voted and the election was decided on 12 votes. He said less than 10 per cent of residents showed up to vote when the previous director put forward a motion to incorporate as its own municipality.

He said if reelected he would like to “vamp up” community engagement and hold more open houses at the community centre, with activities like BBQs so that residents can socialize and get involved.

“The more people are involved, and the stronger their voice is for what’s happening in their community, the more that those things will happen. So voting, getting involved in the open houses and sharing opinions. Their voice does matter.”

Born in Edmonton, Hammond works as a bus driver, as an industrial driver and as an armed guard with GUARDA.

He moved to B.C. in 2001, met his wife who is a registered nurse and has family in Kitimat. They moved to Thornhill two years later and got married.

Hammond said he’s unsure if anyone will be running against him this fall but hopes there will be a higher voter turnout from last time.

“There is so much potential in Thornhill right now. Even with COVID and all the capacity issues that the regional district has had, staff has worked extremely hard on getting things moving for Thornhill,” he said.

“It’s only just in these next couple months that we’re going to start to see what will happen next for Thornhill. It would be kind of tough to say ‘alright I’ve done my part and now someone else can come and take credit.’ So I’d like to see it through.”

General voting day is Oct. 15 with a main polling station at the Thornhill Community Hall.

READ MORE: Advocates ramp up campaign for Thornhill recognition

READ MORE: Thornhill can’t get any respect, says longtime resident


 

Do you have a comment about this story? email:
michael.willcock@terracestandard.com

Municipal electionmunicipal politics