Coulter moves swiftly into new position

Chilliwack's newly elected school trustee Dan Coulter is excited for the year ahead.

Newly elected Chilliwack school trustee Dan Coulter looks forward to the challenge ahead.

Newly elected Chilliwack school trustee Dan Coulter looks forward to the challenge ahead.

Dan Coulter knows he has a steep learning curve ahead of him and is excited for the adventure.

With just one year to prove himself, Coulter, the newest trustee to join Chilliwack school board, is already looking at ways of making a difference in the Chilliwack school district.

He wants to get more students involved at the board level, and hopes to entice the Chilliwack board to write an open letter to the B.C. government, including the premier, finance minister and education minister – similar to that of Vancouver school board –advocating for more public school funding.

“I don’t know exactly how [this year’s] going to play out; it’s going to be a big learning curve,” he told The Progress earlier this week. “I’m really going to have to just get in there and dig.”

Last Saturday Coulter won the Chilliwack school board byelection earning 520 of the votes cast, beating out second place finisher Harold Schmidt by 181 votes.

Voter turnout for the byelection was tepid, at best.

The 1,453 ballots cast were far short of the nearly 10,000 cast in 2011, which was the second worst voter turnout in the province.

With roughly 64,000 eligible voters in Chilliwack, participation was around 2.3 per cent.

The Chilliwack school district has approximately 1,800 teachers and support staff and 14,000 students.

Coulter, who billed himself as the first “progressive” candidate to seek a seat on Chilliwack school board, was endorsed by CUPE BC and former school trustee Louise Piper, whose resignation necessitated the byelection. He also had the support of former NDP MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, Gwen O’Mahony

Schmidt, who didn’t attend either all-candidates meetings, one due to a date change and another to a scheduling conflict garnered 339 votes. Ben Besler, who played an active role in the BC Liberal win just a few months earlier, finished third with 279 votes. Karen Jarvis, a regular at school board meetings, was fourth with 238 votes; Corey Neyrinck fifth with 54 votes; and Rob Stelmaschuk sixth with 23 votes.

Coulter has moved swiftly into the new position.

He’s already spoken with the president of the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA), was sworn into office on Tuesday, and will be attending the BCSTA annual trustee academy this weekend.

“It’s a short period of time,” he said of the year he’s got before the next election.

“I’m going to try to learn as quick as I can.”

Coulter, a mature student at the University of the Fraser Valley, said he’ll continue his studies, but will likely drop down to four courses from his current five. He intends to take the teacher training program, likely next fall, but will work in another district, following graduation, if he continues to be a Chilliwack school trustee.

He is, however, stepping down from his position as vice president of the Chilliwack-Hope NDP constituency office.

“I don’t have the time and I don’t want any perceived partisanship to affect my relationship with the other trustees or the work we have to do,” he said.

Board chair Walt Krahn is looking forward to having a full board of seven trustees again. The last several months have been hectic, he said, with the added responsibilities since Piper’s leave.

“We have a lot of work to do from now until the end of June,” said Krahn.

Chilliwack voters will be heading back to the polls in less than a year. Municipal elections, including school board, are set for November 2014.

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

Just Posted

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged with criminal negligence in Coquihalla crash is accused of ignoring smoking brakes

Just before crashing the smoking truck was seen entering Zopkios brake check and leaving shortly after

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil Saturday for missing Chilliwack mother

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Becky Miller, and her daughters Aurora, 5, and Alice, 2, getting the truck ready to help the St. Paul’s Dump Runners fundraiser Feb. 27, 28, March 1 and 2. (Becky Miller)
St. Paul’s Dump Runners of Chilliwack ready to pick up odds and ends for a cause

For a donation to the Nicaragua Feed the Children Fund volunteers haul stuff to the dump

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Head of internal medicine at Chilliwack General Hospital Dr. Shari Sajjadi talks about the positive feedback hospital staff have received over this last year in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Dr. Shari Sajjadi says a simple ‘thank you’ helps keep up spirits of healthcare workers

‘We are so thankful for the positive feedback we are getting from our patients’

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

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read