Fern Fontes – President

Having spent many years volunteering with organizations that directly impacted her children, when they graduated from high school Fern felt it was time to give back to the community in a different way.

Her mother-in-law was diagnosed with dementia and was moved into the Mountainview Lodge nursing home in 2016.  It was at this point Fern realized how dementia is different from other neurological conditions.  When she heard that the Kitimat Valley Housing Society (KVHS) was committed to building a dementia home for those affected with the disease, she knew she had to join them.

Fern became a member of KVHS in 2019 and with her managerial experience with the Kitimat branch of the Royal Bank of Canada has been a great asset to the organization. She was elected President of the Society for the first time in 2022, and entered her second term as President in 2023.  She stated, “It has been most rewarding and educational to work on the Kitimat Dementia Home Pilot Project alongside the diverse, talented and tenacious team of directors and members of the Society and I am continuously amazed at the generosity of our community.”

Corinne Scott – Vice President                                                                

Corinne moved to Kitimat to retire with her husband Ian in 2007.  She brings to the table her 30+ years of experience working in local government, managing municipalities as a CAO, as well as spending time as an elected official.  She has always believed that individuals should give back to the communities they live in. 

Her sister was a nurse and her mother managed assisted living facilities in Edmonton, AB, which provided Corinne with a special interest in seniors’ living and health care.  She has been involved with the Kitimat Valley Housing Society since its inception in 2017, with the exception of a two year hiatus during Covid.  She looks forward to the completion of the first dementia care pilot project in Kitimat.

Stephen Christiansen – Treasurer                                                                

Stephen was born in Powell River, BC and moved to Kitimat in 1990.  As a Chartered Professional Accountant of BC, as well as receiving an MBA in 2004, he was the Senior Accountant at Eurocan Pulp and Paper, until its closure, and later became the Financial Director of the District of Kitimat until his retirement in 2019.  Steve joined the Kitimat Valley Housing Society in 2021 and has been happy to offer his experience in accounting and finance to the worthy project of providing a Dementia Care Home in Kitimat.

Margaret Sanou – Secretary          

Margaret left the hustle and bustle of the lower mainland and moved to Kitimat in 1989.  After living in Kitimat for 30+ years, she appreciates the benefits of living in such a friendly small town and being surrounded by nature.  Since retiring from teaching in 2005, Margaret has volunteered with a number of organizations.  She has been involved with the Kitimat Valley Housing Society (KVHS) since 2017, both as a member and as a director.  Several of her family members have experienced dementia, including her mother.  She is aware of the tremendous need we have in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village for dementia care and believes that KVHS has an important role to play in making this much needed care available.

Teena Grant – Director

Teena was born and raised in Haisla (Kitamaat Village), BC.  She has been very involved in the Haisla community as a volunteer for a number of years, but much less so since the Covid pandemic.  Teena has spent the last 17 years working in the Haisla Administration office in various capacities, six years as the Clerk to Council and currently as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer.

Teena met with a couple of members of the Kitimat Valley Housing Society (KVHS) in the past few years, at which time she became aware of how many Haisla members have dementia.  In 2023, the Chief and Council committed their support to the Dementia Care Pilot Project, and Teena decided to join Kitimat Valley Housing Society as a Director to work with the  KVHS members and Northern Health to ensure that a dementia care home is completed, with enough room for both Kitimat and Haisla members that require the services.

Barbara Campbell – Director          

Barbara is one of the pioneers in Kitimat after moving here with her parents in 1956.  She and her husband Ken have been married for almost 50 years and together raised their two sons in Kitimat, as well.  After some time away, their sons returned with their wives, and Barb and Ken can now enjoy their four wonderful grandsons.  Barb has been a business woman for 43 years operating Wings Travel until her retirement in 2017.  She was honoured to have been adopted into the Haisla Nation Fish / Killer Whale Clan and was given the name “o’mas was’sums ga’num” – ‘big hearted woman’.

Besides her passion for outdoor activities, gardening, sports, and travelling the world, she is very interested in education and health care.  She has been a member of the Kitimat General Hospital Foundation since its inception in 2011 and Past President of the Kitimat Valley Housing Society.  She understands the need for additional seniors health care facilities in the community, and has been a strong advocate for the Dementia Care Pilot Project.

Richard Wozney – Director

Richard, known as Rick by his friends, moved to Kitimat in 1971 to carry out his law practice until his retirement in 2018.  He raised his family and was very involved in the community, serving as School Trustee as well as Board Chair from 1976 until 1986.  He was an Alderman, and subsequently became Mayor of the District of Kitimat from 1988 to 2008.  It was during this time Rick came to understand and appreciate that even though Kitimat had a lot, the community needed more and different facilities, to serve the needs of the community.  Over the years he supported many needed public buildings for the benefit of the citizens.  With this spirit in mind, he supports the Kitimat Valley Housing Society Dementia Home Project, as this facility is missing from the over-all plan for the provision of health care and is required for the citizens of Kitimat and Kitamaat Village.

Heli Skitcko – Director

 Heli was born in Finland and moved to Kitimat with her parents as a child.  After graduation she moved away for post-secondary education and work, she returned to Kitimat, married her husband Gerry and raised her family. She loves living in a small town, enjoying the outdoors and puttering in her garden.  She is proud to call Kitimat her home now for over 50 years.  Her working career has been varied, but the majority of her time in the workforce was spent in administrative and procurement roles.  She was always involved in extra-curricular activities when her children were growing and volunteered on various executive boards for school and sports organizations.  After she retired from the work-force she once again wanted to get involved and give back to the community.  She was drawn to the opportunity to volunteer with the Kitimat Valley Housing Society, because of our aging population there is a growing need for support and facilities for seniors in the community.  Her goal as a director is to help the Kitimat Valley Housing Society fulfill its vision for dementia care homes for individuals in the community who are suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s related disease.

Zachary Garner – Director

Zachary was born in Welland, Ontario and moved to Kitimat in 2014.  He is currently an electrician working at Rio Tinto.  Zachary has experience on many boards in the political realm as well as being involved in youth sports.  He is an advocate for volunteering and has a passion for helping people and the betterment of the community.  Zachary has had family members suffer through dementia and related illnesses, which has strengthened his resolve in helping however he can in this realm.  He is very committed to seeing a dementia care home built in Kitimat, and is grateful for the opportunity to work with KVHS to see this to fruition.