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Postal Address
V1T 8H5

Jane Weixl – SENS BIO – Jan. 6, 2020

I was born and raised in Kimberley, BC.  I lived near the entrance to the Sullivan Mine which was the largest lead and zinc mine in the world at the time.  I learned about mining, and the impacts it has on the environment and workers, at a very early age. I skied at North Star ski hill and played every sport available. I spent the fall, winter and spring in Kimberley but every summer we lived in our grandparents’ summer cabin on the shores of Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park.  Riding Mountain National Park is located about 100 km north of Brandon, MB and is an island wilderness surrounded by a sea of farmland. When I wasn’t swimming, sailing, paddling, birding, horseback riding, or biking I was hiking on day outings with Park naturalists. Living in a National Park at a time when the federal government hired naturalists and professionals to educate the public about the natural world was a blessing for me. I learned that nature is a miracle that we depend upon for clean water, fresh air, healthy soil and food.  I have always felt most “at home” on a hiking trail in the forest, in a kayak on a lake, or high in the mountains. These natural spaces are worth protecting.

After completing Grade 12, I attended UBC Vancouver to complete a Bachelor of Education degree to become an elementary teacher. In 1978, I decided to accept a position in Prince Rupert so that I could explore the ocean and the Pacific coast and spend time in an area completely unfamiliar to me.  I was unprepared for how unfamiliar the area and people would be to me as an individual and as a teacher. Prince Rupert has a population that is over ½ First Nations.  Prince Rupert Harbour and City are located within the traditional territories of the Tsimshian First Nations.  Neighbouring First Nations also live in, or visit Prince Rupert, including the Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Haisla and Haida. Many of the students in my class were First Nations and university spit me out completely unprepared.  I had not learned one thing about First Nations’ culture. I had never taken Indigenous studies.  There was no Aboriginal culture or heritage featured in the curriculum that I was teaching and little that was relevant to my students’ needs at the time.  I needed and wanted to become more culturally aware and fully understand my white privilege and bias.  I learned a great deal then and am still learning today.  I would like to see BC and Canada fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), recognizing the basic human rights of Indigenous people along with their rights to self-determination.

During my time in Prince Rupert I learned about sustainable and unsustainable fishing. I did several trips on commercial draggers/bottom trawlers and witnessed first hand the overfishing and the unwanted catch of unmarketable fish. I then researched how these bulldozers of the ocean destroyed the seafloor. I still care about sustainable fishing.  I care about the health of BC’s wild salmon.

I taught in different areas (Westbank. Kelowna, and Winfield) until 1993 when I moved to Vernon.  I married and later left teaching in order to stay at home when our daughter was born.  I worked for my husband’s photography business for 10 years. I was a founder of the Western Corridor Impact Assessment Committee which studied the City of Vernon’s proposed West Truck Route Corridor.  The result was a 65 page document which was formally introduced to the community at a public meeting on June 25, 2003.

I did part time work until retiring in 2016. I am interested in environmental issues locally, provincially and nationally and follow environmental news quite closely. I decided to focus my retirement years on doing whatever I can to build a healthier world for me and my family, and for future generations.  I will do whatever I can to protect the natural places I love.

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