Michele Schalekamp is our new Chief Financial Officer for Tumbler Ridge. On meeting our newest addition to Town Hall my first impression was of a friendly and warm person, a sharp contrast to the minus thirty degrees encountered while venturing to town hall.

Michele moved here almost two years ago when her husband Bert was hired by Peace River Coal as the exploration manager. Moving to Tumbler Ridge was a family affair as Michele has two children; a son Bertus, ten and a daughter, Jeanne, who is eight years old. Michele and her family moved here from the northeast part of South Africa, they lived in Middleburg, which has a population of around one hundred and twenty thousand.

They moved directly to Tumbler Ridge so this was very much a contrast in size and weather. Michele says they have settled in well and this was made easier with so many friendly people in Tumbler Ridge. Michele worked while in South Africa for a company, which was a subsidiary of a mining group and did basically the same administrative job as she is doing here.

The family is very involved in hockey and both the children play on teams here. School wise the transition was no problem for Michele?s children, which is always a bonus with such a long distance move. In discussion with Michele I asked her what she really liked about Tumbler Ridge. Michele was impressed with the residents, the natural beauty regarding the location of the town and something that some of us take for granted was the safety factor. Michele appreciates that one?s children can just leave the house and go swimming, play hockey, walk to school etc with out worry, something that cannot always be done in other larger towns or cities.

Michele has only been on the job for approximately three weeks and has joined Town Hall at a very busy time, budget time. he feels confident that all will go well as she enjoys working with mayor and council and that communications are good. In talking about global economic times and the budget, Michele says that the budget items are being gone over very carefully and that if certain items or projects need to be postponed to make sure that the essential needs are taken care of, that this is what will happen. Keeping in mind that a postponement is not a cancellation.

Michele says there is so much in Tumbler Ridge to do that as a family they are always busy. They have made friends in town as well as with others in the region that are from South Africa and that gives them a little touch of home while re-establishing themselves in a new town and country. We wish Michele and her family all the best and feel fortunate that they decided to make Tumbler Ridge their home.