CASTLEGAR – Celgar’s effort to make challenging rural roadways more safe for pedestrians and drivers has received an enthusiastic response from the Castlegar community.
The local industry leader launched the BE SEEN campaign in October and Selkirk College was quick to jump onboard with several other community groups and businesses. The campaign involves the distribution of 5,000 reusable, high-visibility and reflective armbands that have been handed out to all Castlegar schools and are available throughout the community.
“From multiple reports provided by our employees about them narrowly missing pedestrians or seeing them at the last minute, along with the pedestrian fatality that occurred in our community last year, this is a timely campaign,” says Mark Goebel, Celgar’s Health & Safety Manager. “We want to do something about it rather than just talk about it.”
The Celgar team behind the campaign was on the Selkirk College Castlegar Campus during the last week of October where they provided more than 300 armbands to students and staff. Included on the team was Administrative Assistant Rose Leslie, a Selkirk College alumna who was instrumental in helping pull together the campaign.
“It’s fun to be on the opposite side,” says Leslie. “I remember being a student and seeing groups come here to do this kind of thing, never really realizing that would be me standing here.”
Leslie graduated from the Selkirk College Business Administration Program with a major in Professional Management in 2016. During her first year at the college, the Mount Sentinel Secondary graduate utilized the college’s Co-Op Education & Employment Services (CEES) Program to secure a placement at Castlegar’s Mountain Transport Institute. Her work ethic and skills were rewarded with a part-time job while she attended school and then a full-time job after graduation.
In August, Leslie had the opportunity to work at a company she had always wanted to when Celgar hired the 21-year old. She spent the first two months on the job helping pull together the BE SEEN campaign.
“It’s the first time I have seen anything that I have done go out on such a large scale into the community,” says Leslie, who designed the logo and materials used to promote the campaign. “It’s been an amazing experience and I’m very excited about the project because it’s really important.”
Selkirk College’s Health & Safety Advisor Donna Drover agrees that the BE SEEN campaign is vital to ensuring students and staff are more aware of the dangers on roadways. The college joins the Castlegar Rotary Club, Sutco Transportation Specialists, Mountain Transport Institute, the City of Castlegar, Chinook Scaffold Systems, the Castlegar News, EZ Rock, GOAT FM and Hall Printing as sponsors.
“Having the Celgar project team come to our campus to speak with students and staff about safety is important,” says Drover. “Raising awareness about being visible and staying alert when walking and riding bikes on our roads, especially during the fall and winter months when it gets dark earlier, is vital to ensuring the safety of our Selkirk College community.”
Goebel has worked at Celgar for two years after spending 25 years ensuring safety in pulp mills and underground mines throughout Western Canada. He is an ardent supporter of outreach into the community.
“Working in an underground mine gives you a very, very good sense of staying visible and staying out of the way of mobile equipment,” says Goebel. “If we had a little bit more of that kind of sense out on our sidewalks and streets, we would be a lot safer.”
As for the newest member of the campaign team, Leslie says she is grateful to Selkirk College for the education that has opened the door to exciting opportunities so early in her career.
“When I was younger, I thought that when I graduated from high school I would go off to post-secondary in Victoria or Vancouver,” says Leslie, who grew up in Winlaw and later moved to Castlegar. “All the opportunity I needed was right here. I’m so happy that I decided to stay close to home.”
Find out more about the Celgar BE SEEN campaign at their Facebook page (Zellstoff Celgar LP).
Learn more about the Selkirk College Business Administration Program at: selkirk.ca/business-administration.Celgar BE SEEN campaign team members.