Sue Peters (l, with Darlene Daily) helping to organize donations of home baking for wildfire evacuees this past August. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Sue Peters (l, with Darlene Daily) helping to organize donations of home baking for wildfire evacuees this past August. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Above and beyond: Cache Creek councillor tries to always have a smile on her face

Longtime Lions Club member and councillor Sue Peters says local government was an eye-opener

Judy Davison writes: “I would like to nominate Sue Peters. The past year she has served our community of Cache Creek above and beyond. She always has a kind word and a great attitude. She serves on our council with the responsibility of fixing the budget and making the hard decisions to get us through. She serves as president of the Ashcroft and District Lions Club, helping both communities in so many ways. It is so important to have someone to look up to. It has been a hard year for everyone and we all get frustrated. Sue Peters has been a shining beacon for me.”

Longtime Cache Creek resident Sue Peters says she ran for council in 2018 because she truly believes in community, and felt that her business background brought something to the table.

“It gives me perspective from the outside, as well as what I’m seeing from the inside, but it’s definitely different from running a business.

“One of the most difficult things is having to lead with my head and not my heart. My heart wants certain things, but reality — and my business sense — tells me they won’t always work. It doesn’t make decisions any easier, but they have to be made. You can please some of the people some of the time, but can’t please all the people all of the time.”

Peters says she’s enjoyed getting to know more about how the village actually works, since learning new things has always been important to her.

“I’m learning so much about what has to happen to make the village run that as a layperson you just don’t know. You have no idea how water and sewer and those things work. I try to get in touch with staff on a regular basis about how things work, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know staff.”

She adds that since being elected, she’s got to know more people in town.

“You would think in a town like Cache Creek you’d know most people, but there are a lot you don’t know,” she says with a laugh. “I’ve met so many interesting people, young and old.”

Learning how the village works and what makes it tick has been quite an eye-opener. “You can look at solutions and be part of the process, but things happen so slowly. You try to get people to understand that yes, we see these things, but unfortunately things can’t be fixed overnight. Processes and regulations slow everything down.”

Peters has been involved with the Ashcroft and District Lions Club since about 2013, and has been president for the past three years. After her husband Dennis died, Peters decided she needed to join things again, and got involved in ladies golf. It was there that she got to know longtime Lion Darlene Daily, who persuaded her to come on board with the group, which was struggling, and down to only about six members.

“The volunteers with the Lions are truly invested. The Smile Cookies campaign is a perfect example. We’ll be there [at the Travel Centre Tim Hortons] for seven days talking to people because it’s something we believe in.”

The Lions club is one of the few things she’s been involved with where 100 per cent of the funds raised in the community are mandated to be used in the community, or for something that directly benefits it.

“Some of our funds go to Children’s Hospital or the RIH Foundation, because people here use them. We’re not allowed to use the money we raise in the community for administration. We pay a fee to be part of Lions, which covers the administration costs. Our motto is ‘We Serve’, and it truly is a service organization.”

Peters says she’s very honoured and humbled to be considered a beacon.

“I was raised learning that you reach out and get involved and do stuff. To me, having a smile on my face and being positive is a choice. I’m not always smiley and happy all the time.

“I do a lot of the things I do because I get as much back as I give: those feelings of appreciation, those smiles you get back. Every time I pass someone on the street I smile, and I almost always get a smile back. I don’t do what I do for recognition; I do it because I want to.”

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