Mayor and Council

An elected Council comprised of a Mayor and six Councillors governs the District of Clearwater. Councillors are elected for Four-year terms and each member of Council represents the municipality at large. The Community Charter gives Council the authority to set budgets, levy taxes, and establish policies to guide the growth, development and operation of the municipality for the benefit and protection of its citizens.

The powers of the Mayor and Council are exercised through the adoption of resolutions or the enacting of bylaws at regularly scheduled Council meetings. See our calendar of events for meeting schedules. Open Council meetings are on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Municipal Hall, 209 Dutch Lake Road. The rules governing the conduct of the meeting are outlined in the Council Procedure Bylaw and Robert's Rules of Order. Members of the public are welcome to attend the open meetings of Council. Delegations are welcome however this application to do so is required.











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Mayor John Harwood: Mayor John Harwood became the 1st Mayor of Clearwater after the community incorporated when he was elected in the fall of 2007, and then by acclamation in 2008 and by reelection in 2011. 


John’s top priorities include:


-Developing a strong and vibrant community that is economically sound


-Balanced and responsible fiscal growth and management


-Protecting the social needs of the community including healthcare and senior services


- Continuing and enhancing effective partnerships that benefit Clearwater & area


- Implementing a "common sense" approach towards business & development


John also serves as Trustee for School District No. 73, Municipal Director for the Thompson Nicola Regional District Board and Chair of the Doctor Recruitment Committee for Clearwater.  During his time in public life John has been in the capacity of Chair of Hospital Boards, School District No. 73 and the Regional District.   Prior to and during his political career John spent thirty four years in public education as a teacher and principal.


John was born in Plymouth, England and has lived in Clearwater for over forty years.  Along with his wife and family they enjoy the many benefits that rural living provides.  It is his desire to see Clearwater become the best place on earth to “live, play and work”.








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Barry Banford: Barry was born in Saskatchewan and has lived in British Columbia since 1979.  He was employed by the Ministry of Forests for 31 years and this career has taken him to Quesnel, the Queen Charlotte Islands and Clearwater in 1998.  Barry and his wife Marcia enjoy the natural beauty of the North Thompson and spend much of their time hunting, fishing and camping in the area.

Barry has a Bachelors of Education degree and a Renewable Resources diploma and hopes that his education and experience will be a benefit to the community.  He has been involved in coaching, the Community Resource Centre, the North Thompson Communities Foundation, Volunteer Fire Departments and served as a Clearwater Improvement District trustee.  Barry’s goal is to serve the people of Clearwater and to make our community the best place to live, play and work.








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 Merlin Blackwell: Merlin grew up in the lower Mainland, but spent his summers living at Big Bar Lake Provincial Park since age 11.  He started working in Wells Gray Provincial Park in 1989 and has been working there at least part of every year ever since.

Other careers during that time have included Restaurant Manager, Radio Broadcast Writer, and minor stints in construction.

Merlin moved to Clearwater in 2003 to take on an ownership role in Blackwell Park Operations Ltd., the prime contractor for Wells Gray Provincial Park. Since then Merlin has become involved in the community namely, President of the Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce, a board member for Tourism Wells Gray and participated on the Clearwater Official Community Plan Steering Committee. In addition to Council, Merlin currently sits on the board of the BC Society of Park Operators, and is an Associate editor for a New Mexico based NissanSport magazine.

Merlin’s hobbies include woodworking, writing, painting and restoring vintage Japanese cars.








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Gord Heisterman: Gord has lived in Clearwater for 33 years, married to Teresa, has a son Brad (Karen),  daughter Laura (Colt), granddaughter’s Dezirae, Jorja and father in-law Steve Barker lives with him as well, Family is most important to him.

With a strong foundation in place for Clearwater Gord believes the community can build on being all it can be for both young and old. Being able to prioritize the taxpayers dollars and use all there financial resources available Gord believes the community can look forward to good growth and prosperity.

Together we can ensure that with the right amenities we can retain and attract good business and residents to make this community the best place to Live, Play and Work.









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Ken Kjenstad: Ken is a retired businessman who has lived in Clearwater since 1972, married to Sydney and has 3 children and 6 grandchildren. He is the previous owner/manager of the local supermarket; Ken has also been involved in the other local business ventures over the years. Ken's involvement in community work has included Chair of the local and Regional Health Board as well as the Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce. He is very involved in minor sports as an executive and official and is the Convener for many of the community events initiated by Council such as the Olympic Torch Relay for Clearwater, Winterfest, the Rural Health Symposium and more. Ken faces the challenge of being a councillor each and every day with a smile and optimism; he would like to thank everyone for their support. With his enthusiasm and good nature Ken strives to build Clearwater as the “Best place to live, play and work”.








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Jon Kreke: Jon moved to Clearwater in 1990 to operate the Dutch Lake Resort.  Since then, Jon and his wife, Chris, have raised 3 daughters, 2 of which are now in University. Jon considers Clearwater a great place to raise a family. It is a place where you can take advantage of the local amenities such as the skating club, an excellent music program within the school system and an abundance of outdoor activities along with a relatively low cost of living.

Owning and operating a tourism business for the last 21 years has given Jon experience that he can bring forward to assist him with the job of counsellor.  He has extensive knowledge of planning, building and maintaining water and septic systems; interacting with the public and staff; developing business plans and balancing budgets.

Jon currently sits on the board of the Tourism Wells Gray Association and last winter he sat on the Community Economic Development Advisory Committee for the District of Clearwater.  Jon believes we need to bring as many educational opportunities to Clearwater as possible and to be proactive with businesses to provide employment.  Jon is prepared to listen to all his neighbours and to help move Clearwater forward in a responsible manner.






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Shelley Sim: Born and raised in Vancouver, Shelley moved to Clearwater in 1993.  She has 20 years experience in the travel and tourism industry.  She is the primary Owner and Managing Director of Original Holidays Inc.  Along with her business experience, Shelley is an active volunteer in the community and currently sits on the following committees:

Vice-President - Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce President - Clearwater Secondary School Executive Member - Raft River Elementary School Director - Information Wells Gray Executive Member - North Thompson Liberal Riding Secretary - Clearwater Ski Club Representative - Clearwater Physician Recruitment Committee

In addition to her business and volunteer contributions, Shelley is a strong supporter of youth sports and volunteers with Minor Hockey, Minor Soccer and participates in the youth track and field program.  She resides in Clearwater with her husband Wayne and their three children.