Jennifer Dawn Adams remembers when she wanted to move to Kamloops.
She was visiting in 2011, took a dip in the river and heard “boom, boom, check, check.”
Music in the Park was starting and Adams was so intrigued by the free summer music program she went home, loaded up the truck and her four girls and moved to Kamloops.
“That’s the absolute gem of our city,” she said.
The 48-year-old spends many summer nights in the park but also spends plenty of Tuesday afternoons in council chambers. She’s been attending council meetings for 18 months.
“It has really clarified my understanding of the ability to make change within the position of a councillor,” Adams told KTW. “It’s a slow boat and a united effort.”
Collaboration, communication and relationships are important in making change at city hall, she said.
Adams formed relationships with NDP Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy and Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark while volunteering for federal and provincial NDP campaigns in recent years. (Bill Sundhu in 2015 and Barb Nederpel in 2017.)
“I don’t really want to put up the party flag but, you know, looking at the way relationships work and being able to approach the government leaders in respect to the needs of the community,” she said. “I think having an established relationship with current sitting leaders is probably a positive.”
The downtown resident ran and lost in the 2017 by-election. During that time, she wanted the city to proactively prepare for recreational cannabis legalization. Zoning recently adopted by city council left out neighbourhoods like Westsyde and Valleyview, Adams said, noting that needs to be addressed.
She’s still “sour grapes” about the parking lot built where the former Kamloops Daily News once stood but recommended it for outdoor music or community gatherings. The downtown resident sits on the Downtown Neighbourhood Association.
Adams also works for Axis Family Resources and volunteers for the city’s social planning council.
With a passion for social issues, Adams recommends inclusionary zoning to combat a lack of affordable housing. Developers would set aside social housing units in a new developments or contribute financially to a fund earmarked for building, she said.
“They have to contribute to the social housing piece in some way,” Adams said.
While she shares a last name with another council candidate — Nicholas Adams — there is no relation.
Find Adams on Facebook, at Music in the Park, door-knocking and at socials leading up to election day.