Youth Representatives - Town of Gibsons

2023/24 Youth Representatives

Cael Read (Pictured below)
Cael is the co-chair of Elphi’s student council and a representative for Elphi on the SD46 District Student Leadership Team. He is passionate about improving our community, which has led him to work on initiatives such as Free Student Transit and a school district-wide Spirit Week. In his free time, he loves playing the cello, is a member of the Sunshine Coast Symphony Orchestra, and also works as a lifeguard. Cael Read was previously “Alternate Youth Representative” for the 2022/2023 school year.

 Melyssa Verhoeven (Alternate Youth Representative)
Melyssa was raised in Gibsons from a young age. She actively participates in many leadership roles around town, both within and outside of Elphinstone. Melyssa is passionate about creating a change for the youth on the Sunshine Coast and influencing a stronger sense of community. In her free time, she enjoys working, doing karate, and playing musical instruments.

Youth Representatives at work

Cael at the 2024 AVICC Conference in Victoria.

Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities
In April 2024, Cael attended the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) conference alongside Mayor White. During the event, he delivered a speech (pictured above) reflecting on his time as a Youth Representative to Council. He highlighted the invaluable experience it has been for him and expressed his hope that his words would inspire other municipalities to adopt similar initiatives to foster greater youth engagement in the decision-making processes that shape their communities.

Elphinstone Secondary Student Consultation
In June 2023, Gibsons Youth Representatives held a student consultation with the aim of hearing from fellow students at Elphinstone Secondary School on the future of development in the town and to provide an open space for youth to share any ideas or concerns about the community. Around 17 students attended. Read the report here: Student Consultation Report

Youth Representatives and Accessibility Committee Representative Propose Free Transit for Youth on the Sunshine Coast

Cael, Anna and Colten stand in front of a white wall looking at the camera with smiles on their faces.
From left to right: Cael, Anna and Colten

On January 26th, Youth Representatives Colten Rockford and Cael Read, along with Accessibility Advisory Committee representative Anna Lattanzi, delivered a presentation to the SCRD proposing free public transit for secondary and post-secondary students on the Sunshine Coast.

They stated that providing equal access to transportation would promote health and well-being and allow for equal access to employment, resources, and recreation.

“This is an issue that should not lose momentum”, said Gibsons Mayor Silas White. “Back in December 2019, there was a similar presentation to the board by Mari Nielsen and Rowan Moore and sadly it stalled. Here we are again four years later the issues are only more important and the need has grown.”

Click here to view the SCRD Public Transit Delegation Presentation


Students on Council Program Background

The Gibsons’ “Students on Council” program was introduced in February 2019 as a way to provide an opportunity to include and involve students on Council.

As a Youth Representative, the students provide a youth perspective on matters being considered at council and committee meetings, raise awareness of the positive contributions of youth in our community and  advocate for and on behalf of youth in the Town of Gibsons.

Our Youth Representatives are co-sponsored by the Gibsons Rotary Club and are provided with an honorarium for attending council and committee meetings, with the funds placed in an education reserve for the student and paid at the end of their term.

On September 15, 2020, the Youth Representative Terms of Reference were amended to reflect lessons learned during the previous two terms and to improve clarity re) the school grades of the representatives. Read the related staff report and revised Youth Representative Terms of Reference here.

Sunshine Coast Youth Council

The Sunshine Coast Youth Council was initiated in January 2021 by Gravity Guignard and Eilis Mackenzie (former Town of Gibsons Youth Councillors).

The Council comprises 13 members, with student representatives from Elphinstone Secondary, Chatelech Secondary and SPIDER (Online). The Youth Council has three primary areas of interest, including: Community Support, Infrastructure and the Environment.

To learn more, please see this presentation, which was given at the Spring 2021 Intergovernmental Meeting.

Contact the Sunshine Coast Youth Council by email at:

Past Youth Representatives
Gravity Guignard: 2019 – 2021
Eilis MacKenzie: 2019 – 2020
Sacha Stipec: February 2019 to June 2019
Jason Lewis: Alternate Youth Representative Feb 2019 – June 2019
Evie Clarke: 2021 – 2022 /  Alternate Youth Representative 2020 – 2021
Colten standing with his arms crossed. He is wearing a blue collared shirt and glasses.
Colton Rockford: Youth Representative Sept 2022 – June 2023

Erin Payne:    Alternate Youth Representative2022 – 2023