The new CCRD Board at their meeting last week. From L to R: Area E Director and Chair Sam Schooner, Area A Director Dan Bertrand, Area C Director Jayme Kennedy, and Area B Director Travis Hall. Missing from photo: Area D Director Lawrence Northeast. (Matthew Wheelock photo)

Central Coast Regional District swears in new Board of Directors

There are three new faces representing our region and two returning directors

The new Board of Directors of the Central Coast Regional District was sworn in last week and there are three new faces representing the region: Jayme Kennedy for Area C, Lawrence Northeast for Area D, and Dan Bertrand for Area A.

Returning directors include Area B, Travis Hall and Area E, Sam Schooner. Schooner was also elected as Chair of the Board.

“I couldn’t be happier to once again be serving the people of the Central Coast, and I am thankful to my constituents of Area E. I am also grateful to the new Board for their confidence in me to serve as Chair for the next year,” said Schooner. “I look forward to working with my fellow directors on developing a new four-year strategic plan for the CCRD to help solidify a collective vision for the upcoming term, and we hope to undertake this work in February 2019.

“In the meantime, I look forward to supporting our entire organization to wrap up some key initiatives began in the previous term. Our administrative team is solidifying and I’m excited for what can be achieved with the positive energy and impressive skill set of the new Board. It’s a great time to be part of the Central Coast Regional District.”

In addition to serving on the CCRD Board, returning Area B Director Travis Hall also serves on the Heiltsuk Tribal Council and was recently elected to the UBCM Executive, a role previously held by former Area C Director Alison Sayers.

“It’s a pleasure to once again serve on the CCRD Board of Directors representing Area B. I look forward to continuing our work from the previous Board raising awareness of the particular strengths and challenges of governance on the Central Coast,” said Hall. “Having won a spot on the UBCM Executive for the 2018/19 term and continuing to serve on the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council allows me to bring all of a local, regional and provincial perspective to my leadership role which I hope to use to benefit all our communities on the Central Coast.”

Newly-minted Area C director Jayme Kenned, a local business owner and long-time resident of the Central Coast, extended her thanks to the former directors for all they have achieved over the past four years; in particular the CCRD’s historic resolution brought forth at this years’ UBCM which aims to change how local governments are financed.

“As Area C Director, I am looking forward to working with this board to strive to achieve regional cooperation, environmental stewardship, greater inclusivity in our communities and a growing diverse economy. I am honoured to be working with a board who bring to the table such diverse backgrounds, strengths and experience,” said Kennedy. “I would also like to extend my gratitude to the previous board for their hard work and ground-breaking work on the CCRD’s Equalization Strategy which we hope to not lose momentum on.”

Area D Director Lawrence Northeast, who also serves as the Coordinator for the Lip’alhayc Learning Centre, was frank about the challenges and the learning curves he’s anticipating in the years ahead.

“New is good, right? As one of the new CCRD Directors, that remains to be seen. Being new to the board, there is a steep learning curve ahead of me. I will need to learn again how to hear people with varying viewpoints and interests and to work with these and others for the best possible outcome for our communities,” said Northeast. “I was impressed by the effort of the office staff to prepare for our first meeting and the readiness of all the directors and our new CCRD Chair, Sam Schooner, to get to the work ahead of us. So, I guess, new is pretty good.”

Area A Director Dan Bertrand is a lawyer and the owner of Central Coast Law Corporation. He lives in Bella Bella with his wife and two young sons and has been practicing law in B.C. since 2012. He was quick to recognize his role as a director for the three distinct communities in his area.

“As the sole Director for three very different and isolated communities on the outer coast, I see the CCRD’s role as needing to be that of a regional government, helping our communities come and work together for the betterment of all,” said Bertrand. “I look forward to working with people who are already doing the hard work of community building in Area A: the Denny Island Community Development Association, the Ocean Falls Improvement District and the Wuikinuxv First Nation.”

The directors took part in a tour of the CCRD’s Bella Coola service areas last week including the brand-new Thorsen Creek Waste and Recycling Centre, the Bella Coola Airport, Centennial Pool and Walker Island Park.

There was a definite focus on the new recycling and waste operations at Thorsen Creek (which is slated for its Grand Opening on November 24) and at the Bella Coola Airport, where the CCRD has also purchased the former Bella Coola Air hangar for additional office and public works operations space.

The large-scale clearing and obstacle removal project that began last year at the airport remains ongoing priority of the district. In 2017, Transport Canada required the CCRD to surrender their status as a certified aerodrome until they were able to address the removal of these obstacles.

Until this is complete the Bella Coola Airport is limited to a single type of aircraft and air carrier that can provide scheduled air service. Demand for flights in and out of the Valley is high, and as we approach another tourist season it’s likely that demand will continue to increase. The obstacle removal work is expected to continue into 2019.

The CCRD holds its meetings on the second Thursday of each month, and the new Board completed their first meeting last Thursday, November 8. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 13.

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