PORT McNEILL—The Regional District of Mount Waddington Board of Directors welcomed several new members last week and returned Dave Rushton of Woss as chair in its inaugural meeting following November’s municipal elections.
Mayors Hank Bood of Port Hardy and Shirley Ackland of Port McNeill were joined by Port Hardy Councillor Dennis Dugas as newly installed members of the board during its Dec. 16 meeting at the RDMW board room. Mayor Michael Berry of Alert Bay, who replaces outgoing Village Councillor Doug Aberley, was unable to attend.
Bood previously sat on the board during his previous stint as Port Hardy’s Mayor from 2005-08, and previously as a councillor beginning in 1999. Ackland had sat in occasionally as Port McNeill’s Deputy Mayor when Gerry Furney was unable to attend.
The join incumbents Rushton, the Area D Director, Area A Director Heidi Soltau of Sointula, Area B Director Phil Wainwright of Winter Harbour, Area C Director Andrew Hory of Coal Harbour, and Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen on the board, which was elected to a four-year term.
After opening the meeting, Rushton turned over the chair to Administrator Greg Fletcher, who oversaw the election of chair and vice-chair. Wainwright nominated Rushton, who assumed the chair following the death of Al Huddlestan in 2013, to return to the post, and Rushton was returned by acclimation.
“Four more years,” Soltau quipped to general laughter.
Rushton then nominated Allen to serve as vice-chair, and she was likewise acclaimed without opposition.
Rushton will also continue to serve as the representative to the Vancouver Island Regional Library steering committee, while other portfolios will be assigned in January.
The board then got right to work, adopting bylaws to establish sewer rates and regulations in Sointula; regulate the Malcolm Island Local Services Management Committee; and to allow for expenditure from the Woss community capital reserve fund.
It also gave second reading to a contentious Bylaw 877, which would establish an improvement and maintenance service area for a privately held stretch of Telegraph Cove Road. The current, 10-year maintenance agreement between the RDMW, Province of British Columbia and two private timber companies expires in March of 2015, and the RD is seeking a new, 10-year service area agreement with funding contribution from the province.
Following second reading, Fletcher said the board will next address a petition from property owners in Telegraph Cove, expected to come before the board next month, before giving third reading to the bylaw.
The board approved a motion to request annual funding of $100,000 from Island Health to expand and coordinate its volunteer transportation network, which aids mobility challenged North Islanders needing to reach medical and other appointments locally and down-Island.
The request for annual funding includes a one-time capital expenditure of $60,000 for a lift-equipped, 11-passenger van, and would be contingent on acquisition of the van, administrator Greg Fletcher said.
The VTN currently has one small lift van, donated by the Lions Clubs of Cormorant Island and Malcolm Island in 2011.
“The problem is, we only have the one lift van,” said Fletcher. “So if someone on the north end and south end (of the regional district) need that service at the same time, it causes us logistical problems.”
Neucel on the mend
Allen presented a brief update on the situation at Neucel Specialty Cellulose mill, which announced a two-month shutdown in early November.
“They announced Mon that maintenance would start January fifth, and hopefully production by the middle of January. In that respect, it’s good news for us.
“And ho, ho, ho, everybody.”