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Challenge thwarted at RDN
For the first time more than a decade, Regional District of Nanaimo chair Joe Stanhope was challenged for his position at Tuesday night’s inaugural meeting.
That challenge came from Bowser/Deep Bay director Bill Veenhof, who said he decided to challenge Stanhope for the chairmanship because he was asked to do so by other directors.
“If elected, my philosophy will be that the right answer is important — and my answer isn’t,” he said. “I want to pull from all directors so we can all come to the right decision.”
Veenhof, who described himself as a fiscal conservative, said if elected he would push for a core review and would work closely with other agencies that have clout in the RDN, such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Forests. However, he added that he would focus his energies mainly on internal RDN issues.
In his remarks, Stanhope said the election was not about him.
“It’s about you,” he said. “It’s about being a functional regional district. That’s what I strive to do. It wasn’t always that way and I’ve spent a lot of time to ensure we are a functional and high-performing regional district. This is all about what direction the board wants to go and I will certainly lead in that direction.”
When the votes were tallied, Stanhope was the clear victor, with 11 votes to Veenhof’s six.
In an interview, Veenhof said he was asked to run by other directors.
“They approached me some months back and asked me to stand, so I did,” he said.
“There’s a sense that some change is required, or necessary.”
Veenhof stressed that Stanhope runs good meetings, but he wants to see a different focus.
“It is well focussed and it works well under Joe, but I think we need to have a board that’s a little more focused on the business of the RDN and the residents of the RDN,” he said. “As well, I don’t think we are focussed on causing the staff to do the actions to keep the budget in line . . . we need to see a more aggressive, strategically-focussed board.”
Meanwhile, the directorships of both Parksville and Qualicum Beach remained the same, with Coun. Marc Lefebvre and Coun. Dave Willie appointed by their respective councils to remain in their posts.