Veteran politician Joe Stanhope was officially acclaimed on Saturday, making this his 23rd consecutive year on a local government board.
And he’s donating the money he would have used for his election campaign to help fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
“It’s really important to me,” said Stanhope, who has traveled to Africa to help with international aid and development projects in the past. He will donate at least $1,000.
Asked if he felt acclamation was a sign of satisfied constituents, Stanhope told The NEWS from his home overlooking French Creek marina: “you should never take anything for granted.”
He said he’s looking forward to another four years representing his constituents on the RDN board. “To be honest I wasn’t going to run again,” he said candidly. “But after my wife passed away I decided I’d take another shot. I’m in good shape mentally and physically and I’m going to try my best.”
Stanhope, 83, delved into regional politics in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area in the 1990s. He won his first seat on the RDN board in 1996 and has served as the board’s chair since 2002. Right now, he said one of his main priority is making Wembley Road more accessible and safe for pedestrians and cyclists. Stanhope has earmarked $100,000 from the Community Works Fund for a sidewalk study.
He called French Creek unique in that it’s “one of the most urbanized electoral areas in the province” as it’s nestled between Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
Before Stanhope’s career at the RDN, he spent five years as an alderman in Port Alberni. In 1988, he was instrumental in the province’s adoption of the Western Red Cedar as the official tree of B.C. In his youth, Stanhope worked in the forestry and construction industries, where he oversaw the creation of several roads and highways on Vancouver Island and in the province.
Alongside Stanhope, Pleasant Valley’s Maureen Young and Gabriola Island’s Howard Houle were also acclaimed to the RDN board.
The RDN is made up of a 17 member board with representatives from seven rural areas (Nanoose Bay, French Creek, Coombs/Errington, Deep Bay/Bowser, Cedar, Gabriola and Pleasant Valley) and four municipalities (Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Lantzville). The RDN represents a population of 140,000 people. It is the fifth largest regional district in the province.
To view the comprehensive election coverage we provided in Tuesday’s edition of
The NEWS, visit: www.pqbnews.com.