At the inaugural meeting of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Dec. 13, a new board of directors was sworn in by Patrick Dohm, retired Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C.
Dohm was one of the province’s longest serving judges and dealt with some high profile cases including the Air India bombing trial and the trial of serial killer Robert Pickton.
Electoral Area G director Joe Stanhope will serve his fourth term as board chairman after a unanimous vote by directors for the position. Stanhope has said this will likely be his last term serving French Creek, Dashwood and San Pareil — so he has a lot of work to accomplish before his sixth term comes to an end.
Stanhope thanked the directors for placing their confidence in him as board chair.
One of the big challenges in District 69, according to Stanhope is the Englishman River Water Service and watershed protection. He said in the Oceanside area 85 per cent of water comes from aquifers and they need to be protected.
“Are we utilizing them to our best advantage? Are we mining them? Are there any dangers of polluting them because if an aquifer gets polluted it can take thousands of years to remedy,” he stated.
Stanhope said with the Arrowsmith Water Service planning to expand the drinking water supply system, there needs to be more dialogue with all members of the community in order to effectively handle increasing water demands.
He said the proposed intake and water treatment plant on the Englishman River is only a piece of the puzzle in the complicated water supply infrastructure.
“If a new treatment plant is going to work we have to look at how we utilize our water in the future.”
Stanhope said the RDN is making big strides in is their Zero Waste initiative. He said the Green Bin Program has established this region as a national leader in solid waste management, and put the RDN on track to achieving its goal of diverting 75 per cent of solid waste from the regional landfill.
“We are a leader in sustainability. Other communities are coming to us and asking us how we do it. We have the best waste diversion rate in North America and that is something we are proud of,” he stated.
The RDN was the first jurisdiction on the Island and one of several forward looking local governments in Canada and around the world to move beyond recycling and adopt a Zero Waste approach to eliminating waste. Stanhope said while the RDN initiative is working well, it can always be fine tuned and they will look at what is working and what is not and make some refinements on the solid waste program.