Lantzville mayor takes regional district seat

It's been three years coming but Lantzville mayor Jack de Jong is finally sitting at the Regional District of Nanaimo table full time.

After serving as an alternate director previously, de Jong was elected to represent the District of Lantzville by council for 2014 and said a number of notable subjects interest him, including management of waste.

“Where I think it's important for the RDN is to deal with solid waste management and some of the proposals that are coming up for garbage incineration in the RDN, to take Vancouver garbage,” de Jong said. “I'm open-minded on it but I certainly think these are important issues.

"Transit is an important issue for my community and for the greater RDN as well and so I'm hoping to be able to contribute to that in a positive way and see where it goes,” he added.

Having served as an alternate, the Lantzville mayor thinks alternate directors should attend all board meetings and be afforded the opportunity to take a more active role with the regional district.

“Perhaps they should give some consideration to appoint alternates to some of the committees,” said de Jong. “That would [decrease] the RDN directors' workload and strengthen the position of the available pool for future elections.”

He said the workload for alternate directors isn't heavy and they wouldn't vote unless the regular director was absent. It is something he will bring up with board chairman Joe Stanhope.

Coun. Brian Dempsey represented Lantzville on the regional district board the past two years and while de Jong admitted to being disappointed with not initially being elected, he used the time to sit in on regional district meetings and learn.

“In hindsight that worked out rather well,” de Jong said. “It's one thing to be a mayor and another thing to be a [Regional District of Nanaimo] representative; it all worked out quite well for me and I hoped it worked out for Brian as well.”

Regional District of Nanaimo electoral area directors serve three-year terms while municipalities, such as Lantzville, inform the regional district about their board directors annually.

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