New face chosen to lead Regional District of Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Directors also appoint Dennis Trudeau as interim chief administrative officer.

Regional District of Nanaimo directors elected Bill Veenhof as their new chairman at the district’s inaugural board meeting of the year Tuesday night.

Veenhof, Deep Bay and Bowser area director, beat out incumbent Joe Stanhope in a secret ballot and will hold the post until November.

Veenhof’s priorities include the regional district strategic plan and the 2016 budget. He also wants to “empower” staff and directors so they can do their jobs more effectively.

“One of the places I’d like to be able to go is to develop a forum for rural directors to get together and just talk about their issues and kind of straighten them out in their own minds,” said Veenhof.

Veenhof said municipal directors have their own forum, via their council’s meetings, but there is no such mechanism for rural directors.

Veenhof said a meeting with Mayor Bill McKay and the City of Nanaimo to discuss concerns and expectations is on his to-do list.

“I have no agenda one way or another for the City of Nanaimo,” said Veenhof. “At the end of the day, what they bring forward to the RDN to deal with, we’ll deal with on the board table in a fair and open manner, just like everything else.”

Colin Haime, Lantzville director and mayor, was acclaimed as deputy chairman for another year.

In an in-camera meeting, Dennis Trudeau, general manager of transportation and solid waste, was appointed interim chief administrative officer, as Paul Thorkelsson has moved on to the District of Saanich. The search for a permanent CAO will continue, Trudeau said.

“There will be a report coming to the board on getting consultants to do a Canada-wide search,” said Trudeau.

Trudeau said he is interested in taking on the position permanently.

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