A sense of optimism has surfaced at the Regional District of North Okanagan.
Wednesday’s inaugural board meeting took an upbeat tone and it was suggested ongoing conflicts in Greater Vernon could be resolved.
“I’m hopeful the significant issues that come before us will be done in a sense of co-operation,” said director Patrick Nicol, who was elected chairperson.
“This organization deserves strong co-operation and leadership from all of us.”
Nicol is the first Vernon director to be elected chairperson since RDNO was formed in 1965. He was nominated by Coldstream director Doug Dirk.
“Patrick takes his regional role seriously,” said Dirk.
“He will play a good role in bringing the board together.”
Nicol was pleased that his nomination came from Coldstream.
“It means we’re all in this together,” he said.
“There is a lot of force on this board that can be put to a lot of good.”
The prospect of addressing differences over water and parks is being welcomed by other Greater Vernon partners.
“I’m optimistic. Mayor (Rob) Sawatzky’s platform is working with their neighbours and Patrick will be quite capable as chairperson,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director.
While there will be a focus on Greater Vernon, Nicol insists his priority is also the other communities within RDNO.
“I really believe in the regional district and we represent all of the region. I’ve never believed in a segmented version,” he said. “The regional district is for all of our citizens. There are a lot of services that are worthwhile.”
Nicol replaces Herman Halvorson as chairperson, who did not seek re-election as rural Enderby director.
“I hope everyone pulls together and makes this a strong regional district. It once was and can be again,” said Halvorson in his parting remarks.
Serving another year as vice-chairperson will be Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director.
Fairbairn points out that there are six new directors at the 13-member board table.
“With the new board members, I am excited. They are bringing new ideas and a fresh start, particularly from the City of Vernon,” he said.