RDN board elects first-ever chair from Gabriola

Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy’s representative for the Regional District of Nanaimo is the new chair of the board of directors, marking the first time a director from Electoral Area B has held the position.

Now in her second term, Vanessa Craig earned more votes from RDN directors than fellow nominee for chair, Bob Rogers, who represents Electoral Area E. Craig is also making history as the first woman to chair the board since the establishment of the regional district 55 years ago.

The one-year position follows Craig spending three years as vice chair during her first term. Craig emphasized that experience during her candidate speech prior to the secret vote at the Nov. 8 inaugural board meeting.

“The first year of our new board is important as we establish our priorities, develop relationships and set the tone for this term,” Craig said. “During the past term I believe I demonstrated my commitment to the regional perspective required of this board, recognizing that each of our unique communities, from large municipalities to small rural electoral areas, such as the one I represent, has its own character and vision that must be considered in decision-making.

“Ensuring that electoral areas have the ability to address issues that affect their area, much as municipal councils do for their jurisdiction, is essential to ensuring fair and equitable governance across the region.”

The most recent past chair, Tyler Brown, nominated Craig for the position. Brown was later elected vice chair by acclamation.

On the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District board side, Ian Thorpe of Nanaimo was elected chair by acclamation. Thorpe is also the most recent past chair of the NRHD board. Janice Perrino of Nanaimo was elected acting chair, akin to vice chair, by acclamation. Perrino was the CEO of the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation before being elected to Nanaimo city council.

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder